Tour Guide Interview
What’s your name and how old are you?
Zsuzsa Bakonyi 34.
Do you have kids? If so, how old are they?
Where are you originally from and what city do you currently live?
How long have you been a tour guide?
More than 10 years but i have several professions aside from this.
Why did you want to become a tour guide?
I remember when i applied to a very cool tour agent with a friend. I thought that i like being with foreigners and showing them my city anyway, so if someone pays me for this, that would be really wonderful.
How many tours have you provided?
Hmm, a lot
Let’s get to the exciting stuff. Why should anyone visit the city?
Budapest has a night panorama at the riverside to which i have not seen many equal. It is a city born on the crossroads of cultures and histories, full with jaw dropping sights and – what I like more – alternative and underground lifestyles. The term “Pearl of the Danube” and “The Paris of the East” is no exaggeration. I would add that it is as ever evolving and cool as Berlin in the artistic and underground scene.
Is the city safe? What areas are not safe?
It is safe. Use common sense.
What’s the weather like?
I want to clear one myth: Hungary is not COLD all year long – we have four seasons, and amazing summer heat! For some strange reasons, people tend to position as somewhere in the Baltic and they reckon we have cold weather. In this case I like to point them out that we are more or less neighbours to North of Italy… We have four seasons taking their equal share of the 12 months: spring, summer, fall and winter. With the global climate change we have seen some strange tendencies, like spring and fall are getting shorter, summer heats are getting really unbearable sometimes and we are getting less slow – if we get at all – in winter. My favorite thing is that from may to october you can hang out in nature, open door places and festivalS, leisure activities Hungarians seem to enjoy a lot.
What languages are spoken in the area? Is English spoken?
Hungarian which is not related to any slavic neighbouring language. As a tourist, you can get along with English or German more or less.
Is US Dollar widely accepted?
Not at all, why would it be?
What are the best areas or districts to stay in the city?
Well, everything in the centre aka. inside the big”körút” (Ring), where the 4-6 tram circulates. The 5th district, inner 6th, 7th, 8th district and my personal recommendation would be the 1st district, which is the Castle Hill and around. A tiny bit further from the centre, but it is the best district to live in and you can get a taste of how it would be to live in Buda (as opposed to Pest).
What’re your top 3 hotels and why?
Brody House – unique and artistic
Four Seasons – the masterpiece of art nouveau at the riverside
Lánchíd 19 Design Hotel – top location below the Buda Castle.
How does one get around the city? Taxi, Uber, similar apps, ATVs?
A tourist would go mostly by foot, since most of the sights to see are in the centre.
We have excellent non-stop public transport but for a tourist in 2 days it is not so easy to find out how it works. Budapest is a biker city, it is very convenient by bike, i really recommend it for travellers.
Can you highlight the MUST see sight? Minimum of 5, feel free to share as many as you would like.
One of the spas
A boat ride at sunset on the river
What’s the best place to take a photo?
There are many.
What about the top 3 restaurants?
Kőleves (stone soup) – https://kolevesvendeglo.hu/ – in the artsy funky jewish district, traditional but also fusion
Costes – https://www.tripadvisor.in/Restaurant_Review-g274887-d1828955-Reviews-Costes-Budapest_Central_Hungary.html#photos;aggregationId=101&albumid=101&filter=7&ff=330088930 – one of the 4 michelin star barers
Farm Bistro – bit hidden and small but for the true ecologyst this is the place to go: http://hazikobisztro.hu/en/
What‘s the one thing you MUST eat in the city?
Any rooftop bars or restaurants that you recommend?
Can you recommend the best shopping areas? Best shopping mall?
I prefer to avoid shopping malls which ruin a lot of local market, so I am not really going to give a suggestion on that, sorry. Andrássy avenue is the Budapest version of the Champs-Élysées with a lot of international brands. In the centre and Jewish district you can find more and more local fashion and designer stores, it is worthwhile to keep an eye open for them.
For souvenirs and food, the Central Market is the place to go.
What about food markets?
The Central Market Hall is very good to taste some Hungarian food. You can find other covered food markets throughout the city but the Central is the best to go. There is also a food court next to the famous Szimpla Bar – you have a big variety of street food there.
Do you recommend any tours outside the city? Islands? Boat Tours?
Any kind of boat tour is good. Going by boat to Szentendre village or the Bend of the Danube would be something i really recommend.
Where should one go at night? Any bar/nightlife areas or districts you recommend?
Jewish district, it is an entertainment area by now. Can be a bit overwhelming on certain evenings. We have quite good nightlife so the best is just ask around and go with the flow.
Are Casinos allowed? Blackjack tables?
I think yes, but frankly, it is the first time anyone asks me this
You can find some info herE: https://www.budapest.com/things_to_do/casinos.en.html
Any last advice for people visiting the city?
Walk into any gate you find open – Budapest has one of the world’s most beautiful courtyards, it is always a surprise. Do not take it personal if a waiter or shopkeepers seems rude. Hungarians can be like that, it is not against you
How can people learn more about you? Feel free to share your phone, email and contact info below
The best way to learn about me is checking my websites: Photography and photo tour
Fine art http://cargocollective.com/bakonyizsuzsa