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Burda in Budapest

October 26th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

After discovering that it’s possible to buy the current issue of Burda’s pattern magazine virtually anywhere in Budapest, Hungary (gas stations! magazine kiosks! hole-in-the-wall newsstands!), I took special notice of an ad in the back of one of the Burdas I’d gotten.  I can’t read Hungarian, but it was really obvious that this ad was for back issues

.  .  .  and it included two addresses for Burda stores in Budapest.  Budapest, my new favorite city, is very easy to navigate.  I knew I could find at least one of these stores, and so I did.  Here’s the store in Budapest IX (that’s the district) at Vámház krt. 13 (that’s the street name and number):

Inside was Burda-back-issue-heaven.  The Burda I wanted most wasn’t out on the rack, but the proprietor was kind enough to search through a huge stack behind the register, and turned this up:

It’s the 04/2008 issue I’ve been desperate to find — the one with Cidell’s trench jacket!  I bought it immediately, and also a slew more, some of which are below:

The price?  About $2.50 USD for each.  I was practically hyperventilating from delight!

However, I didn’t come home with a truckload.  I had a list of issues I wanted, some of which went back to 2000 or so, but I soon learned that I couldn’t get those issues here; the Hungarian version of Burda has only existed since October, 2005.   Not to mention one other detail:  I’m not nuts about Burda’s summer issues, and the end-of-year holiday issues don’t do much for me either.

Still, this was quite a coup, and I loved the store, which is, by the way, also sells yarn, along with yardage.  All communication, except smiling and nodding, was conducted by writing dates down (in Hungarian format, of course), but that was no problem at all.

Later I went back and asked about a double tracing wheel, suspecting that I could find one more easily in Budapest than at JoAnn’s.  This Burda store didn’t have it, but the proprietor made a call to their store on József krt., wrote down which streetcar to take, and I went over there and picked up my new dual wheel.  So much fun, and I got to see a whole different part of Budapest into the bargain.

Why is is so easy to find old issues of Burda?  Well, it’s probably partly because Hungary may still be a nation of sewers.  But it’s also at least partly because Hungary, or at least, specifically, Budapest, is still a nation of readers.  There are lavishly stocked magazine stands all over the place, and people are still reading like crazy on public transit, with only a few electronic devices (cell-phones; MP3 players; hand-helds) turning up, and those rarely.

Economically, Budapest seems to be still suffering from the “long sleep” that was communism/dictatorship; having a world full of text on every corner is one symptom.  It made me realize how much we’ve lost, at least in the reading arena.  Once electronic devices are in the hands of every Hungarian, most of those books and virtually all of the magazines are doomed, along with the tempting kiosks.  And easy access to Burda.  It’s a trade-off, but is it good?

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