Hungarian holiday report

We’re back from our Hungarian holiday and feeling wonderfully relaxed, though it’s debatable how long that’ll last! This was my fourth time in Budapest in the last ten years (and James’s third!), but it was the longest we’ve been able to spend there and our first trip outside the city.

Our main reason for going was so we could celebrate our first anniversary at our favourite restaurant, Karpatia (last time we were there, Michael Palin and his film crew were in the other room!), but to also soak away our boat work aches in the city’s plentiful hot spas! In four full days in Budapest, we visited three different hot spas: Szechenyi, Palatinus Strand on Margaret Island, and Hotel Gellert. Think swimming pools, but filled with bath-water warm mineral water (no chlorine!) with assorted jets, bubblers, massaging fountains, wave pools, slides, and whirpool baths and you’re still only halfway there…

In an astounding bit of coincidence, we enjoyed amaaaazing traditional Hungarian food, tokaj, and palinka stalls at the Nemzeti Vagta (“National Gallop”) festival. It was mostly about Hungarian horsemanship with incredible costumes, chariot races, and Heroes’ Square set up like a Ben Hur set, but there were also stalls representing every region in Hungary, some showcasing amazing embroidery:

I really like that you can focus on the stitching when you only use one thread colour! Unfortunately, I didn’t see any needlework kits for traditional designs on sale anywhere.

Then we took the train out to Balatonfured on Lake Balaton for a few days, and I made great use of the train time to finish the last hand sewing on my trench jacket! (I’m also wearing my silk jersey Lekala cowl top here.)

While we were there, we rented bicycles from our hotel and cycled the 6km to the next town, Tihany, and back along the river. My trench jacket and my navy riding trousers came in very handy here as it was the only cool and cloudy day of our trip!

This was really only a taste of Lake Balaton, and it was in the off-season (but past the end of September, everything is closed!), so we really want to go back again in high summer and rent a car to see more of the towns and vinyards, too.

While we were in Budapest, we also took the bus out to Memento Park to see the old Communist statues which had been removed from the city after 1991. We were afraid it might be too much of a tourist-trap, but it was actually really very sympathetically done and both sides of the story were shown, and all the statues were presented on simple plinths which stripped them of their grandeur. I’m interested to learn that the Park is only half finished, too.

Here you can see me wearing my sequin cowl top and my LMB aqua skirt in front of statues commemorating the Spanish Civil War.

Another stop on our trip was to pay a visit to Noile’s Burda shop, but it was unfortunately closed when we got there (it’s only open to 1:30 on Saturdays and we were about 15min late!).

But have no fear, because there are two other Burda shops in Budapest, and both of these were open when we visited later in the week! There were also about 3 or 4 fabric shops near the biggest one along Terez korut near Octagon, too, but having just binged on fabric, I wasn’t enthralled with lugging it all home. The large Burda shop had a massive collection of Clover gadgets, plus the last two years of Burda magazine issues, plus Ottobre and the Simplicity pattern magazine, machines for sale, and a bunch of embroidery and knitting supplies. You can see my Google Map here which includes the positions of the various Burda shops.

At the smaller one on Jozsef korut, though, I struck vintage Burda gold! They didn’t have the few issues from 2006-2007 I was after (apart from 09/2007, which was just totally lucky!), but I did buy three other 1980s issues just for a laugh (It cost 1600HUF for all four, that’s about £4.80)! Plus I picked up a spool of mettler thread (at 200HUF, about 60p!) and a Clover double tracing wheel (also 1600HUF) at the larger Burda shop.

Don’t worry, I’ll show you more the the Good/Bad/Ugly from these issues in due time…

And after I returned home, I was itching to sew, and completed my peach silk habotai shell in two days! It’s Burda 09/2010 #110 and will do very nicely under a suit jacket, as I intended, really…

If you’re really interested, you can take a peep at our holiday photo gallery if you want to see more of Budapest and Lake Balaton. But not of the baths. Only the creepy, loud Americans took their cameras into the baths. Err, thanks guys.

Leave a Reply