Day 2 in Budapest: Wolves, Boars and Way Too Many Art Lovers
Budapest Travel Blog› entry 10 of 11 › view all entries
The next day, after another walk on the waterfront, Michelle and I went to heroes' square. While we were admiring the semi-circle of angry mustached statues of Hungarian statesmen that guarded the monument, I told Michelle about my Mama's theory that Hungarians are descendants of Chinese people. See, my mom is convinced that everything was invented by chinese people -- spaghetti, the story of Cinderella, ketchup, the printing press -- you name it, we invented it. Her list of things that Chinese people invented also includes the entire Hungarian civilization, because she once read an article that said the Magyar people might be descendants of a rogue tribe of Chinese horsemen that forged their way West through the plains.
Michelle: These dudes don't look Chinese at all
Me: Actually, that one kinda looks like my dad.
Next, we walked further into the park, where there was a ice skating rink next to a small castle. Vajdahunyad Castle is a replica of a bigger castle in Romania, and is made up of several structures in different artitechtural styles, including the beautiful museum of agriculture. Not that we weren't interested in Hungarian agriculture, but we didn't go in. Next to the skating rink, someone was selling wolf pelts. wolves are very soft if they aren't biting you.
The Szechenyi Thermal Bath is also a really pretty building that borders the park. We were convinced that it was something important because the building was so nice, but we couldn't figure out what it was. Someone told us it was "for health", so we left thinking it was a really pretty doctor's office.
The museum of fine arts was advertising a Van Gogh exhibit, so we decided to go in. To our surprise, it seemed that everyone and their mother in Hungary also decided to see the Van Goghs. I guess Hungary really loves post-impressionist art. That or there's just not much else to do in Budapest in winter.
The line into the exhibit was queued down a hallway, as they were only letting in little groups of people at a time. When we got to the entrance, we had to go through this little airtight chamber before entering the exhibit. It was packed, shoulder to shoulder in some areas, full of people and each little Van Gogh painting and sketch was crowded around like the Mona Lisa.
The rest of the museum was rather empty and contained some great peices, including a good collection of El Grecos. The main room is a really pretty arched hall lined with early Renaissance / late medieval paintings.
We had seen signs for a display of old Soviet era statues in the park, but it was getting late out and we didn't get a chance to see it. Despite the fact that there were no turnstyles, we actually bought single ride tickets and headed home on the train.
And that's when the transportation gestapo finally caught up to us. Turns out, you're supposed to buy another ticket when you transfer trains, or so they said. They demanded $20. I call them the transportation gestapo because that's what they reminded us of, with their big coats, badges and angry faces, suddenly storming out and demanding "tickets!" in that "papers, please!" tone of voice.
Michelle actually had no money, and I pretended I had no money until they threatened to take our passports. I had to fork over my hidden $20, which ironically meant we had no money to buy tickets on the bus back to our hotel. Luckily, we weren't stopped again.
Before we went back, we decided to get dinner. We found a nice restaurant near the river by the Elizabeth Bridge, the bridge that led across the river and up to our hotel on the Buda side of town. I got a plate of Wild Boar, which dissapointingly tasted like Denty Moore, and a really yummy dumpling soup.