Budapest

budapest | flea markets

June 3, 2016

I have no idea how many times I mentioned how much I love flea markets, but probably a lot, right? Fortunately, Marek shares the same feeling, so everytime we travel to a new place, there’s a good chance that we will miss some “must see” museums, and got to a small flea market instead. I don’t know if we have a no 1 favorite market, it’s probably changing depending on what treasures we find, but we definitely prefer markets with small, private sellers who simply offer what they’ve found in the closet, and not those who sell dozens of the same products. We have our favourite flohmarkts  in Berlin, I also think warmly about all the loppis in Stokholm, but it is the markets in Budapest that we know best – since we had quite a lot of time to visit them 🙂 So here we go:

PeCsa fleamarket ( in Varosliget )

Our favorite, most visited. In the amphitheater, in the middle of the Varosliget park. I visitedit also with Paula, during our first visit to Budapest, where we had only less than two days in town – that probably confirms my love for fleamarkets. I remember also that during our first visit there I found some amazing old photos of the beautiful young couple in a boat, probably on Lake Balaton. I still have these photos, it’s one of my favourite fleamarket finds. Marek usually visited this market in search of Lego (of which there are plenty!) and I usually looked through dozens of postcards and old photos. There is also a lady selling pretty cheap embroidered tablecloths (there are a couple of them, but the youngest has the best prices), there are also some stalls with interesting books on folk art and typical Hungarian designs. There were moments when we came to the market every week, so we’ve recognised most exhibitors. Most of them sell the same things each time, but we still liked to spend our mornings there and usually we managed to find some new treasures.

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But flea markets in Budapest are not just about rummaging in antiquities, it is also a chance to try typical Hungarian food. In some of them you’ll find the greasy cheese langos, but the most popular is meat – in form of small sausages (virsli) always sold in pairs, or large sausage (kolbász) with mandatory mustard and typical Hungarian bread –  thick, white and very fluffy. And of course there are also peppers, big jars with different types of pepper (paprika) cover almost all the counter by the cash register. And although it is the simplest, non-sophisticated foof ever, it seems much more authentic and “typical” than anything you’ll find in some fancy restaurants.

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 Ecseri flea market

The largest in the city, but nowhere near to the busy city centre. To visit the Ecseri market you’ll need to spend about an hour in different trams and buses. It may seem a bit tricky, but if you go there on a weekend, then there will be probably a group of other tourists in the bus, who knows where to get off. Compared to places such Mauerpark in Berlin, this flea market does not seem to be so big, but once we get into the narrow streets and see how many items are really hidden in every booth, we’ll see that could spend the whole day there. This market is a little “difficult” though, because if we want to find more treasures there, we should really know their prices. It seems that the antiques, porcelain and furniture are offered  (especially to tourists) at very high prices. I got there only some little things – like postcards or stamps, and sometimes some embroidered cloths, and I managed to get a good price, similar to that in the Varosliget market. There’s also lots of old vintage clothes and costumes there, furniture and antiques, but as I say, be careful and try to know the prices.

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Flea market in Gozsdu Udvar

I guess this one is perfect for a one time visit,  later there are usually no surprises. The same number of sellers: and old man with stamps and postcards, younger one with old cameras, especially Polaroids – unfortunately quite overpriced, some people with jewelry, paintings; each weekend everything’s the same.  Sometimes we saw a few girls with interesting vintage clothes, and later the BomoArt store started to sell its beautiful stationery products there, which was a nice addition to the market. One visit is enough, although we went there more often, because its location, a popular Gozsdu Udvar, is just heart of the lively 7th district, and if you’re looking for some bars and restaurants, you’ll probably end up somewhere there.

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Others

Of course, there are more flea markets in Budapest, but when it comes to some largers ones, the first two exhaust the list. There is also one in Újpest, on the Danube – although we have never been there, sometimes there are small markets together with other events, and there are also some vintage shops in various parts of the city. One of them is Bolhapalota, in the fifth district,  but we’ve never found anything interesting there. We liked Tabani Flea Market though, on the Buda side, in the tenth district, small and a bit chaotic, but with nice owner (and his friendly large dog) . To read about other flea markets, or those where I haven’t taken any photos, have a look at this article.

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Budapest

food markets in budapest

May 27, 2016

 

I love all kinds of markets, flea markets, food markets, all of them! I visit them on our travels, but I also love those I have here in my city. My local markets deserve their own blog post, but I need to take more photos first – usually when I visit my local market I have too many bags of groceries to even try taking photos. So first, let’s have a look at some food markets we visited in Budapest. (Another post about flea markets will come soon too!)

Great Market Hall (Központi Vásárcsarnok)

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This is the market you know if you opened any guidebook about Budapest. The largest, most impressive market hall, usually full of people, both tourists and locals. You can get there all kinds of things, fresh vegetables, fruits, meat and dairy, but also local specialities like retes (strudel cake), or langos. Upstairs there are also shops with souvenirs, ufortunately quite tacky and overpriced.

Hunyadi Tér Market

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The smallets market hall in Budapest, with an outdoor market too. It was close to our house, so we visited it quite often. I especially loved all the old ladies, selling vegetables or flowers outside. Last spring I went there every couple of days to get a new bouquet, and the ladies were always so kind, trying to speak to me about the flowers or anything else, but since my hungarian was not to good, we usually just smiled a lot to each other 😉

Farmers’ market at Szimpla

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Each weekend the busy and fun Szimpla pub turns into a market place. Every second sunday it’s either bicycle market or farmer’s market. You can buy some nice local cheese, meat, jams or sirups. Nearby you’ll also find an antique’s market and plenty of restaurants and bards – you’re in the heart of District VII!

There are of course many more markets in Budapest, those three were the ones we visited the most and those where I took some photos. If you’d like to see where else you can go, have a look at this article avbout the best markets in Budapest.

Poland

pszczółki

May 20, 2016

It’s time for some autumn memories. It was October, I think, the last warm days that year. I went to Gdańsk for some photoshoots, but since I had lots of free time inbetween, I decided to visit my friend Łukasz at his home in Pszczółki village. (If you have followed my previous blog, you should recognise him from our trip to Morocco). 20 minutes in a local train, and I was sitting in his green garden. Fresh squeezed juice, lots of apples, vegetables, herbs and even his own watermelons, straight from the garden! For someone like me , who spends most of the time in the middle of busy cities, it was such a pleasant change!  In the afternoon we went on a bike trip around neighbouring villages, and in the evening we went to buy some local honey – you can’t leave a town called Pszczółki (Bees) without some honey, right? 🙂 It was such a great day, made me wish I had my own garden too, not only a window sill full of herbs!
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Poland

kwaśne jabłko

April 23, 2016

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Last month I took part in the Snap Camp workshop with the wedding photography duo The Snap Shots. It was held in a lovely place called Kwaśne Jabłko (sour apple), in the middle of Warmia region in the north-west Poland. Ewa and Marcin who own the place are a warm and kind couple, they prepared a wonderful weekend for us, full of amazing food and apple cider (that they make themselves!).  I can’t wait to go back there! (and they have the cutest dog I’ve ever met, I miss him too ;)).

Romania

3 days in romania | brașov

April 5, 2016

We spent the last day of our short trip to Romania in Brasov. Charming old town, surrounded by mountains. Beautiful churches and old houses, delicious food, and again lots of amazingly green areas all around the city. Even though it was crowded, we still felt relaxed and welcome there. Walking around, we also discovered some quiet residential areas, with many curious cats, and even more beautiful blooming trees.

img1102img1104Untitledbrr-1img1110img1084img1085 img1100img1172The last photo here was taken by Marek. I was quite surprised by the huge sign on the mountain, I wouldn’t put it there, and it somehow doesn’t fit to the atmosphere of the city that I remember. On the other hand, it was not only  the charming old houses and lots of chatty tourists,  that I will associate with Brasov. Walking to the train station we had a chance to see (again) a bit of the everyday life, with huge blocks of flats, that looked nothing like the colourful city centre.

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3 days in Romania | summary

I am not sure if my photos can convince you, but Romania is definitely one of the most fascinating places we’ve seen, and I really can’t wait to go back there. The nature we’ve seen travelling between the cities was amazing, and all the towns  we visited  had an unique atmosphere, something that I did not find in other parts of Europe. I feel like I should have taken many more photos, and that those I have does not show the atmosphere too well, but you just have to trust me, it was really an amazing trip.

Romania

3 days in romania | sibiu

April 4, 2016

The second city we visited in Romania was Sibiu. It was a rainy and gloomy day, but as soon as I saw the colourful houses in the old town, I fell in love with it, and forgot about the sad weather. There was a lot of tourist, but the town was still charming, with lots of tiny streets, where you could escape the crowds. We also chose a fantastic hostel, located in one of the most beautiful historic houses in the old town, which all added to our feeling, that we are in some fairy tale place. In the evening, when we have already walked around the tiny old town a couple of times, we decided to see what the nightlife is like in Sibiu. We went to a St Andrews scottish pub, small and cozy place, full of people, and with a great selection of beer. Sitting there, just chatting and sipping a good dark beer, we felt that Romania is truly a pleasant place to visit. We wanted to stay longer in Sibiu, but instead we had to leave early in the morning, as the next day we had to take a train back home from another city – Brasov.

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Romania

3 days in romania | cluj-napoca

April 4, 2016

Lately we are not the best in planning our travels, we leave everything to the last moment, and it was just the same last year, before our long weekend in May. We wanted to visit Romania for a long time, and fortunately there were some last-minute offers for the trains and buses, so we finally could get to Transylvania, even for just a couple of days. We’ve decided to start from Cluj-Napoca, recommended by our friends as a lively student city. It turned out to be a really good introduction to the country, although maybe the real introduction were the tiny villages and vast green areas that we passed by in our bus. (I still associate Romania mostly with its beautiful green areas, the only other place I’ve seen that was so green was Slovenia).
img1322img1324 It’s been a while since we spent so much time in a bus, so we were quite tired when we got to Cluj in the morning. It was 6 am, so we got to see the sleepy, empty side of the town first. We’ve chosen a hostel a bit out of the center, in a lovely big house with a garden, and when we finally felt a bit more awake, the hosts recommended us to have a walk to nearby open air museum (Romulus Vuia Park) – a part of the Etnoghraphy Museum.

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In the museum there are 13 traditional farms, from different regions of Transylvania, some workshops and three churches. All of this of course in the beautiful green surroundings. We were also lucky to visit the museum during a folk concert, where local groups were presenting traditional dances and songs. It was also a great chance to see their folk clothes, which I was especially excited about, since I just got fascinated with folk art and especially embroidery. Later in the afternoon we went to explore the old town. Not surpringly there were lots of beautiful old houses and churches, but also a large park and some modern buildings like the city stadium. We were caught by the rain, but fortunately Cluj had also a couple of nice cafes where we could hid for a while.

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Last, but not least, here are some photos taken by Marek. Somewhere “inbetween”, while we were walking between the old town, the museum, and the bus station. Simple, everyday sceneries, not so pretty, but showing that Romania is also full of contrats, between the picturesque old towns and its surroundings.

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Finland

helsinki | looking for tove

March 18, 2016

Two years ago I went on a trip around the Baltic Sea, visiting Copenhagen, Stockholm and finally also Helsinki. It was 2014, a 100th anniversarry of Tove Jannson’s birth, and the whole Finland seemed to be celebrating, with special events and exibitions of her works. I found a map showing all the places that were most important to her, and I decided to try and see how the city looked like for her.

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* map by Heidi Ettanen and Jonas Forth, you can also find it at Moomin.com

1. Tove Jansson’s childhood home, where the family lived during the years 1914-1933 (Luotsikatu 4)
2. Tove used to play by the Uspenski Cathedral and the park next to it will soon be named Tove Jansson park. (Kanavakatu 1)
3. Tove used to go skating on the ice and later on this was also the place from where the ferry to Pellinge departed (Halkolaituri dock at Pohjoisranta)
4. Market Square, Helsinki
5. The water fountain Lek II / Vattennymfer by Viktor Jansson can be found at the Esplanadi Park. Tove Jansson stood as model for the larger mermaid.
6. The water fountain Hejsan / Snålskjuts by Viktor Jansson (The western part of Esplanadi Park next to Svenska Teatern)
7. Tove Jansson’s studio where she lived from 1944 until she passed away in 2001. Tuulikki Pietilä alos had a studio in the same building. (Ullanlinnankatu 1)
8. Tove’s elementary school (now The Design Museum at Korkeavuorenkatu 23)
9. The Observatory – a place to see comets (Kopernikuksentie 1)
10. Tove studied at the art school that is now known as Ateneum from 1933 to 1937 (Kaivokatu 2)
11. The statue Sjöjungfru by Viktor Jansson. Tove Jansson is said to be the model for the statue. (The inner yard at South Esplanadi 22)
12. Tove Jansson was laid to rest at Hietaniemi cemetery. You can find her grave next to the old chapel (Mechelinkatu 2)
13. Lallukka Artists’ Home, where the Jansson family lived from the early 1930s. Tove moved to her own studio in 1944 (Apollonkatu 13)
14. The Convolvulus statue by Viktor Jansson (In Kaisaniemi Park behind the National Theatre)
15. The Arvid Mörne memorial by Viktor Jansson (The corner of Itäinen puistotie and Ehrenströmintie close to Kaivopuisto)

It was not easy to find all of them, I also had only one day to do it, but here you can see some of the places I visited:

The water fountain Lek II / Vattennymfer by Viktor Jansson can be found at the Esplanadi Park. Tove Jansson stood as model for the larger mermaid.

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The statue Sjöjungfru by Viktor Jansson. Tove Jansson is said to be the model for the statue. (The inner yard at South Esplanadi 22)
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Tove Jansson’s childhood home, where the family lived during the years 1914-1933 (Luotsikatu 4)
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Surroundings of Tove’s elementary school (now The Design Museum at Korkeavuorenkatu 23)
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Lallukka Artists’ Home, where the Jansson family lived from the early 1930s. Tove moved to her own studio in 1944 (Apollonkatu 13)
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Tove Jansson’s studio where she lived from 1944 until she passed away in 2001. Tuulikki Pietilä alos had a studio in the same building. (Ullanlinnankatu 1)
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Tove’s grave at Hietaniemi cemetery. You can find it next to the old chapel (Mechelinkatu 2)
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Budapest

budapest 100 | otthon áruház

March 2, 2016

On the second day of the Budapest100 festival we visited some buildings in the districts that we did not know too well, like the XVIII district and some parts of Buda – and that’s actually why I enjoyed this event so much – it made us discover so many new places and neighbourhoods, that we somehow usually overlooked. But the first building we visited that day was actually in a place we did know quite well, just a couple of minutes from Keleti train station, at the large Rákóczi avenue. It’s usually busy with lots of cars, and the buildings there are large and overwhelming, but many of them look rather empty. It’s similiar by the number 74, where and old Department Store “Otthon Áruház” used to be. Today there are only empty storefronts and an apartment building above them. During the Budapest100 festival we had an unique chance to visit both the building and the old department store below, with its spooky, empty corridors.
otthonimg1225otthon2img1219img1220img1221img1223img1224 The apartment building was build in 1914-1915. A deparment store was opened in 1920s, then it was the Magyar Divatcsarnok – Hungarian Fashion Hall. It was rebuild in 1928 – and the stores got located on 3 different floors. Otthon Áruház – the Home Department Store opened there in 1961. Today it’s completely empty, and the only things reminding of its history are the sign on the building and the huge glass cupola, that can be seen at the courtyard of the apartment building. There are also some old shop signs left – as you can see on the first photo, the building used to have a shop for women with small feet. How cool!

If you would like to see more photos from the Budapest100 tour around the department store, have a look at this blog.  The old photos can be found at the festival’s page, and if you’d like to learn a bit more about shopping in Budapest during 1980s, visitBudapest Retro.