A little less hot...

Budapest Travel Blog

 › entry 13 of 40 › view all entries
The inside of "the House of Terror.." We weren't allowed to take any more pictures.

Today Ev and I woke up bright eyed and bushy-tailed to have a day filled with Hungarian/Nazi/Soviet history.  It hasn't quite worked out that way so far, but the day is still young.  Only 6PM and Ev is determined to make it to Statue Park. 

Originally, the plan was to go to the Terror Museum, then walk to Statue Park, and then finish it off with a Revolution walking tour of Budapest.  We got to the Terror Museum just after 10 AM, just after they opened.  (First stopping at McDonalds for breakfast... I know... I know... I felt horrible... It's weird that there's more American fast food here in Budapest than anywhere else we've been put together.

A pretty cool cherub statue with spikes coming out of him all over (they're there to keep of the pigeons, but i think they add something to it)
  There are McDonalds about  every 5-10 blocks as well as Burger Kings, Pizza Huts, and Subways.  I think Marlboro is the #1 brand of cigarettes too.  Anyways...time to get out of parenthesis..)  I didn't know what to expect at the Terror Museum as I know very little about Soviet history post-Romonov and know even less about life in the Iron Curtain.  We splurged on the audio tour (which ended up being unnecessary as there were written tour notes in English in each room... ah well...) and all together it was about 5000 forints...or about 20 dollars.  Well worth it and it took about 2 hours or so to get through. 

The tour covered three stories of this building that was actually used as a torture prison during both the Nazi and Soviet era of occupation.

Kalin wondering how long the wine has been in the fountain (a fountain filled with wine!!!!)
  Creepy.  The top floor was an overview of how Hungary was slowly enveloped by overpowering regimes and Nazi occupation.  Hungary actually lasted longer as an independant state than I thought.  Then the Soviets later took over Hungary and the country was used as a battleground for the Soviets and Nazis to fight each other.  When the Soviets controlled Hungary (and the other Iron Curtain States), they would try to make each country "pure" (I guess one could call it that) and deported people from Hungary that had Czech blood to Czech and vice versa, depriving people of all they knew and forced them into a country they did not understand both culturally and with respect to language.  And then, y'know, there was the torture of people who did not cheer loud enough at rallys, work hard enough at State jobs, and so on...  It really did feel like Big Brother (although I think that was the point...) and it was terrible. 

The thing that got to me the most (actually got a little verklempt!) was at the end after the reconstruction of the prison/torture cells there was a video.  In this video there was an interview with an old Hungarian man that was there during the Revolution in the 50s.  There was a gathering in a cinema and he was giving a speech about how the Hungarians were not going to lay down and take it anymore, that they were a proud people, etc.  A young Russian soldier that was in the audience left the theatre to cry.  He begged the man and the people there to kill him because he couldn't leave this place and keep doing what he was ordered to do.  The people in the cinema suggested that he hide in the kitchen for a while, but they would not kill him.  Later, there was a Russian tank in the main square in Budapest.  It had killed about 40 people before it stopped.  The tank would wait until people ran out to grab the dead and wounded and then kill them.  The man in the video ran out and dragged a wounded man and pulled him back to the bush.  A young woman told him to get another and she would stay with the dying man.  He ran out again and heard a loud blast.  He thought he was dead for sure.  But he was fine.  He dragged the other man back to relative safety and heard the cried of "kaput!" as the tank had exploded.  The Hungarians ran out to the square and reclaimed their people and had won this battle.  The man later found out that the young Russian from the cinema  had grabbed a granade, made his way into the tank, and detonated it with himself inside.  The man was near tears in the video and he called the young man their hero. 

Anyways... when Ev and I were done with that museum we took a break on a bench outside and collected ourselves.  We decided to head toward Statue Park (a park that holds all the Soviet statues that used to stand all over the city) and to a resturant called Fatal that was recommended highly in one of our travel books.  It was good, but not as good as my roasted bird from the fancy day before.  :)  We walked across the river and decided to reconsult our maps to see where to walk....only to find out it wasn't just a smidge off the map like it appeared....but actually about a 3 hour walk off the map.  ARGH!  So we decided to walk back to the internet cafe that we're at right now and find out if it's worth it to go find it. 

I think we're going to come back to Budapest after Eger for two nights to check some more things out.  I wasn't so sure about this place when I first got here, but I think I really love it.  It's a bit more dirty and tarnished than the other super polished towns we've been to like London, Paris, and anywhere in Switzerland...but it has charm and charisma and...a kind of fighting spirit that I love.  The drivers are more terifying than anywhere else... we even saw a car accident (I'm surprised we saw only one...) and there is grafitti everywhere and poor sick gypsy women begging for change...but I like it.  It seems real.  There are old and new cars as opposed to the brand new everything in London and Paris.  People have a genuinely good time here and when you consider what they've been through so recently (I think they said the last POW from the Soviet era was returned in only 2000 and the last Soviet soldier only left about 10 years ago) they had recovered with a fighting spirit that is so awesome... 

I don't know if we'll ever be back here (I hope so, but you never know...) but I really encourage anyone to come here and spend some time here.  I think you need at least 4-5 nights here to see it at all.  The 3 nights we have aren't enough, so we'll be back...  But tomorrow we're off to Eger, 2 hours to the northeast to check out the Aggletek caves (another three hours northeast from Eger) and to sample (or, over indulge as the case probably will be) what is supposed to be the best red wine in all of Eastern Europe. 

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
The inside of the House of Terror…
The inside of "the House of Terro…
A pretty cool cherub statue with s…
A pretty cool cherub statue with …
Kalin wondering how long the wine …
Kalin wondering how long the wine…
Budapest
photo by: Chokk