Last week I was lucky to be in Budapest for a short break. Although photography would be a part of the trip the idea was to enjoy some downtime with my wife. See the sights, taste the food, you get the idea. Unfortunately we were not always blessed with good weather and during the photography times, tourists were everywhere. So the photographs always tend to have people in them. There’s not a lot you can really do about either the weather or people, so just get on with it.
One of the sights in Budapest that was on our bucket list to visit was The Great Market Hall on the Pest side of the river. From out hotel it was an easy visit. Four stops on the tram, walk across the Liberty Bridge over the river and you’re there. This isn’t a small building, by any means approximately 10,000 square metres floor space. It’s the sort of place you could spend all day in, just wandering around.
As all market halls should, there are a large variety of goods on sale. Fresh fruit and vegetables, meats, bakery products, spices, liquors, tourist tat, fast food, no, not Mickey Dees, or anything like that, Hungarian fast food, as you’ll see later.
Hungarians love cake and sweet pastries. I do as well and it was very tempting but I’m supposed to be cutting down, Hungarian meals are large, very large.
Down on the ground floor of the market it’s mainly produce for sale. I was told that many Budapest natives visit early, around 8am before the tourists descend on the market. They know what they want and they go right for it. No time for messing with dilly-dallying tourists.
If you like Paprika this is the place to go. It comes in all types, sweet, hot, smoked, There’s chillies as well, everything priced but you do have to shop around, prices for the same items vary from stall to stall. What’s cheap on one stall will be dearer on another and when you want to buy several items you’ll find that at least one of them is less expensive on the stall next door. Swings and roundabouts.
There’s all the tat a tourist could ever want. Head on around the corner though, don’t go for the fancy presentation and you’ll get better and fresher products.
Now for those Europeans amongst us. Would you believe there’s an Aldi store in the basement of the Great Market Hall. I kid you not. That’s the advert for the stores weekly bargains that you can see in the background.
Still on the ground floor, there’s a whole section of the Great Market Hall devoted to meat. Hungarians love meat, Duck (Kacsa) is a speciality in many restaurants. We went to a fabulous restaurant called Kacsa on Kacsa Street, where the speciality was duck and boy was it good.
On the upper floor of the market there are long narrow terraces along the sides of the building with a few crossing from one side to the other. It’s here that you will find all the tourist stuff. Walking along these passages is quiet tight, there’s so many people walking about. I don’t know how old this lady is, a gentleman never asks, but she was there doing here best to sell, sell, sell.
With open stalls, I don’t suppose you can just walk away and leave it for any time. So it’s a drink on the spot for this stall holder. There’s a lot of lace and embroidery here on this floor, but nowadays I’m always wary. After all the three most used words in the English language nowadays are “Made In China”. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t, but the cynical me is always about.
On the opposite side of the Great Market Hall is where you get food. Lots of food, large portions as well. It ranges from Goulash, to pasta, to sausages, there’s all sorts, hot and tasty
You know I said it was lots of food. That’s a bowl of Goulash those girls are photographing. Full of chunks of beef with a paprika sauce/gravy. It’s hearty and filling that’s for sure.
Ok! So that’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed this visit to the Great Market Hall, Budapest, Hungary with me. Later this week I’ll be writing about the architecture and hopefully by the weekend I’ll be able to show you some night photographs from Budapest.