Budapest Central Market – European River Cruise
It’s Saturday morning and we arrived at Budapest at about 10 a.m. The natives were getting a bit restless for shopping and we were told that the Central Market is opened up till lunch time only. So the program had to be changed to allow shopaholics to head to the market to look for souvenirs and gifts for friends and family back home. The embankment where the boat was moored was within walking distance of the vast Central Market, a huge undercover bazaar. If you’ve not been here before, you’d be impressed at the size of this place! The ground floor of the building contains the market area where fresh and dried foods and spices can be bought, including the famous Hungarian salamis and paprika. Meat eaters will be happy here but beware, if you’re the queasy type, it might be an idea not to look too hard at some of the meat stalls which are decorated with heads of animals. Look out for the caviar stalls too.
The upper levels were filled with shops selling Hungarian lace napkins, table cloths, etc, wood carvings and clothing. If you’re in the market for embroidered napkins and table cloths, do some research before you leave home as they weren’t particularly cheap in the market. You may find shops back home that sell them for cheaper. In the middle level, there is a food area where you could try Hungarian goulash and other dishes, if you were game.
Even if you weren’t into souvenir shopping, the bazaar is very colourful and interesting to stroll through. I particularly love the spice stalls and the red displays of paprikas. One of the stallholders proudly displays a poster of former British Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher visiting his stall. You’ll recognize the stall owner in the picture too, even though he’s acquired a few grey hairs.