Destination: Hungary

Bare at the Baths

Bare at the Baths Photo by Giam via Flickr (Creative Commons)

It was Conor Friedersdorf's last day in Budapest, and he'd forgotten his bathing suit. He opted for an audacious solution.

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Tags: Spas, Europe, Hungary

Commie Kitsch in Budapest’s ‘Ruin Pubs’

Hungary's hottest nightclubs evoke the last days of communism

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Photo You Must See: Watering the Girls in Hungary

Photo You Must See: Watering the Girls in Hungary REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh

Boys in Holloko, outside Budapest, throw water as part of the "Watering of the Girls," a local Easter tradition

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Looking East: 20 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall

On the delights of the former Eastern Bloc

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Six Great Summer Music Festivals in Europe

Six Great Summer Music Festivals in Europe REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Headed overseas this summer? Ben Keene surveys music festivals from Budapest to Stockholm.

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Given the Dire Economy, Should I Travel Overseas This Year?

Vagabonding traveler Rolf Potts answers your questions about travel and the world

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Holloko, Hungary

Holloko, Hungary REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh

Local residents from the village of Holloko, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in northeast Hungary, celebrate Easter with the traditional "watering of the girls," a fertility ritual rooted in Hungary's pre-Christian past.

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Invasion of the Hungarian Pigs

There are several different types of pig species (or, if you will, sub pigs). The bearded pig is one I’d certainly hate meeting in a dark pig pen. The Indo-Chinese warty pig is another ominous-sounding swine. In all, there are over two billion pigs on the planet right now (and if they’d ever join forces with monkeys, we’d be in big trouble). Most of the pork we eat comes from the generic domestic pig (or sus scrofa domesticus) and, thanks to mass breeding, its offerings have taken on rather bland notes. Not that we’d know it unless we began eating another species of swine. And, in fact, some restaurants around the country are letting diners do just that.

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A Traveler’s 10 Best Musical Discoveries

Contemplating and celebrating the world of travel

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‘Flying Thief’ Flies No More

Reuters reports that Kosztor Sandorne, a Hungarian thief also called “Flying Gizi,” was arrested while in the process of breaking into a house in Hungary. Sandorne “earned her nickname because she liked to flee her crime scenes by taking commercial flights” the article reports.

But here’s the thing. She’s 83 years old. She’s been on the police’s radar since the 1950s. These days, she takes the train instead of flying, “since train travel is free for pensioners in Hungary.”


U.K. to Hotels: Lighten Up, Please!

U.K. to Hotels: Lighten Up, Please! Photo by B10m via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by B10m via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Recently a report in the U.K. stated that upwards of 50,000 jobs at hotels and restaurants are in jeopardy there. Why, pray tell? “Surliness and shoddy service.” Of course, this is not endemic to the United Kingdom; it’s easy to find cranky hotel staffers just about anywhere.

During my 2008 trip, I managed to maintain a zone of pleasantry around most of my hotel staff interactions (special commendation must be given to the staffer at the Hotel Császár in Budapest who refrained from laughing at me after I traipsed through the lobby in impulse-purchased Hungarian swimsuit to use the thermally-heated outdoor pool. In January). Alas, this is not always the case, and dealing with cranky staff after all the effort of travel can cut the legs out from any vacation.

Anyway, to counteract the problem, the British tourism board intends to launch a $10-million campaign promoting Britain’s qualities as a “value destination.” Might we suggest: “Britain: who cares if they treat you like dirt when it’s dirt-cheap” as the tagline?


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