Subject: Hungary Question
Hello Gene,

Here are my recommendations for Budapest:

Accomodations#We stayed in a pension/B&B called Abel Panzio located in the quiet green belt of Buda on the southern flanks of Gellert Hill. This turn-of-the-century villa has ten rooms, all with bathrooms en suite. In a quiet neighborhood just a few blocks from Moricz Zsigmund korter (plaza) where several trolleys can be accessed. We found the hosts to be friendly and efficient, the clientele quiet, respectful, and interesting, and the neighborhood a great place to blend in to daily Budapest life. Address: H-1113 Budapest, Abel Jeno u.9. Tel./FAX (36-1) 185-6426; (36-1) 209-2537; (36-1) 209-2538. Approx. $45 dbl.

Dining out#We dined three times in the neighborhood we stayed. Twice with success, once without. The first was at Marcello, XI Bartok Bela 40, simple but well prepared Italian fare. Incredibly inexpensive which may explain its popularity with students from a nearby university. Closer to the pension was a bar/restaurant called The Dart Club (at least the translation to English) on Villanyi utca. Very popular local pub. We ate there one night in the early evening, before it filled up. My wife had a very satisfying goulash and I enjoyed the roast goose. A short half block down Villanyi utca (towards Moricz Zsigmund korter) was a small dinner house which was very unsatisfactory. Stick with the Dart Club if you stay in this area.

In Pest we dined at a restaurant called Muzeum located, appropriately enough, next to the National Museum at Múzeum k#rút 12. Fin-de-siecle ambiance and a varied menu which includes traditional Hungarian dishes. I dined on fogas, a pike-perch from Lake Balaton.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of Budapest was the coffeehouses. We made a point of visiting as many as possible. Ruszwurm on Castle Hill was quaint. Get there first thing in the morning or skip it due to flocks of tourists. Our favorite was Angelika on Batthyany ter just north of Watertown. Muvesz on Andrassy utca near the Opera House was notable for its outdoor tables. We skipped Gerbeauds although walked by it several times.

Things to do#Visit the House of Hungarian Wines at 1014 Budapest, Szentharomsag ter 6 on Castle Hill. One of the most extensive wine-tasting shops I've ever experienced. This place does a wonderful service to the Hungarian vintners. Experience a tour of all the Hungarian winemaking regions under one roof. We ended up buying six bottles of wine, including a couple of the world-reknowned Tokays. If you like red wines try the kekfrankos reminiscent of a nice Cotes du Rhone.

Make the effort to get out to Szoborpark a somber place devoted to the memories of almost 50 years of communist rule as embodied in the era's statuary. For whatever reason our visit to this park I found to be a very poignant moment.

Hope these suggestions are of some use.

John Rule San Diego, CA