Budapest Beyond Sightseeing - Ruinpubs in Budapest
Budapest Beyond Sightseeing
An interview with Gyuri Baglyas from Budapest Beyond Sightseeing, offering alternative sightseeing tour routes in the slummy 8th district

How did you get the rather unusual idea of organizing sightseeing tours in the 8th district of Budapest, a place not exactly known as a tourist destinationő

If you want to make a living out of tourism, you have to come up with something new. Generally it's not in the 8th that those 'somethings new' are found; but we thought we'd organize tours here, just for the hell of it, to show something unique and novel.

Whom do you target with these tourső

Our tours are primarily aimed at people who are interested, people who (irrespective of age or nationality, ethnicity) are open to getting some real urban experience in a trip to Budapest, and not only to put a check sign next to the city name.

Which one is the most popular routeő

The 'Social-Cultural Walking Tour' and the 'Mouldering Beauty of the 8th'. The first is best among foreigners, while the latter rather among Hungarians.

What's the proportion: more foreigners or more Hungarianső

's really great to see quite a lot of Hungarians on these tours: foreigners and natives turn up for them in about equal numbers. Hungarians often bring their own guests from abroad with them, or we have both foreigners and Hungarians in a single group. Our experience is that a tour with both is always more exciting, since it actually has more than one guides - everyone starts sharing their knowledge and experience with the others

In the 'Social-Cultural Walking Tour', you visit a family of gypsy musicians. Where did that daring idea come fromő

What matters most is that people should be able to get some personal experience and inspiration from the diverse values found and seen in the city: this is why we enter the home of somebody living here, to make some personal contact with those who live their lives in the 8th. It is indispensible for a good tour to offer this experience for each of its visitors. If you go to a city and don't get that, you miss the most important thing. And while it might be quite daring to enter a totally unknown personal home, but there are ways to organize that appropriately, and we keep finding our target group contains people who are open to this. We are welcomed by people who are proud of their culture, of things they achieved in their lives: they are musicians and proud of it, and also of living right here, and they like to share this with others.

Are you planning any new tours, to diversify your repertoireő

We'd like to stay in the 8th district for now; as I see it, we're the only such specifically localised touristic service, only dealing with a single district, and I wouldn't say the 8th is doing so well we'd rather go and work in the 7th or 5th districts. For me it's more important to have a single satisfied customer than to tell lame jokes to a hundred people somewhere downtown. We'll expand when we see we can provide the same quality elsewhere too.