As many of our friends and family know, we are considering home improvement in Budapest. We will rent an apartment for our first year, but do plan to buy something we can renovate in the future. My husband, Andrew, is passionate about building and renovating. Today’s visit to the “Hungarian Home Depot” or OBI (as its actually named) was to purchase some extension cords and power bars to run our LED Christmas lights. For those of you that know us best, this should hardly come as a surprise.
The first step’s a doozy…
Our journey south alongside the Danube was fraught with danger. While simply crossing the street outside our front door, I tripped on the curb and did a full ninja body roll onto the sidewalk pavement on the other side. The good news? 1. I did not land in dog shit. 2. I did not land in a puddle. 3. I had leather gloves on that prevented any road rash. 4. My wool winter coat also assisted in cushioning my landing. The bad news? I think I took 5 years off my husband’s life due to panic.
Once I dusted myself off, we continued on southward on the number 2 streetcar. Unfortunately, even though we used our awesome BKK transit app, we still got off at the wrong stop. After ten minutes of wondering around looking puzzled, we got back on the streetcar at the same stop and continued on to OBI.
Welcome to Home Improvement Paradise
OBI is in fact what we expected it to be – the Hungarian version of Home Depot (complete with orange signage). However, unlike our North American Home Depots, OPI divides up its home improvement goods over two massive floors. Andrew did a quick inspection of the main floor tool section, and then we headed upstairs to the electrical department to look for what we needed. No less than two people offered us help. And even more surprisingly, I could actually understand that they were offering it. Perhaps they do have English speaking staff, but we muddled through pretty easily in Hungarian. I suspect if we were after something more elusive, this could get way more complicated.
We selected one power bar with surge protection and one extension cord. This cost us a total of $2392 forints (about $11.92 CAN). While it is possible to get cheaper versions of both, we will take these with us from our temporary accommodation and wanted to make sure they would last beyond Christmas. Furthermore, we didn’t need to go all the way to OBI for these items – they could have been purchased down the street. However, we wanted to see what OBI had to offer in terms of general home improvement and renovation supplies. From our current location in district 9, the journey took less then 20 minutes.
By the time we completed our exploration and purchase, it was time for lunch. We headed back on the number 2 streetcar and ate lunch overlooking the Danube. My lunch was awesome. I randomly choose the “Lunch Menu” that was only listed in Hungarian so I wasn’t really sure what I was going to get. Andrew choose a burger that was a fail.
Tomorrow we begin our apartment search with the assistance of Inter Relocation. Wish us luck!