Budapest is a totally new experience for us so… it has been a bit exhausting. Wonderful but tiring. In Paris, Italy and Switzerland I had a chance of understanding what I was reading or what was on the menu or what someone was saying to me. Hungarian is a beautiful language and it is fun to hear the conversations happening around you but it is so different and with all the accented characters plus the additional characters… there is really no hope. In all fairness though, the people here are very kind and helpful but it can be a bit of a struggle for them and us.\n\nThere are just so many things to see… I am glad we didn’t rush through but stayed a few days more. The city is so alive… and at night too. People strolling the boulevards and streets or sitting at cafes. The Danube divides the city. Buda is on one side and Pest on the other. Pest is where our hotel is located. That portion of the city is very flat while Buda’s side is very hilly. Buda is gorgeous at night from the Pest side. Don’t get me wrong there is one city government but you may talk about each area using their historic names. We lucked out without knowing it… there is a lot of activity in Budapest this week as the city prepares for the Formula One Race that will run on Sunday. We got to see a practice or promotional event as they shut down Hero’s Square and fence it off so the racers could use its perimeters, I think the event was designed to get the locals excited about the race coming to town. Another unexpected event that was happening in Budapest was a Rembrandt print exhibition celebrating Rembrandt’s 400-yr b-day. WOW! I was totally fascinated… particularly the multiple story lines he would include in most of his images. I guess … illustratively they would be the same as a sidebar accompanying a publication’s article. In tandem with this show they curated another show that were local artists and asked them to use the Rembrandt show as to inspire their art for the show. The interactive and the video were both wonderful works. The videos were a kind to Bill Viola’s work and the interactive piece operated similarly to a periscope but as you raised or turned the LCD monitor it allowed you to see Rembrandt’s work and turned them into abstract or 3-D images. It was fun watching the viewers navigate the device. In many cases the viewers never touched the piece. Two older woman stood in front of the device reading the article describing the work but never once touching it. Another event that is running is the billboard event that is running now, too, it started the on August 3 with an open air concert. These boards are assembled and run for a couple of blocks some are replicas of actual boards that really ran… the event must have open submissions because many of the boards there are in English. It seems that there are several categories as well… ranging from art to social commentary… and political statements. I’ve included a few shots.
The most telling show that I attended was across the square at the Müsarnok Kunsthalle… when I saw the work of Dan Perjovsch a Hungarian political cartoonist… He basically entered the museum with a few Sharpies and a keen wit. It appears this new found political system and economic system that accompanies it isn’t appreciated by all. He addressed it in his work but I also was stunned by the globalization that is taking place and how quickly the major companies have moved in to Hungary with all their signage, advertising and products. Guess the whole world can enjoy the Éspirits, Pumas while dining on their KFC.
Today we went to the Ludwig Contemporary Museum of Art… a huge Walker. There was one exhibit that we both enjoyed… a photographic essay by ten photographers each assigned a new member of the European Market. Wonderful show… each interpreted the assignment differently. Powerful show… if you have a moment check it out on the web. Then we went to the Terror Museum… DEPRESSING! The museum was dedicated to Hungary’s recent history from the 1930’s until 1991 when the last of the Soviets left. It was so hard to see what people can do to one another. The museum was the actual building that so many people gave up their lives. Many might have been guilty for fighting against the Nazis or the resisting the government or the Soviets but it came through clearly that many weren’t involved and were taken and disappeared strictly to terrorize the citizens. One of the hardest aspects for me to understand is that the building was in a very upper-class area and neighborhood. So this torture was going on … it in the Hungarians’ midst.
All in all the food was good, the people wonderful, the hotel comfortable, the weather cloudy and rained a bit but the Budapest portion of the trip was great. Tomorrow will pack again and are off to Praha, which is Prague. We are looking forward to seeing it. The folks we have ran it at restaurants and at Budapest’s mineral bathes say we will enjoy our stay. It will be only a 6-hour train trip.\nWe are tiring and will not go to Vienna … straight to Prague. We’ll be there five days.