Passing time on Earth in Budapest
Budapest is a vibrant city with an unmistakable cultural life. I can’t get the city out of my head so I hope you don’t mind me dwelling on it just a bit longer.
In Budapest, you can find everything to satisfy your mood, from classic to contemporary attractions. No way to get bored. Just get out and going:
On a sunny day, go to Heroes square (Hősök tere) and sit down at the stairs of the monumental Museum of Fine Arts, in between massive Corinthian columns topped by a sculpted tympanum.
Feel the greatness of ancient Greek architecture and look over to the neoclassic counterpart, the Palace of Art on the opposite side of the square.
If it’s rainy, proceed to the smashing interior of the museums. I recommend the Museum of Fine Arts for some unforgettable drama.
Take in some majestic splendour at the square and admire the Millennium Memorial, erected in 1900, nothing short of a king’s court.
Because Heroes Square is conveniently forming an entrance to Városliget, the oldest public park in the world, dating back to 1751, you might as well kill two birds with one stone. That’s a euphemism!!!
Take a walk through the park and contemplate about the limited time we have to do what we want, which will become very clear when you get to the Timewheel, the biggest hourglass on Earth, located right behind the Palace of Art.
Glass granules fall from the upper to the lower glass chamber for one year, before running out on New Year’s Eve, when the wheel is turned around.
Time wasn’t running out, because the hourglass was in fact broken, Tomek hadn’t aged and I was still young enough to wear pink. Phew.
Take a look around and you will see the 1956 Revolution Memorial to commemorate those who fought against the Soviet oppressors. Despite being crushed by the Red Army, the revolt eventually caused Hungary’s Kremlin-backed leaders to implement reforms.
You will be drawn towards the columns and overrun by kids playing hide and seek. See how far you can proceed until the space between the rusty beams will be too narrow for you to pass. It’s like getting an idea of your BMI.
The purpose of the monument is actually to represent national unity, as the rusty posts eventually come together and form a sharp wedge of shiny steel – a symbol of defiance against potential tyrants.
For a cultural break, take on the huge wooden seesaw.
Move on. Take a ride on the trolleybus or the Budapest Metro M2 until Kossuth square (Kossuth tér). Take some time to look at the Parliament.
It’s not Westminster Palace. Despite the cultural richness comparable to London, you don’t have to be wealthy to enjoy your time in Budapest.
Think meticulous Gothic, amazing dome, many bricks, precious stones, a lot of gold, holy crown of Hungary, huge chambers, frescos, 600 rooms, 200 offices, 30 ornamental staircases… and never ending maintenance and construction work.
Facing the Parliament is Freedom Square where you can take a walk with Reagan towards the US embassy, chatting about the ugliness of iron curtains. This Iron Curtain is located in front of the House of Terror on Andrássy útca.
Visit Imre Nagy on Martyrs’ square, standing on a bridge, a leading Hungarian politician, who fought against centralised communism and was sentenced to death for treason in 1958.
Back on Freedom square, there is the last monument of the Soviet era (which many Hungarians would rather like to see gone).
Pass the building of Magyar Televízió (Hungarian Television) with their retro logo. MTV provides three national television channels.
Further on Freedom square is the Ethnographic Museum, which you shall enter to get lost in a maze of administrative chambers, closed doors and halls to nowhere with an occasional exhibition in need of a touch up.
There is also renaissance surplus with arcades, marble columns and marble patterned floors.
Etno in da house.
The permanent exhibition focuses on the everyday life of traditional Hungarian folk. On display are a lot of artefacts and dusty costumes behind glass cabinets.
I was the only one not rushing through, in search for the exit – only to find out that you have to walk the same exhibits twice, in order to get back where you came from. Truthfully, I was the only one in there, accompanied by Tomek, who was patiently taking in my ideas on fashion.
I liked the exhibition. The folk style skirts are nice clothes, I could see myself wearing on a daily basis.
Frida Kahlo must have walked through the headdress exhibition. I liked it so much, I am now (sporadically) wearing a red hat because apart from red hats, H&M hasn’t picked up the folk trend yet.
Casual wear could definitely focus more on traditional garments.
These boots make Manolo Blahnik’s skinny stiletto heels look like stripped anorexic models of over-exposed footwear.
I learned about ethnographic secrets from around the world. This exhibition was titled ‘women’s world’.
The Museum does not only document traditional crafts but the advancements in the modernisation of applied techniques, materials and patterns.
And it exhibits culture clashes.
In Europe, the ethnographic highlights of women lie in woven rugs reflecting en vogue styles of the era, like this art nouveau shepherd.
Traditional embroidery patterns can also be sewn straight onto the skin.
That’s not all the fun at the Ethnographic Museum.
We were lucky to stumble upon the World Press Photo exhibition. Second best to the picture above, is a snapshot of what ‘real communists’ would call isn’t communism. Darkness for everyone in North Korea’s capital Pyongyang. Because communists never give up.
You can think about ideal political systems or enjoy a photo exhibition of Frank Gaudlitz, hidden in the last rooms of the Museum.
I think Gaudlitz photographed the whole cast from Borat’s adventures in ‘Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan‘.
Excellent example of elegant eclecticism.
This picture captured me with an ‘invisible’ secret, I happen to share with the woman.
The silicone strapped bra. Not only totally not invisible, therefore completely useless, it is sort of repulsively melting, curling and darkening on skin in summer, therefore totally unbearable for the eyes. High up on my fatal-teen-mistakes list.
Do you see? Well, the dress is sort of distracting.
Information overflow? Alternatively, just sit at one of Budapest’s benches, relax and let the day go by.