- Budapest Is Not Bucharest
Once an Hungarian friend of mine told me that many people confuse Bucharest, the capital of Romania, with Budapest. This shows how people can be ignorant and know nothing even of the continent they live. Hungary is not to be confused with Romania, nor with Bulgaria or any other Slavic or Germanic countries.
Everything about Hungary differs from the Slavic and Germanic culture: the language, the people, the food and so on. Hungary is just Hungary, a small piece of land located in the eastern part of Europe bordering with Serbia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Croatia.
- Hungarian Is The Official Language
Some people I know even asked me what language they speak in Hungary, they thought of German or Russian but hey, guys you are mistaking it completely! As a student of linguistics, I know very well that Hungarian has nothing to do with any Germanic, nor Latin nor Slavic languages and it is not even an indo-european one.
Hungarian comes from the branch of Finno-ugric languages and it is related to just Estonian and Finnish. Even though we can say they come from the same branch, Estonian and Finnish differ greatly from Hungarian because the latter one underwent different changes throughout the centuries; you can tell that Hungary is far away also from a geographical point of view from the other two.
- Paprika, Paprika Everywhere
In Italy we are used to think that the food abroad is never as much good as ours and we underestimate it greatly, especially when the food comes from a country that nobody ever hears of but this is a grave mistake. As I could ascertain myself, the food is very flavoured and has a great variety for such a small country as Hungary.
One of the most known dishes is Gulash, a beef and vegetable-based stew. Many people think it is a bland soup but nope, it is not your average soup, the flavour is enriched by the spices Hungarians use.
Also Hungarians like to use paprika a lot, they put it in every dish to make the flavour more captivating. Sweets are another thing Hungarians excel at, one of my favourite is the Kurtőskalács.
- Not Soviet Anymore
Many western Europeans, especially my parents, still think of eastern Europe as the once-upon-a-time Soviet bloc. Wake up, story goes on and countries change and improve! Hungary is a more open country where tourism is conquering the economy, right now it is opening itself to the world, after they get rid of communism.
But it is not just the case of Hungary, also Poland, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Croatia, etc all the places that had a sad and long story of violence and conquests are becoming more and more popular.
Just look at Croatia, everyone wants to go there and visit Dubrovnik, where the popular TV series Game of Thrones took place, and just 15 years ago it was in ruin after the Yugoslavia war.
- The Beauty And Popularity Of Spas
Budapest is not only the biggest city of Hungary but also home to beautiful Spas. When I went there, I visited the two most popular Spas, that is to say the Gellert and Szechenyi baths.
They are not just tourist attractions, they also form an integral part of Budapest’s inhabitants’ life. When I went there, I could verify myself that, besides the hordes of tourists, there were also a lot of locals, the best ones being some old people playing chess on the edge of the pool ahah
- They Come From The Huns
The history of Hungarian people is long and complicated to tell it just in a few words so I will make it short. It is not just a legend that they come from the Huns but the reality.
The monument in Hosok Tere – Heroes’ Square – show it to us: it is said they come from twelve tribes that settled down in the Pannonian plain. They were descendents of the Asian Huns.
- Old But Not Bad Trains
In Hungary I also had the pleasure to use its railway system and to see that it is not just very “vintage” – since there are a lot of old soviet trains – but also modern.
The trains might look old but never judge a book by its cover: inside you can even find WiFi to use, something unthinkable in Italy, not even the most modern intercity and Freccia have this luxury.
- One Of The Best Metro
As you guys could tell from my previous posts, I was really mesmerized by Budapest Metro, I have said it already many times ahah
The metro has the oldest section, where you can still see very ancient wagons, the soviet section, where all the soviet trains were renewed and modernized but still keep their old charm, and finally the newer part. It never ceases to amaze you.
- The Long History Of Hungary
As I said previously in a chapter, the history of Hungarian people and Hungary itself is too long to sum up in a few lines but something is really important for you guys to learn and know is that Hungary was part of the great Austrian empire, a vital part of it.
Hungary has always been a hard zone to check on and control, the people always rebelled against the central government and the Habsburg had to grant them special rights. During the 19th century, when the Austrian Empire, was weakening, the Hungarians finally got its independence and got recognized as Hungarian Kingdom.
- Budapest’s Old World Charm
When we think of old Europe, our thoughts always drift to the elegance of Paris and its cafes or the capital of music, Vienna with its delicious sachertorte.
Just a few of us would think of Budapest even though this city has all the potential to challenge with these old European capitals.
Its art-noveau buildings, its antique cafès, its wonderful bridges and its “old world” atmosphere makes Budapest a perfect city for history lovers.
Have you ever been to Hungary? If so what struck you the most about it? Let me know in the comments below 😉