I wrote both entries for “To-Do List for moving abroad to Kecskemét, Hungary for First-Time Parents” in September last year. This way overdue blog still seems relevant and Part 2 concludes this segment. Hope this helps!
If you’re travelling with wife and kids in tow, it might be better if you rent a house or apartment in town instead of trying for the institute’s hostels. This not only affords you and your significant other privacy (common baths in the basement of the institute with separation between the sexes of course) but also the necessary space when needing to discipline naughty, crying children. If you’re worried about getting lost, DON’T! Kecskemét is a very easy town to navigate compared with Beijing or New York.
It would be wise to write in to the institute’s administrator Dr Laura Kéri (affectionately known as Zita) early, state clearly your needs and allow her at least a month or more to ask around and find suitable accommodations based on your requests. A lot of work is being covered at KI with the lean staffing so do be understanding and patient if you come from a super duper fast paced city like Singapore.
Annica and I managed to get ourselves here with 3 check-in luggages (2X20kg, 1X15kg bag) and 3 carry-on bags (1 samsonite of baby supplies in overhead compartment, 1 haversack (my videocam, laptops, compositions etc.), 1 diaper bag (baby stuff), wife’s Burberry handbag not counted). It will be worthwhile to arrange for private transport from Budapest Airport to Kecskemét. Don’t try to bring more… chances are, a normal 4 seater sedan will pick you up instead of a van or container truck. The journey will take c.a. 1 hour so empty your bladders before boarding for an uninterrupted ride even though there will be restrooms along the way.
Unlike Singapore where many convenience stores and food places are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it would seem that Kecskemét is big on proper rest and family time on weekends. Most shops close by midday on Saturdays and the town centre on Sundays is close to deserted. Fortunately, there is a 4-storey Malom shopping centre where you can get Springfield, Espirit clothes, stock up on baby supplies, catch a movie. A pharmacy and supermarket can be found in the basement. There’s even a casino and bowling alley in this shopping centre. Wow!
The people are here just unbelievably friendly and patient here. In Kecskemét, I am still amazed and getting used to having cars patiently wait for jaywalking pedestrians with strollers instead of having them attempting to mow me down like back home. Hurray for civilised drivers of Kecskemét!
If you’re looking for KI and needing to ask for directions from the pretty Hungarian ladies on the street, say:
Hol van Kodály Intézet? (Where is the Kodaly Institute?)
Hol(st) Vaughan Kodály Inteyzet
Mobile Phones & Internet
Residents Card, you will need, alongside chopped photos
Sunblock for ladies!