Budapest / Szentendre : Cast Your Art, Communism & The Calm by the Bend in the River
Budapest Travel Blog› entry 184 of 268 › view all entries
HmmmâŠ okay, so as part of my self-inflicted budget penitence Iâm having fairly frugal food for dinner in Budapest. Last nights haute cuisine consisted of bread sold by the hunk, 1 Activia peach yogurt and some can of amalgamous soup gunk chosen purely by virtue of the weirdness of its name; a heated tin of the tongue-bendingly entitled âBurgonyagombĂłcokkalâ from the somewhat appropriately named âGlobusâ company. Mysterious, flavoursome and linguistically tantalising. Ingredients included IvĂłvĂz, MarharhĂșs, BurgonyagambĂłc, Zsemlemorzsa, BĂșzalizst, KonyhasĂł, Paradicsom, FĂŒszerek, SzĂnezĂ©k, FĂŒstĂ¶lt and TejfĂ¶ll if that helps? âPhewf!â of all the European languages Iâve come across Hungarian has to be the screwiest! Dâya think you could knock that recipe together in LA Alice? ;)
So some more time in the city thatâs so fine they made two bits of it.
Straight up, if youâre not a die hard Communist Iconography nut you are likely to be slightly disappointed by Memento Park for the price. Donât get me wrong itâs an interesting enough way to kill 40 minutes or so.
Thereâs an amusing cinema film of real Communist era, formerly top secret âHow to be a spyâ instructional videos and also a small, eye-damagingly low-lit exhibition about Hungaryâs enforced flirtation with Communism through the powerful 1956 Hungarian (counter-Communist) Revolution to the creation of the âliberatedâ Hungarian republic proclaimed 23rd October 1989, approximately 2 weeks prior to demolition of the Berlin Wall commenced and 2 months ahead of the assassination of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu on Christmas Day of that year in neighbouring Romania.
I am particularly amused by the following reference to the putting down of the workers demonstration in 1956 as âthe revoltâ having been âruthlessly squelched by Communist authoritiesâ.
Szentendre (St.Andrews) is a great contrast to all this historical turmoil. A perfectly charming little village/ town that sits half asleep and replete with all the trappings of provincial quaintness on one of the last significant bends in the Danube ahead of its entry to Budapest.
A destination possessed of great tranquillity and I find it a perfect pause from the relative (although not pronounced) throb and throng of Budapest.
There is so much to see and do in Budapest and thereâs no need to pay for ingress into the sites in order to be satisfied. The Parliament Building by day and by night. Europeâs largest. Stroll into the vaulted foyer entrance of the SzĂ©chenyi Thermal Baths that sit at the edge of pleasant Peopleâs Park and admire the modern but stunningly executed mosaic dĂ©cor high above your head.
But for me, for now, itâs back to SzĂ©chenyi IĂĄnchĂd, better known as the Chain Bridge to throw my legs over the stone bank of the Pest side of the Danube and read and people watch and stare at Buda Castle as the sun slides westwards and down throwing a beautiful blazing golden finger of spangling light across the waters surface flowing just 4 feet beneath the worn out soles of my shoes that seems to point directly at me, touching my toes with glitter.
Itâs âWorld Music Dayâ here at the âNyĂĄr a LĂĄnchĂdonâ Budapest Summer Festival and everyoneâs chewing on giant sausages that flounder in mega-globs of mustard (including me), licking ice creams and yes, drinking beer from which I am prohibited [ see yesterdays entry for explanation ] whilst we await tonightâs headline act. The rather funkily named Chango Boogie. Dusk blossoms, its colours soon breaking down to night as a pink winged Unicorn flies across the skiesâŠ well okay, it was a childâs helium balloon so shaped. Strolling along the Chain Bridge earlier this morning, wincing at the grafitti tags that not even this structure is safe from in Budapest one sticker had proclaimed 'Cast Your Art' an idea which I liked.
[ Memento Park : There are a couple of means of getting there but the simplest is the follows. A return coach (2 hour round trip) is put on by the park twice a day in high season (July - Aug) at 11.00 and 15.00 departing from the Memento Park marked stand (where other tour buses congregate too) on the South side of ErzsĂ©bet tĂ©r (Elizabeth Square) by DĂ©ak TĂ©r metro station.
Szentendre : The train between Budapest and end-of-the-line Szentendre runs back and forth with great regularity all day and a return ticket can be purchased for 1,100 Hungarian Forint (ÂŁ3.50). The local train line runs from the Buda side of the Danube and the easiest station to point to and start from is âMargit HĂdâ which sits literally underneath the Buda ( or West ) end of the Margit HĂd bridge - the first bridge North of the famous Chain Bridge ]