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We have dug deep into a collection of old Budapest photos from the 19th and 20th centuries to see what has remained or disappeared.
See the new music video of 'Back in Budapest' created by talented expats. The catchy song equals a love letter to the Hungarian capital.
Ever heard the saying that Hungarian girls are the most beautiful in the world? Stroll through photos featuring fabulous women of the 20th century.
András: “I had a date scheduled for a stormy day with my penpal from Moscow who finally visited Budapest. We agreed to meet on Népköztársaság Road (today’s Andrássy Avenue), and specified the time and date in a letter. I didn’t even have her phone number, and my Russian was more confident in writing anyway. I didn’t want to seem awkward in her eyes not being manly enough to go out in a snowfall, so I went to the date wearing several layers of clothing. Milena waited for me in a lot more airy set of clothes, and when I arrived she said she had not expected me to come at all, as all Magyars had kept complaining about the weather. We did not get married in the end, but we did spend a few truly happy weeks together.”
Anita: “My grandma was a big fan of “Isaura”, the Brazilian telenovela. That poor girl came over during the biggest snowfall, and I remember Lucélia Santos being featured several times on TV traveling on a helicopter, and she couldn’t believe her eyes seeing all that snow. Grandma was only worried about her; dear Isaura traveled so far from such heat, God forbid she’d catch a cold!” Andrea: “Back in 1987 I worked in health care, so we didn’t have any special holidays or breaks, we still had to go to work. I worked at János Hospial and lived on Rákóczi Road, so I thought I’d just go my usual way; however, the buses got stuck in the unbelievably huge snowdrifts, and the driver kept asking all male passengers to help push the bus at almost every stop. In the end, we women couldn’t help it either and got off ourselves to push the bus, even though the men kept sending us back aboard.”
Melinda: “Of course, everybody loved extraordinary school breaks ordered due to the extreme weather, and quite possibly I was the only one who was sad to have my three children at home for three whole days. I was about to graduate, and I could only study while the kids were away. Both my parents and my in-laws lived nearby in District II, and they all promised to help me out by coming over for a bit. Well, they didn’t just come over in the end, but got snowed in our house for two days, and the two mums, who were not actually so close to say the least, were forced to spend time together. This winter is so precious to me, as it ended a family conflict.”
Kálmán: “Frankly, for me the winter of ’87 was a form of therapy. As a musician, I used to spend my weekends at concerts, but the cold winter made us cancel quite a few performances. One evening, we would have performed at the Leisure Center at Almássy Square, but we had not have the means to get there, so we turned back around. In the end I didn’t have any concerts, but I spent 4-5 lovely days with my girlfriend in our small studio apartment in Őrmező.”
Benő: “We were on the way home from a skiing trip in Slovakia in a heavy snowfall in an ancient Zsiguli (a small and basic car of the Eastern Bloc). I think I was the only one stupid enough to leave by car; however, I still had one advantage as my snow chains were on, so I rallied between the snowdrifts at Kőbánya, half amazed by the view, and half feeling ever so cool in my Zsiguli.”
“We used to spend weekends at my grandmother’s with my cousins. The huge snowfall hit the country in a weekend, so it was about five of us crammed in a house in the suburbs. I was 11, and I knew how to build an igloo from an adventure film, therefore, the ultimate challenge was to build one for my grandparents in case the heating broke, as they could stay warm inside an igloo. My grandparents could hardly make us get back inside, and we even stayed over after the weekend, as there was a school break. Unfortunately, even four days weren’t enough for us to build a bunker, but I’ll never forget the struggle of trying to save our grandparents in our fingerless gloves.”
Laci: “My little brother was born back then, and as it was impossible to use the roads, my mum was taken to the hospital in an ambulance car. I was a little boy with a huge imagination, so I told everyone my mum was taken away by the police. Well, my father had some explaining to do…”.
Jutka: “We used to live on Gyakorló Street, from where my 3rd-grader son left for school with our neighbor’s daughter. I saw the snowfall and the lack of traffic from the window, but as my younger baby was barely one year old, I didn’t follow the news on TV. Two hours later the doorbell rang: it was the kids speaking in a shaky voice. I waited for them in the doorway, scared, as I didn’t know why they came back. They looked like two rosy-cheeked snowmen. Poor things were so silly that even though they didn’t see any approaching buses at all, they still waited for their bus at the stop – for two hours!”
Era: “As I was a child back then, this winter is so memorable to me that I still remember its atmosphere. Obviously, it must have been a lot more annoying for adults, as it was a nightmare to get to the office, to buy groceries, or to go anywhere at all by car, but we actually enjoyed it very much. We lived on a small street in the Zugló district, and the neighbors shoveled the snow together to enable us to go to school. I remember that the snow reached up to our shoulders as we strolled though the small passages. My mum baked bread at home, as even that was easier than going to the shop, as the whole city slowed down completely.”