I took a bus to what felt like the middle of nowhere and saw the abandoned statues at Memento Park. The rain poured down that day and the park felt like a pond, as I jumped from stepping stone to stepping stone. The statues were left over from the Communist era and were once in prominent places, but now they are just together at the park. I was surprised at the size of the statues, just how forceful they seemed, even in the miserable weather.

Glad to get out of the rain, I wandered around the exhibition space and read about the park, before I watched some exciting instruction videos from the secret police, on things like how to stalk people and break into people's houses. They were full of valuable advice, such as using a magnifying glass to check for any hairs that may have been placed in a door hinge by the suspect
and make sure they are replaced, so they do not know you have been in their house.

Found a Fortean Times article which describes some of the sights I saw: Budapest, Hungary.


Sep. 30th, 2010 10:26 pm
I wandered with the Danube beside me, until I reached the park, where I sat briefly looking at the Queen Erzsébet monument. I continued after that, underneath the Gellért Monument, looking up at the waterfall and the statue much higher above. I saw beautiful, yet crumbling and boarded up buildings, intricately decorated ceilings and street furniture that resembled a large die.

I reached the Gellért Baths after that, and then, the Cave Church. An interesting church carved into the rocks, originally founded by monks, who were later arrested by the secret police. I went inside and listened to to an audio tour, which talked about the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Back outside, I walked up the hills until I reached the Liberation Monument and then the citadel. Such great views of the city from up there.

Then back down and in a park, I met Buda and Pest, before reaching the Garden of Philosophy, where I was disappointed not to meet Sartre, Descartes or Plato, but instead met Jézus Krisztus, Buddha and Gandhi.

Budai Vár

Sep. 27th, 2010 08:21 pm
I saw the former Ministry of Defence building, which is full of gunshot wounds and has been left like that as a reminder of the violence of war. I also saw Mária Magdolna torony - the remaining tower of the Church of Mary Magdalene.

I wandered around the Budai Vár (Buda Castle) complex, staring up at faces, many tourists, and statues, such as the Mátyás-kút (Matthias Fountain), the Horseherd, a raven (at Corvinus Gate), and Prince Eugene of Savoy.

I searched for the Turul birds, folklore encrusted bronze birds, that at times it feels almost like the city cowers under, and I craned my neck to try to peer up at them and their big wings, sinister somehow.

Although they both sounded potentially interesting, I didn't visit the Telephone Museum (the inventor of the telephone exchange, Tivadar Puskás, was Hungarian) or the Golden Eagle Pharmacy Museum (my guidebook told me of the fascinating confusion between mumiya (bitumen) and mummies. See Mummy medicine for an explanation).
Budavári Labirintus
The rain started as I walked past the Budapest Hilton ("a heady mix of Baroque, Gothic and 20th-century tinted chic" according to one guidebook), and past a Red Hedgehog sign, so I decided to hide underground in the nearby labyrinth (Budavári Labirintus).

The prehistoric labyrinth, with strange cave paintings and darkness. Groups of teenagers, laughing. The historical labyrinth, with a shaman passage and the path of the magic deer. Atmospheric music. Odd statues. Crosses hiding in the darkness behind chains. A horse and rider that was part of the cave, merged into a pillar. Renaissance rockhall. An ivy-covered fountain with red wine pouring out. Curtains made of chains. Feeling like Indiana Jones. A large crowned head, broken, submerged.

The labyrinth of an other-world was the next section, with fragments, bits of rock, with strange imprints. Some looked a little bit like a mobile phone. I thought that was a bit strange. Then I stumbled across the imprint of a giant cola bottle and smiled. Homo Consumes. A sign explained things, such as "The vociferous prophets of an apocalypse only conceal the problem, since the end, the end of a world will not come overtly, with thundering and announcement. Nothing will invisibly snatch our world and being as a sneak-in thief."

There were contraceptive pills and door bells and other precious objects in frosted glass cases, with little signs underneath. Relics of our time. There were more objects mounted on the walls, and a pile of abandoned objects behind bars - typewriters, electric toothbrushes, random things.

After that, there was an exhibition of other labyrinths, and then I was back in daylight, confused at where I was, lost.
It was Thursday and I had arrived in Budapest the night before. Marios led me onto the metro and then to Castle Hill, and disappeared after that to a conference, so I let my guidebooks direct me from there.

I walked first to Mátyás-templom (Matthias Church) and looked up at the scaffolding and colourful tiles on the church roof, before wandering onwards to a green statue of Szent István on a horse, and then to the pretty Halászbástya (Fisherman's Bastion), where I stood amongst the conical towers and gazed out at the Danube river, the parliament building, and oh, Buda, Pest and the glowing sky.


Sep. 23rd, 2010 01:14 pm
I have returned to the UK after a holiday in Budapest, with a gas mask and some unicum as souvenirs. So much to catch up on.


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