Friday, July 2, 1993

1993 Hungary: Pest (7/2/1993)

Friday, July 2, 1993
The alarm woke me up at 8:00, and I readied and breakfasted to go downstairs by 9:00 to meet the physical therapist Nelson C. He explained his background, as we walked over to Október 6. utca to try to find Anna Dévény’s basement therapy clinic. We tried several doorways into courtyards, and finally Nelson called them to find how to get in. Anna Dévény was not available, but an administrative assistant brought us into an office to explain the history, approach (manual and rhythmic gymnastics) and the need for money. Although the woman could speak some English, she spoke in Hungarian and Nelson had to translate. We peeked in on a treatment, and got some specific information from a therapist. We were taken upstairs to a dance studio type room to watch a video. Everything was a brief overview of the Dévény Special Manual Technique & Gymnastics Method for cerebral palsy. We left about 11:30, so I had a couple hours of business-related learning and consultation to make my trip to Hungary a business expense.
Back at the Ls’ apartment, Kent and Brynne were playing games and Dot was doing our laundry. Once Kent’s pants were dry, we left to walk over to the train station, where one wing was turned into a McDonald’s.
Nyugati Pályaudvar/West Railway Station
West Railway Station wing with McDonald's
Inside McDonald's
It was multi-level with chandeliers and a painted ceiling. Brynne said it looked like a church. Brynne had a hamburger, fries and a chocolate shake, and we had McChickens with Cokes.
Flag from McDonald's
Telephone booth
Billboard for Vendizz/Wendy's
At about 14:00 we found our way to Andrássy út/Andrássy Road, the Champs Élysées of Budapest, which was a tree-lined avenue and you could not see the end. Found a Metro entrance marked with the terminal ends of that line. The ticket validating machines were not working on the train, and the walls of the train had holes. We got off at Hősök tere/Heroes Square, with its Millenáriumi Emlékmű/Millennium Monument erected in 1896 to celebrate the 1,000th anniversary of Hungarian settlement. It was designed by Albert Schickedanz with sculptures by György Zala. And it took until 1929 to complete.
Hősök tere/Heroes' Square
As it is, the millennium celebration was a year late, as the Magyar Conquest was in 895. In the center of the monument is a statue of the Archangel Gabriel holding the Hungarian Holy Crown and an apostolic double cross. On the pedestal are the Seven Chieftains who led the tribes in conquest of the lands that is presently Hungary. The colonnade had two semi-circles. In the center are statues representing War and Peace. On the left are Work and Welfare, and on the right are Knowledge and Glory. There is a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was also in Hősök tere that the subway opened in 1896, the first in continental Europe.
View of Városliget/City Park
We walked across a bridge and to the right to Vajdahunyad vára/Vajdahunyad Castle, partly modelled on the Transylvania castle of that name.
Vajdahunyad vára/Vajdahunyad Castle
It was built in 1904, designed by architect Ignác Alpá to feature copies of several landmark buildings from different parts of Hungary and was originally made of wood and cardboard in 1896. It was so popular that it was made permanent from stone and brick in 1904-1908. There is a mixture of Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque and Transitional styles. Bizarre but delightful.
Romanesque chapel of Vajdahunyad Castle
Romanesque chapel (PBB)
Passed the Romanesque chapel where a newly married couple was escorted out by a priest.
We went into the Agricultural Museum for 50 Forints/adult and 30 Forints for Brynne, and were sidetracked by all the outdoor exhibits with animals including horses, plows, insects, etc. We saw the statue (1903) of Anonymous, the first Hungarian chronicler of King Béla III. His identity is disputed by scholars, so sculptor Miklós Ligeti gave him a hood.
Fővárosi Állatkert/Budapest Zoo ticket
We crossed the park to the Fővárosi Állatkert/Budapest Zoo, paying admission of 100 Forints/adult and 40 Forints/child. First thing we saw were the flamingos, just like in Rhode Island! Monkeys, small mammals, dogs, wolves, foxes, puma, black panthers, jaguars, leopard, tigers, grizzly bears, Russian bears, brown bears, giraffes, camels, and a petting zoo with goats and llamas.
Tamiko and Brynne with a llama (KSS)
The Elephant House
The elephant house was closed, hippo family with a baby, Hungarian cattle, kangaroos, pelicans, heard and saw donkeys, anteaters that were smelly, baboons and mandrills.
Kent and Brynne with the camels
Camels (PBB)
Two-humped Camelus bactrianus/Bactrian Camel
Hippopotami (PBB)
Baby Hippopotamus amphibius
From the signs, we started picking up Hungarian words, like nagy (big), kis (small), kutya (dog). Well, túzok családis (bustard family)!
Zoo wrought-iron fence
We left the zoo and in the City Park we went to a játszótér/playground, passing trampolines, and a soccer cage where kids played basketball.
So-called basketball court
We were getting hot and tired. Took the Metro to Szent István Bazilika/St Stephen’s Basilica. We walked around the dirty crumbling structure to the front. Entered the largest church in the city with a 96 m/315’ high dome. It is called a basilica for its rank and not its shape. Construction began in 1851 on the design of József Hild. When he died, the project was taken over by Miklós Ybl (who later designed the opera house). Ybl studied the original plans and discovered where cracks in the walls would develop. He had a fence built and guards stationed to keep people out. Eight days later in January 1868, the dome fell in! He made plans for a new cathedral, and then he died in 1891. The basilica was completed in 1906 by József Kauser. Emperor Franz Joseph spoke at the opening ceremony. There is a statue of St Stephen behind the main altar and over the entrance. He was the last Grand Prince of Hungarians and the first King of Hungary, a title confirmed by the Pope. The Holy Right Hand of St Stephen is the most revered relic of the Hungarian Catholic Church. It is kept in an ornate case that is now hidden to the left of the altar. The basilica was closed when we arrived.
Brynne-sized auto (Fiat 126)
Deteriorating building with possible bullet holes
We walked down one of the renamed streets, with the old name marked with a red ‘X’.
Renamed street
MTV Headquarters
We passed the US Embassy and the Soviet War Memorial,
United States Embassy to the left, Soviet War Memorial to the right
and then Parliament, which is said to look like a Turkish bath crossed with a Gothic chapel. There are many, many spires. It was built over 17 years from 1885-1902, designed by Imre Steindl. He died before the building was put into use.
Hasbro sold at this toy store
We returned to the Ls’ apartment for drinks and fruit, and a nap for Brynne. Tom was home early at 19:00. We drove to the Karpatia Restaurant where we had reservations. We were seated in an ornately painted room, with gypsy musicians. Tom, Dot and Kent had Pilsener Urquell beer (Hungarian), I had water, and juice for Brynne. We tried the fruit soup (cherries in their juice mixed with sour cream?), a summer delicacy. Had a milder goulash soup. There was also goose liver and a salad made of potatoes, peas, and carrots with mayo. The entrées were veal fricassée with gnocchi in a nice rich sauce with mushrooms galore, and pork medallions done Hungarian style, in a rich red sauce with potato slices, onions, and tomatoes. Very good. Tom and Kent had espressos and we all shared somlói, a steamed sponge cake topped with a mountain of whipped cream and chocolate sauce. We had meant to treat the Ls to dinner, but they insisted on paying. We tipped the musicians 300 Forints. There were many tourists here. We left about 22:00 to return to the car and drive home. Tom was able to confirm our airline reservations for Tuesday.
Next: Farm Country.

No comments: