Budapest & Prague: Preliminary Notes

Sara and I have settled on Prague and Budapest for our next trip, during the week of Thanksgiving. We have never been to Eastern Europe before. In addition to learning if Prague does indeed have the best beer in the world, I am going to do some research for The Plastic People of the Universe (working title), a novel I am working on about robots, golems,  time travel, prog rock, totalitarian regimes, and, yes, monkeys.

We actually have friends in both Prague and Budapest, which will be great. Hopefully, they can help us avoid a Garfunkel*.

I still need to do a lot of research, but we have some things mapped out or marked for more research …

Budapest

  • Baths
  • Memento Park (old Communist momuments)
  • Buda Castle (funicular)
  • Red Bus bookstore
  • Vaci Utca
  • National Gallery
  • Matyas Church

Restaurants/Pubs

  • brunch at Gellert Hotel
  • Kacsa     (duck)
  • Abszint  “absinthe bar, provencal cuisine”
  • House of Hungarian Wines
  • Mori Borozo
  • Tokaji Borozo
  • Gundel  “classic Hungarian, need jacket”
  • Lukacs cafe
  • 1894 Borvendeglo (wine cellar)

Prague

  • Prague Castle
  • Charles Bridge
  • Wenceslas Sq  (Velvet revolution)
  • Haunted walking tour?
  • National Gallery modern collection – Veleterzni Palace
  • Old town square “old town hall, astronomical clock, Kafka house, moonrise”
  • St. Vitus Cathedral “southern tower, crypt”
  • Old Jewish cemetery
  • Gamba Gallery
  • Dancing House
  • Kampa Museum of Modern Art

Pubs

Takovnas

  • Velkopopovicky Kozel
  • U. Fleku
  • U. Zlatehotygra
  • Chimera   (mulled wine)
  • U. Malteze
  • U. Zlatehohada  (wine cellar)
  • Cafe Louvre
  • Pivelvarsky Dum
  • Kampa Park
  • Pravda
  • Palffey Palac

*Garfunkel’s is an abysmal restaurant chain in the U.K. that has for us become the epitome of a poor travel decision: the Garfunkel, n., a rather ill advised restaurant choice, usually the result of jet lag and hunger.

Travel Rule #95: If you are insufficiently prepared for your travel, you inevitably will find yourself starving, cranky, jet-lagged, and somewhat lost in front of some vaguely non-threatening restaurant with a winsome, colorful menu in the window where you will say, “Well, it won’t kill us.” Afterward, you will spend several hours engaged in self recrimination and wondering about the state of the world that allows such places to be. While all tourist traps are Garfunkels, stealth Garfunkels can also lurk off the beaten path.

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