|Subject: Re: Travel to Budapest and Prague|
I've excerpted some previous posts I made to the
Travelzine regarding these destinations. See below. The
website supports an archive of previous messages to the
group. By doing a search of the archives you should be able
to find quite a bit of information on these topics.
To access the archives go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheTravelzine/
Sign in; click on Messages; enter search query in appropriate box and click on Search Archives next to it; unfortunately the search engine only searches through sections of about a thousand messages, so, in order to search the complete archive it will be necessary to click on the Next button to cycle through it all.
We stayed in an apartment which has been renovated to accomodate travelers. It was in Vinohrady, the neighborhood just south of Wenceslas Square. Very basic accomodations but clean with access to the Metro at the end of the block.
Bathrooms and showers were ensuite and there were shared kitchenette facilities of which we took full advantage. Cost was $38 U.S. per night in 1997. The owner's name is Vladimir Tesar and we found him to be very helpful.
While in Prague rise early and head out to the Charles Bridge. The early morning light silhouettes the towers throughout the city. Additionally, it may be the only time the bridge isn't packed.
Don't miss the Obecní dum. The restored municipal house is one of the greatest examples of secessionist architecture around. Plus, the murals of Mucha.
When visiting the castle be sure and head a little further up the hill into the neighborhood of Novy Svet. This is an interestingly quirky 15th century neighborhood. Located in this neighborhood was a pension named U Raku that we hope to stay at whenever we return to Prague, tel.# 35 14 53.
Here are a couple of restaurants we dined at to which we would return.
Restaurant Nepomuk Located at Hradcanske namesti 12 Tel 02/20513863
This restaurant was in the Novy Svet neighborhood (a 15th century neighborhood adjacent to the Castle you must visit), on the plaza just behind the entry to the Castle. Although we stopped in just for pastry and coffee just after they opened at 9:00am the menu looked intriguing. Bohemian cuisine with emphasis on fish and game. Photos of a visit by Pope John Paul II prominently displayed in entry way. Very friendly &helpful staff virtually dragged us in when we stuck our heads in the door to see if they had opened yet.
Restaurant U Cizku Located at Karlovo namesti 34 Tel. 29 88 91
Open daily noon to 2:30pm and 5:00pm to 10:00pm
Czech cuisine. I had a nice meal of roast goose, dumplings (of course), and a potato/cabbage side dish. Sara had a delightful soup which I cannot recall exactly. This place was in Nove Mesto (New Town) very close to the Karlovo namesti Metro stop. A painting in the restaurant is attributed to Alphonse Mucha (the great Moravian Art Nouveau painter associated with the French actress Sarah Bernhardt) who supposedly dined there often and was close friends with the owner of the time.
The Obecni Dum
I highly suggest stopping in at the cafe at the Obecni Dum (Municipal House) to take a respite and marvel at the restoration of this fantastic Art Nouveau building. Also take a tour of the building.
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. http://www.szoborpark.hu/
Hope these suggestions are of some use.
John Rule San Diego, CA