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Around Budapest - Articles

Boulevards, libraries, et cetera

Monday, November 7, 2011 — We Love Budapest

November is the beginning of the months-long period, when moms spend almost as much time in the hallway of their homes dressing the kid as they do outside.

Photo: Balkányi László - We Love Budapest

Andrássy Avenue

1062 Budapest, Andrássy út
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Playgrounds empty out, slides are wet, the handles on monkey bars are freezing cold. The end-of-year season, however, is closing in with holidays and whatnot. It’s the time when I peek into catalogues before finally getting rid of them and ponder upon where, when and what to look for or buy, and for whom. Bearing these in mind, me and the little girl set out into the city, specifically the area of Andrássy út-Kiskörút-Ráday utca-Nagykörút. We go during the workday, of course, to avoid the peak hours making it a pleasant experience for the both of us.

Photo: Balkányi László - We Love Budapest

Grand Boulevard

1085 Budapest, Teréz körút
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Though we don’t usually walk past Nagykörút (Great Boulevard), here, close to Oktogon, is where you can find one of our favorite squares in the city, Hunyadi Square. While in its wholeness it is a bit far from being a welcome sight, its closed-off playground is something you won’t complain about. The specialty of the place is the red fortress of monkey bars meant for bigger children. Smaller ones can devote their time to the slides and climbing wall in the sandbox.

Photo: Culinaris

Culinaris

On multiple locations
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The biggest advantage of the place is that the market starts almost right at the fence of the playground, so you can practically pick which seller you’d like to buy pumpkin from. You might want to visit the market hall, too. The variety of goods is not stunning but you can get everything at reasonable prices from kind sellers. And those, who wish for something more, different or special, can pay a visit to Culinaris, right next to the market hall. Should you be occupied with lists of items to buy for your loved ones instead of cooking, why don’t you visit the Paco Modell store? It’s advisable to check their supply of great plane and ship models on the internet beforehand not to be surprised by their non-discount price range (they don’t sell toys but real models), and to make up for the lack of information you’ll be able to get out of the laconic assistant. No matter how simple it would be to wrap up shopping in the Lidl on the corner, you’d better off not doing that. The crowd is unbearable, not to mention the interior of the place. Cheap as it may be, it’s a no-go for when you’re with children. Instead, I recommend the Albanian bakery in Király Street.

Photo: Balkányi László - We Love Budapest

Írók Boltja (Writers' Bookshop)

1061 Budapest, Andrássy út 45.
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Proceeding further in Király Street, let’s take a little break in Liszt Ferenc Square. You might have noticed it before that there are not only restaurants here but a library, as well, which, by the way, is free of charge for children. There are colored baby reader’s tickets, there is a playing corner, and there are child-loving librarians. Those, who’d rather buy and not borrow, should try Írók Boltja. There might be bigger or cheaper book stores but more attentive and personal doubtfully. I always get the impression that the assistants here don’t only know all the authors and volumes, but are also in an intimate, close relationship with them. In line with this the selection of children’s books is also commendable. Though there are stools for the kids this place is not an ideal one for yelling and running around. It’s recommended to go with either little ones who are asleep, or curious bigger children.

Photo: Facebook

Kadarka Bár

1068 Budapest, Király utca 42.
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As long as I’m drawing the reader’s attention to shops, Kare in Király Street is a place to visit. Why am I writing about a interior design store? Because it’s packed with shiny, vivid strange-looking objects that are bound to be fascinating for children. And since I’m writing to recommend places to adults, too, I must mention Kadarka Bar on the other side of the street, which we visit ever more often in the evenings, if Granny can look after the kid

Photo: Dohány utcai zsinagóga

Dohány Street Synagogue

1077 Budapest, Dohány utca 2.
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Although I criticized the playground on the corner of Kazinczy Street in one of our earlier articles, I have to make amends. We’ve been coming here more often since, and the kids are very nice, the place is kept clean, and the playground equipments are good. A downside is, however, that the mobile toilet in the corner is not only used by the playground visitors. You can hear the tolling of the bell of the Terézváros Parish Church, and you can show your kid the Synagogue, if you take a walk along the renovated Kazinczy Street.

Hungarian National Museum

1088 Budapest, Múzeum körút 14-16.
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This part of the 7th district is so bustling and vibrating that we often decide to take a stroll here “just because” watching the buildings, the people, and the happenings. And if you get tired of not letting go of your kid’s hand make your way to Astoria, Károlyi-kert past Kiskörút (Little Boulevard), or the garden of the National Museum. None of them is suitable for crazy shouting and running about, but at least you don’t have to apply “man-to-man defense”.

Photo: Kőrös Tamás - We Love Budapest

Károlyi-kert (Károlyi Garden)

1053, Budapest, Károlyi Mihály utca 16.
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Károlyi-kert is like a hidden jewel box. Chatting, stroller-pushing moms between the carefully arranged plants on the delectable paths make for a pleasing sight. And those who have ever had children learning to ascend or descend stairs know why I recommend the National Museum.

Behind the museum stands the Central Ervin Szabó Library with the Children’s Library of “Dragon” inside, that boasts a substantial number of books, in a special room and with various programs. There is no better choice for the overcast mornings, it is a real haven for the fall-winter season.

If you’re more inclined to put emphasis on musical rather than literary education (and you left your stroller at home), you delve into the depths of the Ethnosund shop of musical instruments, at Darshan Udvar. In the basement shop there’s every instrument and stuff that you may bump into at a decent world music concert. The assistants here apparently know all of them, are happy to answer your questions, or even help sounding the instruments. I’ve bought here something for a really little child, too.

Due to the closeness of gynaecology clinics the Baross Street is a real mecca for new moms. Shops for new moms and babies come one after the other, and a bigger Fakopáncs shop is also here. This shop is good for those too, who don’t yet have children but they would like to buy something nice and sensible for children of friends or relatives. Delicately made, reasonably priced instruments, puppets, dolls, and educational games are lined up on the shelves bringing back memories of our own, but much more of our mothers’ childhood.

After the crowd of Baross Street you can try the tranquility of Ráday Street, where there’s enough room to stand aimlessly, looking around with the kids. In front of the Két Egér book store, for instance. At the store, which is a publisher at the same time, we can learn about the adventures of “Museum Mouse” and his cousin. There are not only books to browse through but you can also find dachshunds with crooked ears, potatobears, and  books that can be buttoned.

Another one of our favorites is Gémklub, a shop for bigger children and adults who are children at heart. Those, who have not played boardgames since Catan or Monopoly should be on their guard because the selection of strategy/tactical/family games here is so astounding that looking through all of them is a challenge on its own.  You can see the saint in the eyes of the assistants: no matter which game you inquire about, at least one of them has tried it, tested it before.

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