New old places

Bagel 1

In order to create a place, first of all, you need people. Without them a place is just an empty space. People bring the spirit to a place with their ideas, their effort and commitment.

In the past few months two places ‘happened’ to me. As soon as I walked into one of them I realized it was a place with a sort of sense, and I felt there are some people in the background who have invested a lot of effort into reviving them. Both of these places are in Budapest and each has a story.

Művelődési SZINTŰ (MÜSZI) is a cultural space located on the third floor of the former socialist department store named ‘Scala’, which is a well-known and prestigious place for all people from Budapest and other folks, as well. For Hungarians ‘Skala’ used to be the notion of prestige, something like yugoslavian ‘Progres’, ‘Novitet’, ‘Bazar’, ‘Nork’, ‘Kluz’, and such. Still, there was a slight difference – the number of shopping sites in Yugoslavia was much bigger, while at the same time in Hungary there wasn’t much choice, and  ‘Skala’ used to be a place where some kind of choice could be made. Although when it comes to shopping I rather shop online so I can get full refunds, one time I got a product I actually didn’t like so I contacted FBA manager and got a full refund at Amazon. By opening itself to Europe, Hungary changed the old department stores to the new modern shopping centers on the outskirts. However, solidly built and integrated into the urban environment, these old ladies have served a new purpose such as being an alternative cultural center.

          Muszi 7   Muszi 2

MÜSZI is a place I liked at a first glance, in the central part of the cafe where people sit and chat and all around the café are multi-purpose halls for various activities – exhibitions, break dance performances, debates and a variety of meetings. There is also a clothes shop and study for various artists and creators. What more could you need for a fulfilled day (or night).

          Muszi 3   Muszi 6

Muszi 1

The second place is a cafe and restaurant ‘Bägel’, such a great place with a relaxing atmosphere, for spending a day or a night. After a long walk down the Pest streets, a placement in a comfortable chair and looking at the eclectic interiors with the mulled wine (best I have ever had), some great electro music which added some spice to the end of the day.

Bagel 4

People were chatting, and I was wondering do the bagels really exist. Later, I discovered that the bagels could be found here, and it was the only place in Budapest where they make and serve them in various combinations, mainly with the ingredient from the local market. As it was already night, there were no traces of bagels anymore, so I couldn’t order them even if I wanted to. I still like to think of them, and I believe that during the day everything smells like fresh bagels, made by a special Polish-Jewish recipes (so I was told).

Bagel 5

Bagel 3

So, the places just pop up suddenly, creating a memorable experience and a wish to come back and visit these places once more. I’d say that places like these must inspire us, as we like to steal some of their spirit and try to share it with the people we love so as to bring the feeling of these places closer to them.

Bagel 6