Budapest, District III
(take HÉV train from Batthyány tér and take off at the Római Fürdő station. Walk to the river.)
Always cool and breezy “As good weather is approaching I sit on the bike, collect the friends, and cycle together to the “Római” at weekday nights, well if everyone is free… fish or scone, pancake or beer, doesn’t matter, but our table should look down to the Danube. When the concrete burns in town, it is always chilly up here and the breeze is nice. Let’s not leave the bike lamps at home!” Emese from Budapest (From: budapestadventure.com)
Sometimes, on a sunny Sunday afternoon at 3.30pm, you may look out of your window and think: why do I always drink so much on a Saturday that I can’t get out of the house on a Sunday? Well, stop right there, Miss Hangover! Don’t think that thought, Mr. Beer-then-wine-fine! Put your shoes on and get yourself on to the Szentendrei HÉV this minute. Ok, I’m on the HÉV. Now what? Keep going until you get to Római Fürdő. Under the underpass, where everyone else is heading and along the quiet, leafy road. Római Fürdő itself, an outdoor bathing complex popular with Hungarians, is worth a stop if you’ve remembered your swimming stuff… maybe if you’d got here a little earlier. Equally, if you’ve brought your tent, you might want to camp out for the night at the campsite. But, if you’re anything like me, you could just keep walking. It’s a pleasant suburb, and you should already be feeling a lift, and probably, at this point, your girlfriend has started singing “Éhes vagyok!” at you (“I’m hungry!”). Disaster: I didn’t tell you to bring any money! You check your wallet and her purse: you’ve got 1700Ft between you. Once you reach the river (and this is your destination), you’ll find something like a resort area with a few bars and food stalls, some selling the Hungarian equivalent of fish and chips: fish and chips. Between you, you can just about afford a pint of beer (hair of the dog), a large piece of fish, a couple of bits of bread each and some pickles. The fish is cooked in a breadcrumb batter but there are bones in it, so don’t eat it too recklessly. Along the river, a path leads the way past hotels that would once have adorned ultra-modern postcards but now sit motionlessly dreaming of the past. Not quite so motionless was the small floating pier, on which we lay peacefully in the sun being violently rocked by the passing boats. If the water really appeals, you can hire canoes, which cope with the waves rather better. Further along, ice cream, lángos (savoury doughnuts) and palacsinta (pancake) huts will tempt you and I would certainly have bought a palacinta from the hatch at the bottom of someone’s garden, if I’d had sufficient funds. On our remaining 180Ft, we had to settle for a rainbow rocket lolly. Római Part has its charms: like an old seaside resort that’s just got enough left to keep it ticking over: the river, the sun and the fish being an eternal attraction. In fact, I’m told that the ‘resort’ opens year round, so for some at least, the fish and the river are enough. (From: hubsights.blogspot.com)
Római part, or Roman bank, runs along the side of the Danube in District III, out by Óbuda. On a hot Sunday afternoon the grassy waterfront is filled with families enjoying the sun. Children ran up and down laughing and shouting, others play in the shade of the trees while their parents rest at a table full of lángos and fried fish, sipping fröccs or beer. The air is filled with the smell of frying fish and the sound of palacsinta sizzling on the grill from the many small restaurants that line the promenade. Kádár-era blocks of holiday homes stand by the path beside a few new villas on the river bank, with their concrete balconies looking out over the water. Cyclists are slaloming between those out strolling in the sunshine. Out on the river young couples with kayaks try to navigate the Danube’s currents, while the motor-boats of the nouveau riche roars past them. But unlike at, say stretches of Lake Balaton, most of those enjoying their Sundays at Római part are not nouveau riche, or indeed any kind of rich. Római part is still a kind of local Lake Balaton for those living in these parts of Budapest, who cannot afford a holiday home at the lake, or perhaps even to go there for a week or two. Unlike at Balaton, it is definitely not advisable to swim in the waters here.
You will not hear much if any English-speaking voice, or any other kind of foreign language at Római part. Budapest’s gilded youth sneer at Római part for being proli or working class. You can like this mini resort for its honesty, because it is unpretentious and affordable, a place where real people who worry whether they have enough money to pay the electricity bill go to forget their cares for a few hours with a wine and soda in the sun. And also because the food stalls sell freshly-fried hekk, a Hungarian fish which, when eaten with chips and pickled cucumbers, is the nearest thing in Budapest to British fish and chips. If you want to make a little effort to engage with Budapest beyond its superficial attraction, spend a sunny summer afternoon at Római Part. Family fun at Római Part: the riverside in this area is car-free. You can stroll under the trees just as if you were on a Mediterranean holiday… rent a kayak, or just rest at the riverfront. Don’t swim in the Danube! Have a lunch of fried fish or fried chicken drumstick (rántott csirkecomb) at one of the small terrace restaurants. There are no special activities for children, other than a few toys for toddlers, a small amusement park and a bowling place, but your kids will enjoy themselves anyway. If you absolutely need a playground, there is a nice one 10 minutes away at Vitorla utca. (From: hunreal.com)
Roman coast is located a few minutes ride on the H train north of the fist stop on the Buda side from Margaret Island on the 4/6 trams. Once you get off the train, head east to the Danube, which is really just a few blocks from the stop. Here, you will find a walking/bicycling path made of good old-fashioned dirt. Along the trail you’ll see houses and condos as well as plenty of little shops selling fried whole fish (sans head), beer, wine, pickled everything and langos. A few of the places had full blown bands playing others were more quiet, though filled with people. If you walk back to the train after dark or at dusk, BRING YOUR MOSQUITO REPELLENT. I was almost eaten alive. Special thanks, once again to Nikki and Daniel for taking us here.