Having already decided that I will be returning to Budapest, my pace has slowed to one of strolling and pure enjoyment in every site I see. Heading towards that Museum of Terror I take a new direction away from my hotel. Attention to detail is evident in everything. From front doors carved and crafted of massive pieces of wood to ironwork; the ironwork is arduously crafted. From accordion gates which provide security with details over the top, to balconies in courtyards and window grates encasing gorgeous giant red geraniums, craftsmanship prevails.
Public places are everywhere, statues abound. New plantings are popping up all over the city. You can see some public workers that I caught in the act of pretty-fying a square near the hotel.
More commentary on that public transportation; the trams are painted bright and vibrant modern colors. Even though the entire public transit system works primarily on the honor system; if you are caught without a ticket, as in the case of this redhead, they take it very seriously. See the metro employee, backed up by 2 policeman, demanding a fine to be paid on the spot from the common criminal riding without a ticket.
As I stroll the streets and boulavards, popping in and out of the gorgeous courtyards found inside each of these buildings, I come across the Hungarian equivalent of the dollar store; low and behold "The One Euro Market". I entered hoping to find a birthday card for my uncle Art. Asking the clerk for help she accompanied me to the greeting card department. There she assisted me looking for a Hungarian birthday card, to no avail. Every single birthday card in the entire shop was in English, what a hoot!
The official currency of Hungary is the forint, 1000 forint equals approximately $4.52. Due to the fact that so many people from the European Union visit here they also readily accept the euro. Everyone here is completely engaging, helpful, and interested in life and happiness.
I stopped in a Turkish Café where I stumble upon a group of young girls smoking the hookah pipe. I have the opportunity to chat with them and lingered for about 20 minutes enjoying their company. The tasty snack I purchased from the happy worker was a creamy custard with a caramelized sauce, much like flan.
The Hungarians are very poorly paid
people. They make about €400 a month; about 500 or so American dollars, forcing most of them to work at least two jobs to sustain any type of living standard. While the prices appear outrageously reasonable to Europeans and the Americans, it just makes living bearable for the Hungarians.
Walking down the boulevard I noticed beautiful young woman on the scooter, see the photo, who was face timing on her phone, albeit sitting still on the sidewalk; she was a picture of chic and sporty at the same time.
Lemon cake, Marlenka, with an espresso delightfully devoured just before arriving at the Museum Terror.
The Museum of Terror is indeed horrific. The audio guide allows you to pace yourself through the historical account of the oppression of the Hungarians. The Moors, the Habsburgs, the Nazis and the Communists all persecuted these people; centuries of oppression. The final segment of the museum, in the basement, consists of prison cells where many Hungarians were tortured with various and undescribably horrible atrocities.
May we never forget the pain they suffered and may these horrific acts against humanity never be repeated.
Next stop, New York café, the fanciest coffee
shop in the world. I must say there is no exaggeration to that claim to fame. Everything about this establishment is practically beyond belief. Chandeliers too numerous to count adorned the ceilings, as do beautiful paintings and gilded, carved wood working. Piano music playing softly in the balcony and attentive waitstaff all dressed in embroidered uniform go about serving with style and grace. I made acquaintance with a man, Yvan Dureuil, and his young son. Yvan, a dance instructor / teacher who lives in Paris is here to help the Hungarian ballet perfect certain dance techniques that the Holland ballet has used and become acclaimed for. I was fortunate to be invited to attend the ballet dress rehearsal that evening. I enthusiastically agreed.
We parted agreeing to meet just before the performance. I decided to relax in this beautiful setting and climbed the stairs to a gorgeous lobby filled with about 30 dozen pink and red roses in an outstanding floral arrangement. Once again I encounter a Yvan, we recline on the gorgeous couches and have a bit of a philosophical discussion, then decide to take a leisurely stroll towards the ballet.
We entered to the stage door
and Yvan's young son accompanied me, showing me the stage where the dancers were preparing for the performance, taping their feet and stretching. We then entered the performance hall, and as the orchestra began to tune their instruments selected our seats.
The first half of the performance was traditional ballet; beautiful graceful, featuring bodies of perfect muscular definition and athleticism. The icing on the cake, the whimsical, wonderful, completely unique number that was artistically and enthusiastically performed by the troupe after the intermission. Oh my! What an absolutely delightful afternoon and evening here in Budapest.
Parting ways with my new friends I head off to the Danube River for an evening sightseeing Cruise. Arriving at the dock at about 9:30 the entire city is lit by the Full Moon and a clear and gorgeous sky. There is a dock near my hotel and reluctantly I leave the dock about 11 o'clock and head back to the room for a good night's sleep. My dreams are full of beautiful thoughts of the day and the whimsical performance and the anticipation of my plan for tomorrow a visit to the Gellert Baths.
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