DNA Magazine - - TRAVEL -

Best for: Hon­ey­moon­ers who find Paris too chic (and un­safe) and Prague not cheap enough. At­trac­tions: Bu­dapest’s great claim is as the “shabby chic” Paris of the East. Posh Buda on one side of the Danube River and party Pest on the other have truly bolted out of the Iron Cur­tain’s shadow. This is a city of siz­zling ther­mal baths and dip­ping into them is like slip­ping back in time. At the buzzing Ru­das ham­mam-style dome you’ll find straight, gay and in be­tween guys ogling your oblig­a­tory white lap-lap. Men-only nights are Mon­day, Wed­nes­day, Thurs­day and Fri­day. To re­plen­ish your en­ergy you can hap­pily eat like a king for a pau­per’s price, com­pared to other Euro­pean cap­i­tals.

Dis­trac­tions: Hun­gar­i­ans are, we’re as­sured, not so much anti-gay as much as they just pre­fer gay peo­ple to be in­vis­i­ble. Hold­ing hands and show­ing af­fec­tion in pub­lic is, at best, frowned upon and at worst acted upon. That said, last year’s Bu­dapest Pride was no­table for no ma­jor in­ci­dents, un­like a fer­vent far-Right pres­ence in past years, so it is get­ting bet­ter.

Ro­mance Fac­tor: The cur­rent Hun­gar­ian na­tional gov­ern­ment is vir­u­lently Right Wing and stren­u­ously anti-gay. That said, my hubby and I held hands all through Bu­dapest and never en­coun­tered a sin­gle prob­lem. Go fig­ure.

Gay or nay? Qui­etly gay. Café Whynot (how can you not ad­mire the name?) sits out and proud on the Pest side of the Danube with views of the Lib­erty statue across to Buda. Club­bers can move on to Tütü and Al­ter Ego, all rel­a­tively close to Deak Ferenc Ter (Square). It’s a beau­ti­fully ren­o­vated and, im­por­tantly, safe area of Bu­dapest with parks, churches and build­ings that Paris can only dream of polic­ing now.

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