Wandering Cheapo: Trendsetting Budapest
Where would you go if you wanted to sport crazy tights and ride Critical Mass? Or don a wool blanket while dining out at the latest ‘It’ restaurant? A place where ‘sör’ means ‘beer’ and ‘bor’ means wine?
Budapest, babája (baby)!
During a recent to trip to the Hun capital, we noticed the city under siege thanks to a few fun trends. One of the easiest places to spot the latest fashions is the Liszt tér. An artery of the Andrassy út, the tér is made up of a long strip of parkland featuring a bronze statue of Liszt, looking windblown and surrounded by airy cafés.
The ideal locale for people watching? We like to hunker down in a wicker chair in front of one of the square’s cafés. With a wool blanket, of course. That’s right Cheapos. Local women take to wrapping themselves in the colorful blankets on chilly nights, but not only that: they’re also fans of covering their gams with eccentric tights. Patterns of every stripe are represented, it seems, adding frivolity to otherwise conservative dress.
The Liszt tér eateries are optimal for observing the local peacock procession, and the food is delicious. We returned several times to Café Vian for their HUF1350 ($7) Hawaiian salad. The cappuccinos are HUF380 ($2) each and mojitos run HUF1500 ($8). The highly publicized Menza was also a treat. One Friday night we dined on veal paprika with a side order of white asparagus. The whole spread was HUF3060 ($16) including drinks.
Finally, we read in several guide books Budapest is not a bike friendly town. A confusing claim since we saw bikes everywhere and the local chapter of Critical Mass is quite active. The group, which begun officially in 2004, fights for the right to ride a bike in the congested city while calling attention to automobile induced pollution. The latest demonstration on wheels was held on Earth Day, April 22, 2007.