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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Downtown to Pest again

Yet another exercise-filled day. We took a cab to the day-trip pier area and hung around there, looking at the Duna, the other sights and the people, until it was time to get on our boat. We had thought we'd go up to Margaret Island (think Central Park) and wander around but it was both hot and raining, so we didn't get off there. But we took even more pictures, and it was on this ride that the camera somehow cleared up. We still have no idea why, and sometimes it reverted to blurry, but we never figured it out. Possibly because I never felt like looking at the directions. Now Joyce wants a new camera, but really, one of us ought to look at the instructions first. One of these days.

Anyway, here is a suddenly clear picture. Can you see the building in the middle? Remember it? Of course you do!

When we got off the boat we took a taxi straight up to the Basilica of Szent Istvan, wandered in and out, and then went out in what might be called "Old Town" and wandered around some more. As I said, Hungary is very old, and they have so many layers of history, it makes your head spin. So in no particular order, we saw:

1. The memorials for the failed 1956 revolution.

They have marked the bullet holes from weapons fired from above and behind where I am standing (see my arm), and killed a whole lot of people right there. Instead of covering it or repairing it, they leave it as a reminder.

A hero of the 1956 revolution, Imre Nagy. He's shown halfway across a bridge because he was executed after leading the 1956 revolution. In effect he is saying, "I have brought you this far; you must go the rest of the way yourselves." And in 1989, they did.

They have a lot of cool modern statues over there. Here's a link to a different angle.,_Budapest,_facing_Parliament.jpg

2. Parliament

This is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, and I think the third largest parliament in the world, after the US Capitol and Westminster. It's the result of an architectural contest. The first and second runners-up got to design a couple of other government buildings across the street. This thing is so grand we mistook it for a church at first.

Although you can't see it well, they fly a Hungarian flag (on the left) with the Soviet crest cut out of it, something they did in in the 1956 revolution. When it flies straight out, the hole is clearly visible.

3. Szent Istvan, or St Stephen, the Basilica.

They have his hand somewhere inside. You know, a relic. We didn't see it.

4. More statues

5. More palaces

6. More architecture

7. Gerbaud's Cafe and Restaurant. Well, we finished there and then took a cab back. The rest is just in order of the pictures you see above.

We don't have a picture of us, but here's the link.

We actually ate in their outdoor cafe, and got some of their ice cream, as in gelato, after. Gelato is the most available ice cream all over Europe. Eat it while you're there, and fuck your diet if you're on one. They don't have flavors like that back here.

And here is another cafe on the same street, of which it amused Joyce to take a picture. No comment.

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