Development in the region began in the mid-19th century as Pest expanded, with a heady mix of “Golden Age observances”, such as Art Nouveau, that came on the scene. Most notably the spotlight shines on Városliget with the Széchenyi baths and zoo. Beyond this point, a host of other architectural wonders also awaits, this time without the tourists, along the lesser known Hermina road, which finally leads to the number 5 and number 7 buses on to Zugló at the busy Thőköly road.

Once beyond Zugló train station, there is much architecture to see within the Mexikói, Amerikia, Rona and Erzsébet Királyne promenades. When the autumn leaves are down, these vintage period pieces from a bygone era are clearly more spectacular, and await architectural enthusiasts to visit.

# Bosnyák tér

But like a lot of neighbourhoods outside the city, there was no escape from huge tower blocks, which need no introduction, often dominating the skyline. But fortunately not so much in this case, as this particular part of Zugló still has a yesteryear spirit that maintains a leafy suburban elegance. This is similar to the better-known bourgeois Districts II and XII of Buda. Much too can be said for a lot of turn-of-the-19th-20th-century buildings within the Kőbánya-Kispest and Újpest surroundings close by.

To some, lower profiled Zugló and its array of more traditional, singular shops and businesses serve at best as a comfortable residential area, and close to all that matters. But to others, Zugló may be dull and too sedate. “Blink and you may have missed it” may come to mind whilst in passing, which may be true to a certain point, as easterly Zugló is situated at a crossroads with Central Pest, the motorway and railway lines.

But for those who know better it is a privilege to live in this up-and-coming place: Zugló, along with its own Philharmonic Orchestra, “plays on” and provides a pleasant environment for young and old alike without excessive crowds and congestion. Here are the obvious landmarks, such as churches, playgrounds, pizza and ice-cream parlours, providing social lives for children, parents and grandparents after school.

My overriding Zugló highlight is the bustling Bosnyák tér market, particularly on Saturdays. It is always a pleasure to go there, as the sense of a community and good cheer is strong. The stalls are filled with an abundance of fruit and vegetables, and anything else that goes, which are frequently produced by locals or others coming in from out of town.

# The bustling market at Bosnyák tér is always filled with local produce

As the food is often freshly picked or dug up a short while before being delivered and sold with an assuring smile, this is the real thing – certainly when compared to what's at the supermarkets and modern-day shopping centres elsewhere.

Zugló at large remains off the tourist and ex-pat trails. So much so, I may as well be in Beregszász, or any far-flung Magyar-majority-speaking town when it comes to communicating. Few outsiders, such as me, with distorted Hungarian, such as mine, come this way. But you will soon know once you're in with the local community: fewer people ask “How long have you been here?”, “Are you on holiday?”, “When are you leaving?”

Now I am here to stay with my wife Eszter, our three young children Judy, Suzie and Vincent, and Grandma. I have clearly found my place here in family-friendly Zugló and I am making the most of it. I no longer fit in with today's transient ex-pat scene and have overcome the over-excessive tourist sightings, such as the Castle District with its ritzy Riviera atmosphere. Need I tell you about pizza and ice-cream “inflation” there? A visit to any cukrászda/tea shop at the heart of far humbler Zugló will make you blush upon your return.


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