The World’s Most Hated and Loved Hungarian Invention

40 years ago a Hungarian architect and sculptor unintentionally invented what would become one of the world’s most sold puzzle games ever – the Rubik’s cube.

 

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10 surprising facts about the Rubik’s cube!

  1. Erno Rubik originally built the cube as a tool to help his students at the Academy of Applied Arts and Design in Budapest to understand three-dimensional geometry. It was first after he had twisted and turned the cubes, and failed to put them back to their original position that he realised what he had invented.

  2. It took Rubik himself more than a month to solve the cube the first time.

  3. Erno Rubik became the first self-made millionaire in the Soviet block.

  4. One out of five people in the world have laid their hands on a Rubiks cube.

  5. It has 43 Quintillion (that’s 43 followed by 18 (!) zeros) possible moves but only one solution

  6. The current record for solving a 3×3×3 Rubik’s Cube is held by Mats Valk from Netherlands in with a time of 5.55 seconds.

    RUBIC CUBE

    Erno Rubik – The inventor of the Rubik’s Cube

  7. In the beginning, Rubik had a hard time getting the cube on to the market, as the companies at that time thought it was to difficult and to unlike anything else on the market at that time.

  8. In addition to official competition as Speed cubing (solving the cube in shortest time possible) there are also some more unusual competitions taking place, such as:  Blindfolded solving, solving the Cube underwater in a single breath, solving the Cube using a single hand, Solving the Cube with one’s feet.

  9. In 1981 the 13 year old Patrick Bossert becomes the youngest author ever to hit the new York times best seller lists with his book “You can do the cube”, where he offered solutions on how to solve the cube.

  10. The youngest person to solve the cube in a competition was Chinese Ruxin Liu, who was 3 years and 118 days old and solved it in 1 min and 39 seconds. Watch the young genius yourself.

 

If you would like to know more about the Rubik’s cube and how to solve it like a professional, we recommend our Rubik’s Cube Workshop in Budapest

 

The Best Flea Markets in Budapest

Our Top 3 Favourite Flea Markets in Budapest.

Budapest is home to one of Central Europe’s biggest flea markets and antique and second hand shops can be found in plentiful. Take a stroll through the markets and we guarantee you will find a whole lot of unique things and lost treasure. But remember to haggle! You will be amazed to see how much the prices can go down with the right amount of technique and charm.

 

1. Ecseri Piac. (Nagykőrösi út 156, 1194 Budapest)

This is the mother of all flea markets in Budapest, and one of the biggest in Central Europe. This is also the market most frequently visited by tourist, so be aware that some of the things can be overpriced.   Here you will find everything from antique jewelries and furniture to old Russian army artifacts and Nazi symbols. If you want to be like the pros, then try to beat the crowds by getting their early on Saturday mornings.

 

Ecseri Piac flea market in Budapest

 

 

 

2. PESCA Flea market (Zichy Mihály Street 14, 1146 Budapest)

Opened only during the weekend, the PESCA flea market is located in the middle of the City park. Here you can expect to find anything and everything, from old books and posters and antiquities to old toys, wristwatches and Lego pieces sold by the pound. There is an entrance fee of 1 Euro.

 

PESCA flea market in Budapest

 

 

3. Erzsébet tér market (Erzsébet tér 14, 1051 Budapest)

Held on the last Sunday of every month. Here you will find vendors selling both old and new stuff as well as food and sweets. Gaze through old clothes, vinyls, vintage record players and jewelry and porcelain.

 

Erzsébet tér flea market in Budapest

 

 

OFF THE BEATEN TRACK – TOP 10 UNUSUAL ATTRACTIONS IN BUDAPEST

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1.) ICE BAR

Ice bar in Budapest is a fantasy-like bar where you get to sip on your favourite drink surrounded by ice sculptures and walls. The bar serves ice-cold cocktails (pun intended) and they all come in ice glasses!

The inside temperature of the bar is between -1°C and -7°C. The bar provides warm ponchos and gloves to keep you warm.
The ticket includes one cocktail. Have a further look here.

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2.) CAVES UNDER BUDAPEST

Budapest surprisingly hosts the largest cave system in Hungary. They are situated in the 2nd district Rózsadomb (Rose Hill) in the Buda side. They were supposed to be merged by the Turk for military purposes and later served for storing wine.

The “main” one is called Szemlö-hegyi-barlang (“Freckle hill cave”). Address: Pusztaszeri út 35.
A second one is called Pál-völgyi-barlang (“Paul valley cave”). Steep access. Szépvölgyi út 162.
And then there is the Matyas cave. For experienced climbers.

Out of 10 kilometers of caves that stretch beneath Castle Hill 1,5km are open to the general public. There is an entrance fee for the caves with a chance of joining a guided tour.

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3.) SZIMPLA KERT FARMERS MARKET

Szimpla Kert is all-in-one. It is one of the city’s most famous ruin pubs (see below) that turns into a lovely Farmer’s Market every Sunday. It quickly became a local favourite.

Scout for some fresh, farm-grown produce or taste bites of homemade food. Courtyard serves as a perfect venue to dive into the wonders of Hungarian cuisine and local food. Country-style pastries, fresh goat cheese, homemade syrups, honey, sausages, salamis, seasonal fruits and vegetables are all part of the offering.

The farmer’s market is open every Sunday from 9 am to 2 pm. They also offer kid’s programs and live music, which makes this a pleasant destination for the entire family.

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4.) VARKERT BAZAR

Várkert Bazár is a historic monument on the Danube waterfront in the centre of Budapest; it was built between 1875 and 1888 and contains a grand staircase linking the Royal Palace to the waterfront. The aim of the project was to restore Varkert’s old glamour and to create a multi-purpose center with offices, cultural and leisure facilities and a nice variety of exclusive, high-end shops.

While the concept of Varkert’s Bazar is to offer exclusive retail facilities on the banks fo Danube, it’s prime activity is a stroll through the old Royal Park. Another leisurly activity for the entire family with views on the biggest Hungarian river.

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5.) RUIN PUBS

Ruin Pubs (‘rom kocsma’ in Hungarian, literally: pub in a ruin) are located in formerly abandoned buildings in the city and are very popular hot spots. Most are open year-round, some are temporary outdoor pubs, open from May to September and some are located in the cellars of old houses.

Live music with the best Hungarian bands, charming retro décor, unique atmosphere and late opening hours make these places perfect for party. This are the places where contemporary artists and designer gather to create a new wave of entertainment in Budapest.

Ours most recommended Ruin Pubs are Corvintető, Fogasház and Szimpla Kert.

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6.) CHANDELIER SHOP

Rarely you get to have a look into a city’s local crafts. While in Budapest use the chance to hop into the Grünberger chandelier shop for some truly amazing sights of the incredibly crafty decor.

Just off Andrássy Boulevard near Budapest’s Operetta Theatre on Nagymező utca quietly stands one of the city’s undiscovered treasures. This business is over a 100 years old and currently run by the last great chandelier maker in Budapest, Mr Tamás Grünberger. His award-winning cases of light hang in some of the most famous buildings in the city.

Here you can find out more about this incredible artist. Unfortunately the site is only in Hungarian.

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7.) NOE CUKRASZDA

Noé Cukrászda is one of those small local treasures that only the most attentive know of. This is a small Hungarian-Jewish pastry shop run by Ráhel. The cafe might be small, but there is lovely terrace outside for catching some sun in the summer.

Don’t leave this place without trying the famous flódni, a special Hungarian-Jewish cake including apple, walnut and poppy seed layers. Another delicacy is pogácsa (a Hungarian scone, salty appetizer), especially if eaten along with fresh, fragrant coffee.

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8.) BOOK CAFE – LOTZ TEREM

It is practically impossible to run out of the quality, quirky bars and cafes in Budapest. As their cafe culture is strong, why not dedicate you trip to simply enjoying a good cup of coffee in one of their top bars.

Book Cafe is a truly elegant coffee house, where you can enjoy a perfect cup of coffee or tea along with live music. It is located on the second floor of a former department store, so be sure not to miss out on it while near the Opera.

Neo-Renaissance interior will take you on a journey through time, while their cakes and pastries will satisfy those rumbiling bellies. Most recommended for the inspiring atmosphere and for book lovers who can enjoy the adjacent bookstore.

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9.) MEDIEVAL JEWISH SYNAGOGUE IN BUDA

On one of the main streets of the Castle District in Buda, in a small apartment building, a Medieval synagogue was discovered during excavation works in 1964. This is a Sephardic synagogue from 1364, from the period when Jews were allowed to live in the Castle District and established a community in New Zsido Street (now called Táncsics Street).

Today this is a museum, called “The Medieval Synagogue” (Kozépkori Zsidó Imaház). The main attraction here are Biblical inscriptions in Hebrew letters, with the symbols of the Star of David and a bow pointing to heaven.

Here you can read more about the museum and Jewish culture in Budapest.

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10.) BUDAPEST SIKLO (FUNICULAR)

Funiculars are one of those city classics that make you feel like a child again while offering good views on the city. Budapest Siklo is 95 meters long and it has 48% raise.

Its lower station is on Ádám Clark square, its upper station is between in Sándor-palota (Alexander palace) and Buda Castle. Perfect way to reach one of the most important sights in Budapest – the Buda Castle!

Budavari Siklo Close up

Romantic Cities

It may not be the typical time of year to think about a romantic break with your better half but think about it…the changing seasons present one of the best opportunities to see a city in transition. Forget the Summer rush and hoards of tourists flocking to see the guidebook sights, Autumn and early Winter take a city back to its best. The streets are quieter and yet seem to be more colourful, if you have chosen to visit a city like Riga then you will be in for a surprise. The parks become awash with the colours of fallen leaves and a deep breath fills the lungs with crisp Autumn air, the temperature is cool but not yet cold, the days are shorter but not too short and the city is quieter but not silent…never silent.

So why is this time of year perfect for a Romantic get-away..? Well, first of all Hotels have just reverted back to their “Winter” rates, meaning that you have the chance to make your budget stretch a bit further, now you can think about staying in a 4 or 5* hotel or maybe  even a boutique hotel that would otherwise be out of the average price range. The budget airlines release some great offers and even launch new destinations in a bid to stimulate spending in the “Quieter Autumn Period”.

In a recent list of Romantic Cities created by TripAdvisor, Prague, Berlin and Budapest all featured in the top 10…these destinations maybe better known for Bachelor parties and sightseeing rather than a romantic break but don’t be put off because all three present different options.

Prague Since the late eighties and the opening up of Eastern Europe, Prague quickly became one of the trendy (and original, at first) places to visit and rapidly evolved to offer all kind of tourist amenities. It is a lively Destination with plenty of beautiful things to see starting with its grand castle and the famously romantic Charles bridge.

 

 

Berlin Like adventure? Love to live off the beaten track? Cancel your romantic weekend to Paris or Venice and head for Berlin. The capital Destination of Germany has tremendously changed over the last 15 years to become one of the most vibrant and exciting destinations of Europe.

 

 

Budapest Destination that developed on the banks of the Danube river, Destination of churches, great architecture, thermal baths and artists, Budapest is experiencing a fantastic revival since the early nineties, which made it become one of the most-wanted alternate destinations for a romantic gateway.

 

 

Most people think of the obvious choices for a romantic break, Paris, Rome and Barcelona spring to mind but why fill your photo albums with the same pose at the same sights as all your friends…? At Travel Out There we encourage people to really visit a City, get beneath the surface and see what others miss, just because your on a Romantic break it doesn’t mean that you cant try something, or somewhere different.

So next time your thinking about treating your other half to a romantic weekend away, think a little different and consider options that may surprise you in more ways than you imagined…