Saturday, 8 November 2008

Time for tea

Lali Bácsi in Litea

I lived in Budapest from 1989 until 1993 and I just loved it. I loved everything about it, my studies, the city, the people and the culture. I particularly loved being invited by Magyar fellow students to their homes for the weekend, to meet their families, to eat Hungarian food and to soak up Hungarian family life, and it was in this way that I also got to see many parts of Hungary.

I got an insider’s view of Hungarian life and over the years I became a member of many substitute families. I was never homesick when living in Budapest although at first I did sometimes miss English Sundays, but I soon developed my own Magyar vasarnap which was actually in the end even better than the English one.

On Sunday mornings I would be off to the Gellert Baths to steam away the city dirt. It was wonderful, a delightful atmosphere, at that time very few tourists just the locals and I would often get asked by the elderly Hungarian ladies to scrub their backs under the showers. And on winter afternoons my favourite haunt was Litea.

Litea

When the dark afternoons set in I would jump on little bus up to the castle district of Budapest, get off outside the Hilton Hotel, beside the wonderful Mátyás Templom, and buy a Sunday newspaper. I would then cross the road to the best book shop I have ever found anywhere in the world: Litea! It has small tables with Tiffany lamps, and tea and cake are served at the tables. There are shelves of really interesting books that one can take to the tables and peruse or, as I often did, just read the paper and drink tea.

On each visit to this wonderful city I am always thrilled to find this book shop still there, it defies the odds and remains open despite the leaking roof, and I make a beeline for it to soak up the atmosphere and of course I buy books! I often end up with more than I am allowed in my luggage allowance and have to ship them home!

This visit to Budapest is short but I will save an hour or two to visit my friends in Litea, they always remember me and on my last visit I was given a copy of “With love: Memoirs of the Beginning of Conductive Pedagogy and András Petö” that had been launched there in 1999. This book is invaluable for its insight into the development of Conductive Education and life at Petö's Institute.

Notes

Vasarnap: Sunday

“With love: Memoirs of the Beginning of Conductive Pedagogy and András Petö”: compiled by Dr Judit Forrai with an introduction by Andrew Sutton.
ISBN 963 85499 2 0

Gellert Baths: http://www.gellertbath.com/

Litea: http://www.litea.hu/

Mátyas Templom: http://hungarystartshere.com/Church-of-Our-Lady-Matyas-templom-Budapest

Magyar: Hungarian

PS I made it to Litea this morning, I had one hour to spare between meeting old friends and acquaintances ,which was enough time to make a beeline to the small bus from Moszkva Ter up to the castle district. I was immediately recognised as I went into Litea, I chatted to the lovely girl serving the coffee, found a great book and was treated to my coffee and delicious cake on the house


1 comment:

Norman said...

Yes. A very special place. One I enjoyed on each visit to Budapest.