Russian tourists, a Budapest hotel, and the Swedish table

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.

Budapest Chain Bridge lit up by night

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.

'No taking food from the Swedish table' sign in Russian

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:

выносить продукты
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.

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2 Responses to Russian tourists, a Budapest hotel, and the Swedish table

  1. Frederick says:

    I’m pretty sure the language on the second line of the top left sign is German (‘Frühstück ist ab 7 bis 10 Uhr’)

    Great stuff about the ‘swedish table’ though!

    • I plug that into Google Translate, and it thinks it is German as well.

      The final line is more Russian text – «завтрак с 7 до 10».

      All are just translations of the ‘breakfast from 7am to 10am’ text.

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