Pro #4: Beauty, Natural and Otherwise
We have never lived in a place with such striking views on even the most routine commutes or journeys. (Granted, we lived in Houston for 20+ years, so the bar wasn’t exactly sky-high, but still…) The bridges, the river, the hills/cliffs, the buildings, the castles, the statues, the graffiti… OK, scratch the last, but you gotta see it to believe it. It’s a very, very pretty place to hang your hat.
Con #4: Smoking
The smoking rate in Hungary, while better than many former Soviet bloc nations, is still 50% higher than the US, and since we’re out and about without the security blanket of an automobile wrapped around us, that feels like an understatement. Eight of the top ten cigarette smoking rates in the world are in Eastern Europe; thanks to some anti-smoking measures taken over the past few years (no smoking on public transportation or in stations, limited to no smoking in public buildings, etc.), Hungary is not in that club any longer.
It’s just another dreadful hangover from the Warsaw Pact days. There wasn’t much in the way of fresh fruit, vegetables or meat, but the Soviets made sure beer, wine and cigarettes were cheap and plentiful. (Hungary is the fourth-highest country in terms of alcohol consumption — pun intended… Don’t worry, Mom, we’re bringing the average down — I’ve got a long way to go to reach my quota of 13.4 liters…)