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This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Friday, October 18, 2013

To Market

October 5, 2014

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 photo 190_zpscd6b62b7.jpg Michele & Marta

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To Market

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One of the coolest things to do in Budapest is to spend a few hours in the huge Central Market. Kathy and I visited it twice during our visit to Hungary and probably could have spent even more time there if we had the opportunity, in fact we tried to visit a third time with Marta and Michele, but it happened to be after the 3 PM Saturday closing time and we unfortunately missed out.

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The Great Market Hall is located just on the Pest side of the Danube at the Liberty Bridge, it is the largest and oldest indoor market in Budapest and was first opened in 1897. The market is at the end of the famous pedestrian walking street Vaci Ut and it attracts thousands of ordinary citizens and tourists alike each day.

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The market offers a huge variety of stalls on three floors. The entrance gate is in the neogothic style and when the roof was restored in 1991 a distinctive architectural feature of Zsolnay tiling was added. The building is 10,000 square meters, which is covered by steel structure that towers over the three levels of stalls. During the World Wars it was completely damaged and then closed for some years. Throughout the 1990s restoration works brought back the market to its ancient splendor. Te building was awarded with FIABCI Prix d’Excellence in 1999. The Central Market Hall is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the city.

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Most of the stalls on the ground floor offer produce, meats, pastries, candies, spices, and spirits such as paprika, tokaji, palinka, túró rudi, and caviar. The second floor has mainly eateries and souvenirs. Kathy and I made a visit to the lángos stand, which famed travel writer Rick Steves considers to be the best at the market. The deep-fried snack lángos is something like an elephant ear except they add all manner of sweet or savory toppings, creating unique and yummy treats.

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The basement contains a supermarket, fish market, and pickles. Not only do they have traditional cucumber pickles, but they also offer pickled cauliflower, cabbage, beets, tomatoes, and garlic. We spent a lot of time perusing the second level and the many souvenir vendors and had great visits to the Market.
Another place we visited on more than one occasion is the beautiful St. Stephen’s Basilica. The second tallest building in Budapest ( Budapest has a regulation limiting buildings from being any taller than 96 meters – which is the height of both the Basilica and the Parliament building), the Basilica is a popular tourist attraction and yet still an active church of the Roman Catholic faith.

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 photo 215_zps49e93fbf.jpg Michele & Marta

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Even though we are not particularly religious, one cannot help but to be impressed by the building both inside and out. The building actually contains the religious relic of St. Stephen who was the first king of Hungary as his supposedly incorruptible right hand can still be seen in a special display case in the church.

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We enjoyed a delightful dinner all together at Rezkakas restaurant near the Basilica and enjoyed the live gypsy band that once again had Marta singing along to old Hungarian standards. It was quite a lively evening as we enjoyed the yummy and strong Hungarian “digestif” liquor Palinka.

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