there! By the time visitors reach the last of the memorabilia-lined historic rooms, each one faithfully recreating another era of Hungarian history one is spent. But one also feels closer to Hungary. (I did come across a disturbing throwback to the district's hoarier days: all the museum guards at least the male ones carry side arms.) fooD for thought If you're in the fin de siècle mood, take lunch at the Muzeum's fabled namesake, Museum (Múzeum körút 12). Nothing trendy about this bellwether of the Budapest dining scene: it's been going strong since 1885. The eatery's high ceilings and tall windows make this a good place to meditate on all the history you've just seen. Weather permitting, you might prefer to dine alfresco at Épitész Pince, the reliable restaurant situated in the courtyard of the near by Almássy Palace, there's a cool, time-WarP Quality here. which also serves as the headquarters of the union of Hungarian architects, at Ötpacsirta 2. Order the "basement style" pork chops. Afterwards visit the Almássy's elegant neighbor, the Szabó Ervin Library, at 1088 Szabó Ervin tér 1. One of the Eighth's great survivors, the resplendent library, dating from 1890, is also the city's public archives. Looking for a vintage jacket? There's a good chance you'll find it in Iguana, a retro clothier on the corner of Krúdy Gyula and Horánszky utca (Krúdy Gyula utca 9). It also has a nice selection of fauxAudrey Hepburn bags. For dinner, head down into the shadows of Horánszky utca (not to worry: those cameras are watching) until you come across the A.P.A. Art Centre and Café (Horánszky utca 5). A former pipe factory, the A.P.A. offers artist residences in converted studios. The centre also contains a laid-back bar and a surprisingly courtesy of DanuBius hotels Where to stay UnsUrprisingly, the resurgent Eighth has its own brand new boutique hotel, the Palazzo Zichy Hotel (Lorinc pap ter 2), a fine one. A converted turn of the century mansion, one of three Hungarian Art Nouveau domiciles built for the wealthy Zichy family, this sleek four star, 80-room hostelry, located on a small square in the heart of the Palace Quarter, boasts a soaring atrium, a cool duplex bar-cum-business center, and refreshingly, no attitude. Grandeur of the more venerable kind is on offer at the nearby Danubius Hotel Astoria (photo at left), at 19 Kossuth Lajos, on the northwestern corner of the district. The Astoria opened in 1914, and has been in continuous operation ever since, through war and peace, depression and revolution. Until recently it also looked it. However, the lavish establishment, a favourite with period film directors with its shimmering chandelier and posh appointments, has recently been restored to its original Austro-Hungarian magnificence. www.hotel-palazzo-zichy.hu www.danubiuShotelS.com eng 40 Blue Wings octoBer 2011
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