I remember Vorosmarty Ter when it was merely a pleasant must see tourist destination where one could stroll the nearby pedestrian walk of Vaci Utca or sit in the overpriced but important Gerbeaud Cafe with an espresso and a slice of Dobos and with the backdrop of beautiful Secessionist style buildings chat with your partner and watch the world unfold.
But no longer.
About 7 years ago they tore down one of those fine buildings and replaced it like a sore thumb with a glass and steel ING financed structure whose purpose, as far as I could tell, was primarily to house yet another Hard Rock Cafe and McDonalds. The remaining Heritage buildings sit quietly in the background looking sadly at their lively new neighbor and grimly pondering their own future.
The square is now filled with kiosks, loud music, and generally a carnival atmosphere which appeals to a certain type of tourist who associates good travel experiences with partying at those ever safe and familiar haunts they are drawn to like an oasis in the desert.
In my opinion it is worth no more than 5 minutes of one's time. Consider it a good sobering look at what a city, so cash strapped, is willing to tear down and put up to attract the tourist buck. Unfortunately once done it cannot be undone. Even the once grand Gerbeaud Cafe has been diminished and instead of sitting gladly on their terrace with one of their overpriced Dobos cakes and an espresso, I wanted only to flee.
The city of Budapest is beautiful and worth exploring. Throw away the handbook that insists you spend time in garish parts like this and explore other friendly squares and cafes where perhaps only Hungarian is spoken but with a little effort you will be understood and the experience will be more memorable.
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