Monday, March 19, 2007

the 3 terrors & pest

Sunday in Euorope is always a gamble. Usually next to nothing is open. The strategy is in choosing where you"ll be stuck on a Sunday. For us, it's what turned out to be our only real day in Budapest. We planned to start off with the "daily" tour of the Hungarian Parliament. Apparently, we learned that Sunday must not count as a day, as we found it to be closed. Who knew?

We decided to take the bus out to Statue Park (Szobobor Park), which was a park that displayed and preserved in one location all of the statues which had been located in public squares throughout Hungary during their time under Communist rule. My mom kept calling it Commie Park. The statues were fascinating and the gift shop a trip. I got a coffee mug with a pic of Lenin in the middle of a modified Starbucks logo. The other side says "I'm from the old school. I like my coffee black and my communism red". My mom bought a poster which had the 3 terrors instead of the 3 tenors (the terrors being Lenin, Stalin, and Mao).

We went back into the city center and went over to St. Stephen's Basilica. It was really beautiful, with an ornate gold ceiling and the most exquisite rose-colored. marble. I don't know that I've ever seen marble in that shade. The relic unique to the basilica was the mummified forearm of Saint Stephen, which I found simultaneously intruguing and creepy.

We then found our way over to Vaci Uta, one of the main streets, which is also a bit toutisty side. Our guess was it would be more likely to have things that were open. We had lunch at Cellar Central, where we had some of their traditional Hungarian goulash (chicken though, not beef). We walked on down to the Central Market Hall, still a bit bitter we wouldn't get to go. Seems like Sunday should be a logical time for people to go to the market, but perhaps no.

We took the metro over to the train station to check on our tickets for today. I'd joked about the metro system reminding me of Lisbon, where it seemed that you could have easily ridden for free since no one seemed to be monitoring things. When I was in Portugal, I don't think we had any concept of the stiff penalties we would face if caught. Well, I came face-to-face with the metro Nazis here. Yes, ticket in hand. Nyah!

Getting back to the hotel was another adventure, too long to explain. Tired, we opted to stroll back to Grand Cafe Oktogon for dinner.

Sitting in our nice train car here in Budapest, it's off to Vienna. I'm ready for the change, although I wish the currency change did not accompany. Here, the practice has been to drop two zeroes and divide by two. Translation? Good price... and now we're sadly going to the land o' Euros. More expensive, but looking forward to seeing Austria. Hope those hills are still alive...

Grand Café Oktogon, VI Teréz körút 23

Radisson SAS Beke Hotel
Terez Korut 43, Budapest 1067

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile



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