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Finding your way around

Térképkirály (Map King) 200 metres from the above shop, this place is its competition. (VI. Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út 23., T: 472-0505, open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) Óbuda Térképszalon (Map Saloon) This small, intimate shop is in a quarter called Újlak, which overlooks the amphitheatre for Roman soldiers. The quarter is being rehabilitated with great care with respect to the original scale, and it’s attracting many successful businesses. (III. Bécsi út 85., T: 388-8188, open Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.) Antique Maps The name of the Központi Antikvárium means Central Used and Rare Book Shop. The owners kept the wellknown name from the times of state ownership, since it was a known brand. (V. Múzeum körút 13 – 15., T: 317-3514, open Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 6.30 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

Viewpoints The most famous viewpoints, Castle Hill and Gellérthegy, are included in our first and third walks. Here are some other viewpoints worth visiting: The dome of the Basilica In the fifth district on Szent István tér, the lower observation deck around the dome opened in the mid-1990s and is still largely unknown to Budapesters. There are 302 steps and a lift that takes the weaklings to the top. After some 200 steps the scene changes: you climb out of a specially built tube into the inside of the dome in a wrought iron construction. Then you’ll see the space between the inside and the outside of the dome, which is quite a thrilling experience. The panorama outside will keep you enthralled for at least fifteen minutes. Take your time and discover the hidden sights that are invisible to ordinary mortals. Notice the drop on top of Andrássy út 9, the former ING building, and other delicacies. The dome is only open from April 1st to October 30th. See Walk Two. The “elbow” of Margit híd Where the bridge bends, opposite the island, stand as close to the river as possible for a breathtaking, unusual view. It’s a kind of third panorama of the river, although anglers might obstruct your view in every season. See Walk Two.

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Finding your way around

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The look-out tower on János-hegy The tower is situated at the highest point in the city, on top of the 529-metre-high János-hegy (John Hill). Four platforms, one above the other, encircle the wall of the tower. On an average day, visitors can see places 75 kilometres away in all directions. On especially clear days some have even seen the High Tatra Mountains, 215 kilometres away. The best way to get there is by Bus 190 or by using the Chairlift (see page 53). The look-out tower on József-hegy This small look-out tower in district two on Józsefhegyi út is made of brown stone. It’s neither well-known nor in good shape, but there is a full view of the city, the bridges, the Danube bend and the Buda hills. The easiest way to get there is by bus 91 or 191. With luck, the neo-Nazi graffiti will be gone by the time you get there. Martinovics-hegy On the top of Gaál József út in district 12, this 259-metre-high hill has another unusual view of the city, especially of Castle Hill. In fact, the top of the hill is a nature reserve almost directly above the busy Moszkva tér. It is also a favourite rendezvous for dog owners and their dogs. At dusk, when streetlamps are being lit, is an especially pleasant time to walk up here. It’s a fifteen minute walk from Moszkva tér. Árpád tower Take bus 11 here and then walk up Látó hegyi út from the terminus. The tower itself has echoes of the rural folk architecture of Transdanubia. This charming spot is practically unknown to non-Hungarian travellers.

Taxis As with everything in Budapest, there have also been far-reaching changes on the taxi front. As opposed to the grim situation of the early 1990s, nowadays you can get a taxi at any time and in almost every part of the city within minutes. A number of taxi companies are just a telephone call away. But chaos on the taxi front still prevails. Obviously, it doesn’t matter how serious an offence they commit, nobody can really be stripped of his taxi permit. Recently city hall managed to maxi­ mise fares and simplify the fare system. Enforcement is still not great in Budapest, but I can sense a slow change. Taxis can be hailed in the street, but they are only for hire if the “TAXI” sign is lit up. If you are ordering one by phone, give the address, then your full name and telephone number. English is almost always understood. Try to avoid the “hyenas”

2011.04.20. 15:49:06

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András Török's Budapest: A Critical Guide  

The Celebrated Insider's Guide, upgraded many times, probably the deepest and funnieast and truest portrait of any major European city. With...

András Török's Budapest: A Critical Guide  

The Celebrated Insider's Guide, upgraded many times, probably the deepest and funnieast and truest portrait of any major European city. With...

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