Forking out big money for a fancy hotel when travelling isn’t my style, but neither was pinching pennies by staying a a youth hostel. Hence when I visited Budapest, this view was nowhere near the hotel I was staying.
Instead, I dug around until I found the cheapest hotel located near a metro station that didn’t have too many horrible reviews, and then booked online.
On arrival in Budapest the hotel was just as I expected, but one thing did confuse me – the travel agent on the ground floor was covered with Russian posters and signs, and a Russian speaking tour group filled the foyer.
The next morning I headed down to the restaurant for breakfast, when my other half started to giggle at the signs at the door.
The two signs on the left just repeat the same message in three different languages: English, Hungarian, and Russian. Nothing funny there!
But the third sign had this to say:
со шведского стола
My now-wife speaks far more languages than I do, so she let me in on the secret – the sign was in Russian, and had this to say:
No taking food from the Swedish table!
Note the шведского стола is the Russian word for smorgasbord – or Swedish table when translated literally.
Taking home food from a buffet isn’t something only Russians do, but having a sign targeted just at them does make you wonder!
This op-ed about Russian tourists from the Kyiv Post describes a similar situation:
I saw a sign in Russian at a foreign spa, reading: “Dear guests! Entrance to the gym is free. But please, go one by one!” It was the only sign in Russian in the whole resort.
I’m guessing the ‘rude Russian tourist’ stereotype is more common than I thought.