I got a phone call at 11.30 PM one night not long ago… a friend of mine, Dani was calling who I hadn’t spoke for ages and called me from a new number..so first I didn’t even want to answer especially because of the late hour..who knows who calls, you know… 😉
The question was: “Can you come to Élesztő tommorow at 9AM.?” – Well, me I was like: – ‘What???’ Does he not remember that I am not such a person who would wake up so early without planning or preparing for it minimum 24hrs before?! If it would have been 11AM, well would be no problem at all…any late notice… but then..(!)…the keyword was said out loud: “Craft beer”. He explained to me that they have a guest here in Budapest at the moment, called Roger Protz, some beer expert whom even Wikipedia lists, so ‘Look him up!’ and ‘Be here at Élesztő at 9AM!’
Well, honestly I have to tell you that the mentioned online enciclopedia did definitely not made me interested more into him, but when I found his blog on the web, that did catch my imagination. Found too many interesting articles and references to him, and eventhough now it sounds like the reason why I woke up next morning…it wasn’t! Simply the love devoted my job and to beer of course! 😉
So I took him around in Budapest with the old jeep to be able to show him the most of the city within one day! It was his real first day in town and he seemed to me very grateful for this all. We even tasted some truly new craft beers while having our lunch before continuing to our afternoon session 😉
All in all it was a great pleasure to meet him and guide him around our beloved capital city. I would have never thought that I can happily wake up – unplanned – at 9 AM after a phone call at close to midnight? No way! 😉 Just in real special cases 🙂
Here you can read his article on his visit and find us as a reference at the end.
Thanks for coming to Budapest, Mr. Protz!
Can you believe that the cold dark winter days are gone? Do you feel like for a little sun? Let’s climb the mountains, let’s go over the clouds! If you’ve seen the City just stay with us … soon our Moto Tour comes!
9th March, 2017
I picked up Angie in a nice cottage house – style hotel, in a remote area outside the city in the Buda hills where lucky locals live. It was a foggy day but because Angie had a direct taxi ride from the airport the night before, poor her did not see nothing of the beautiful city yet. So first we had a panorama view from the Citadel and because we were already on Gellért Hill, I decided to drive past the Kelenhegyi Painters’ Studio Apartment House where I always wanted to get in somehow to admire this special but modest beauty. Angie immediately could appreciate the beautiful piece of architecture so I parked up in the same second especially because the gate was wide open. We silently creeped to the main entrance and guess what! … we could sneak in! 🙂 So we discovered the staircase, but we felt a little disappointed because all the corridor doors were closed so only the quite plain but elegant staircase was left to our eyes. We left the building through the other side door that opened to the other end of the garden and strolled back towards the gate. When we turned once more back we saw those corridors from outside where we could’t get in and took a last glance at the building that was very pretty but different looking than the street facade. How charming but still imposing piece!
Right before we would have jumped back to the jeep by having a really last look back, I recognized a very hidden door on the front side that was even overgrown by the surrounding bushes and trees. We ran back and after battling ourselves through the plants we looked through the dirty double window where I could hardly but see an elderly charming men painting a canvas on a tray…
NO, we DID NOT miss the chance 😉 to knock on the window of the door.
It turned out that we were face to face with an acknowledged, famous contemporary painter. He very kindly invited us inside after explaining him what was our dream: to have an inner sight into the building..it could be anything!
He did not just show us his very high ceiling studio but also he showed us around in the apartment and introduced us to his wife too. She was an extremely sweet lady who couldn’t stop saying one sentence in different ways: ‘You two are so beautiful young ladies.’ She was just simply adorable.
He told us a lot about his works and his whole lifetime career and wouldn’t have stopped if we had endless time. He even wrote few words and dedicated one of his catalogues to both of us..
..but our tour must went on. Without planning it was obvious to me that we also pop into the Gellért Bath to see at least the main hall and its dome! Angie went crazy in there, especially because she loved the flower motives all around.
We took few photos and carried on while telling her about our famous bathing culture and all of our famous other baths in Budapest. We also discussed and agreed on that even ‘swimming pools’ were built in this breathtaking style and that people had a much more delicate taste that time when art nouveau was a popular style.
If we were architects we would bring it all back!
Soon we crossed the river and arrived to the Pest side of the city and along with showing her what only the ‘birds can see’ 😉 as once the most famous Hungarian secessionist architect said. Angie could hardly stop taking photos of the building’s roof.
We also had a look on few other beautiful pieces and finally finished with a nice coffee at the most unique café of the city sipping it all from a minimum 100 year old armchair. Not for sale! The owners are the greatest art nouveau/art deco art collectors of Hungary, I suppose. Luckily they are not hiding it from the audience, but put the whole huge collection on show..so anybody can enjoy!
Thanks for choosing us, Angie! 🙂
6th of November
Gail came alone all the way long from San Diego to board a cruise ship and see a little more of life on the European continent. Thanks to that Budapest is a departing and final destination of the cruise lines at the same time, she had just started her cruise, but before that all, she booked a Jewish tour through Viator with us.
The same day when she landed I already met her and picked her up from the hotel. She was waiting for me in the lobby and as the sun shined through the glass doors of the hotel, I could see her wondering while she was waiting for me. I knew it was her from far outside. I had the feeling that this kind faced lady was Gail herself…
It turned out very soon that never visiting a synagogue and not knowing much about judaism was her inspiration to get a little more familiar with this religion. She couldn’t have picked a more beautiful city and synagogues to start with.
How lucky! This way the first synagogue experience of hers ever was the Dohány temple, which is one of the largests in the World and the biggest one in Europe, what’s more, all of the visitors say that the most beautiful too! … Well, I don’t know but me, I can’t enough of it.
We had also seen the two other historical synagogues together where I told a lot about the two other branches of judaism born in the XIXth century…
One is more beautiful than the other!
The ruiny Rumbach is my favorite of all,
while the orthodox synagogue is not just unique because of its remarkable Art Nouveau decoration but also because orthodox synagogues are normally never opened to the public.
We also sneaked into one of the old building’s courtyard to see behind the scenes and to see how people keep their residence and maintain their everyday life.
Then we had a jewish pastry together and had a little chat as well 🙂
And finally we also remembered the Second World War by visiting the old wall of the Great Budapest Ghetto inside the courtyard of another old building in the area never to forget the times when the famous Jewish Quarter was not the scene of endless parties, but senseless massacre…
27th of September
I picked up Monica and John on Tuesday morning at the lovely Brody Apartments and we started our Classical Walk spiced with Art Nouveau. It was their first day in Budapest and I tried to show them the main sights but a little differently as they had a deeper interest in architecture and especially early 20th century. They wanted to see the main sights and learn about the history of the city as well so I combined a more of classical style tour with a touch of art nouveau and art deco. This way I have show them historical attractions as well as hidden treasures of the city and at the same time I summed up the history of the whole city and whole Hungary. I hope they returned home with nice memories and that one day they will come back for a little longer visit 😉
Nice to meet you Monica and John!
26th of July
Brian dropped me a mail months ago that he read about me in the Guardian article and would like to book a tour with me on the special occasion that he and his wife are visiting Budapest on their one year-delayed honeymoon and they would like to have a walking-tour with me to get an introduction to Budapest on their first day at their first time here.
Finally I parked up with 3 bicycles in front of their rented apartment at 2 pm, 14th of July. I waited them with 2 heart-shaped marzipan bonbons placed on the saddle of their bicycles. When they came down, I IMMEDIATELY knew that they gonna be so fun. . . and of course they were! I also very much appreciated that they seem to form a perfect couple and this has such a nice feeling when you are with people who match so well. Simply good to see! 🙂
As our first stop we looked through the buildings at Kodály Körönd and wondered all how it is possible to have such beautiful buildings left abandoned. After also getting to know who really was Kodály himself, we carried on to Heroes’ Square and to the City Park. Naturally we didn’t miss the most romantic spot of the area neither, so we explored the Vajdahunyad Castle and its surroundings too.
After elaborately exploring the area we cycled back towards the centre and seen the sights on the Avenue, like the House of Terror, the Opera House and went to see also the Basilica, where we naturally couldn’t pass by the legendary police statue without rubbing his belly to bring us luck as well as his moustache that guarantees luck in your love life too 😉
Finally we had to see the river before turning back that impressed us so much that we felt like that was the crown on top of the day.. and indeed it was with the Parliament building, the most beautiful jewel of the whole city.
We finally all got so thirsty that I invited the happy couple for a drink in one of the most popular ruin bars among locals. A non-touristy one fit into our day perfectly where we spent an hour at least in such a pleasant company. I gave them recommendations, and booked also a table for them for their dinner straight after the tour.
I hope to see you soon again ANDREA & BRIAN!
I am sure that they will always look so cute on all photos like the first one that I received from Brian during the e-mailing we spent 🙂
Click here if you would like to read their opinion about our afternoon.
14th of July