How to be a real Budapester

How to be a real Budapester

Estimated reading time: 6 minute(s)

Either compete with the Jones’es or with the Kovács’es. Or have the best of both when committing to life here, as the following may apply.

  • General tourism becomes a distant memory, as you no longer frequent the Castle District and other essential landmarks, unless relatives are in town.
  • Nor are you a regular at the famed spa baths, and opt out for others. As what is ‘small-change’ admittance for guests and friends to take dips; is now the opposite for the likes of us with our humble Forints only.
  • You surpass the open, transient ex-pat scene, no matter how free-flowing the beer, swish the venue, or grandiose the occasion. Unless you combine business with pleasure and marry a Magyar, which inevitably provides the best of all worlds.
  • The same applies with dining out, as one can now have an exhilarating time elsewhere for at least half the price, despite being in ‘shadows’ of Andrassy utca and so-forth.
  • One can now deal with ambitious waiters, argumentative taxi drivers and irksome petrol station attendants for obvious reasons.

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  • You no longer drive or ‘cruise’ to Szentendre. Instead you take to the local HÉV commuter line or venture along the Duna riverside bicycle lane, and avoid much traffic and congestion.
  • You no longer go to Szentendre! As you have surpassed its sedate Instead Pécs, Szeged, Eger, the Bükk hills awaits; as well as Dunaújváros if daring enough, before venturing onto Magyar Magic at Székelyföld, 700 kms further on.
  • Then it’s time to get comfortable again maybe at Sopron, before residing at Lake Balaton, to consume halászlé/fish soup, dinnye/water melons, pancakes and Balaton Rosé before, during and after cycling the 180kms round circuit lane.
  • Now familiar with the less frequented suburbs such as Józsefváros, Budafok and Újpest, as well as been on all bridges of the capital. It’s time to get on-board the Duna ferry crossings between shorelines and various islands prevailing from Csepel Island to Esztergom.

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  • Arenas and stadiums no longer satisfy as new found friends will take you to entertainment locales in Zugló, Óbuda and the marvelous ‘Budapest-Park’ venue. As there really is not much difference between Tankcsapda and Metallica, or Rúzsa Magdi and Adele, except for the mind-boggling differences in their ticket prices.
  • The same applies with garish shopping centres, as one opts out for the local shopping scene, and traditional outdoor markets, with greater personal service and better stock. Consequently the car stays at home as you are no longer willing to pay extortionate prices for imported Marmite or lemon curd. As the equally delightful and far less expensive ‘Univer’ Piros Arany Csemege and Csípős varieties leads the way, alongside with Nagymama’s home made jam are just as great, perhaps even better that what you previously thought was the real thing.

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  • As a bicyclist or car driver, one now forgets about the lack of road signs.
  • The Buda Hills, like Down-Town Pest notably become very crowded with too many tourists and expats alike. It’s time to discover the Pilis, Visegrád and Börzsöny Hills.

  • One must have done something right during ones time here; as local people no longer ask, “What are you doing here? How long have you been here? When will you leave?”
  • However not all ones roots are abandoned as one will always give much thanks to the eventual rain, that comes like a present from home in late August after many weeks or months of high, intense heat and dust which prevails over this region at this particular time.
  • One can eventually charm and deal with avid ticket inspectors, as they may remember you with a smile for next time. As it is really worth speaking some of the local language regardless of outcome; as there is often general appreciation which often follows.

  • Although considered as forbidden fruit by health freaks from Western Europe and beyond, one can indulge with ‘Langoses’ whipped up with cheeses, sour cream, garlic, mustard, without too much remorse after taking to the heights of the Buda and Duna Peaks. Followed by locally produced ‘Rétes’ which come in cherry, apple, and poppy-seed forms etcetera.
  • It’s OK and expected for men to walk first into a restaurant before a lady. Don’t ask me why!

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  • Be sure to compete with the neighbours with flower pot and hanging basket arrangements in spring, the more ostentatious the better. As it is the local ‘Muskátli’/ Geraniums with their strong shrill of mainly red colours which flourish profusely right up to late Autumn, alongside with Oleanders which are equally spectacular.
  • OK, but the real proof of becoming a real Budapester, regardless of my suggestions, is to master the Magyar. Then and only then, despite how your routine may compare to mine, you are a true Budapester.