Montag, 14. Januar 2008
The Schengen-Feeling
A couple of weeks ago, more EU countries joined the Schengen contract. My favorite American and I checked out what it feels like to walk over to Hungary. We used the tiny border-crossing between Mörbisch and Fertörakos at Lake Neusiedl. The border is open 7/24 now. Still just for bikes and pedestrians, though.

Memorial. (novala)

I certainly will never forget 1989, when the Iron Curtain finally opened.

Memorial stone. (novala)

A lot of people crossed the border between Fertörakos and Mörbisch to reach freedom.

Country road and horse carriage. (novala)

The small road on the Hungarian side leads along a mining area. You get a nice view over Lake Neusiedl and its reed belt.

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Donnerstag, 26. April 2007
Babuschkas in Budapest
Babuschka. (novala)

According to Mr. Austria you also get them in Vienna. Naschmarkt, I think, it was.

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Mittwoch, 25. April 2007
Budapest - Privately Owned Appartment
Budapest, house. (novala)

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Dienstag, 24. April 2007
Statue Park: Finally been there and done it
1,5 years ago I took an intensive tour of Buda trying to find an open road to the famous sculpture park where you can see old communist public art. I now finally made it.

Szoborpark. (novala)
Click to see panorama: pan_skulpturenpark_xl (jpg, 58 KB)

Because everything has been written already, I am going to show you a small selection of pictures. We took zillions.

Szoborpark. (novala)

Szoborpark. (novala)

Szoborpark. (novala)

Szoborpark. (novala)

Szoborpark. (novala)

Szoborpark. (novala)

Szoborpark. (novala)

Szoborpark. (novala)

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Montag, 23. April 2007
Budapest: The Critical Mass 2007
"We can leave the car here on Andrassy Street. That's a good place. Let's walk up to the castle. The weather couldn't be any better and the view will be rewarding", I happily recommended a not too long walk to Mr. Austria.

Parliament. (novala)
Click to enlarge panorama pic of the quai in front of the parliament: pan_parlament3_xl (jpg, 136 KB)

"Look, there is a bike race (on the shore in front of the parliament)", Miss Germany aka the sports expert said.
"Too slow for a bike race", Mr. Austria answered (and he knows), "that looks more like a critical mass."
"A whut?"
"A critical mass."

Sticker Critical Mass. (novala) Sticker Critical Mass. (novala)

That's when a single person can't prove that he/she makes a difference and therefore has to show up with 50.000 others. That's what happened on Earth Day in Budapest on April 22nd. One person on a bicycle is a single grain of sand on the asphalt. 50.000 make a beach.

Critical Mass. (novala)
The critical mass made it through the tunnel underneath the castle. Samba dancers and a drum ensemble made the air vibrate.

Sticker Critical Mass. (novala)

Piano player. (novala)

In the middle of who-knows-how-many-people he played the piano and was so sepia.

Andrassy Street. (novala)

The queue did not stop. There simply was no end. It was intoxicating, but there was one minor problem: Andrassy Street. They were riding their bikes, skaters, skooters, tricycles, unicycles through Andrassy Street, the perfect place to park your car ...

Well, it's good to take a rest before you drive 250 km, isn't it? 50.000 people and they were less noisy than the car traffic.

Weblog Critical Mass Hungary [English, Hungarian]
Videos and the piano man on YouTube

Website Critical Mass Austria [German]

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Sonntag, 22. April 2007
City With B: Budapest
Always worth the trip: Budapest (not Bucharest) on a sunny day.

Budapest, Parliament. (novala)

Budapest. (novala)

Budapest. (novala)

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Montag, 31. Oktober 2005
Desperately Seeking Statue Park
"You take this bridge and then turn left", the Hungarian girl said and points to the right.
"It's in Moscow?"
"Never mind. Just kidding."

For approximately two hours I tried to find an open street to get to the Statue Park in Budapest. "By car, taking the feeder road to the M1, M7 motorways, turn off at the Budaörsi function to road number 7. The Statue Park is 7 km away", the website tells me.

It probably still is 7 km away from Budaörsi and I was to Budaörsi and everywhere around the road number 7 yesterday. The problem is that the road number 7 is closed and even ignoring the round white traffic sign with the red circle did not help. I tried it from every direction - no way. And no signs. Or maybe there were some, but missed my conscience due to a lack of Hungarian language skills. Or maybe I should have taken a map with me.

Statue. (Szoborpark)

So all I can show you know are pictures from the website of Szoborpark - the Statue Park. Still impressive enough.

After the fall of the Iron Curtain the statues were removed from Budapest's streets. You can now see the "world's only such collection from the period of communist cultural politics" in the "most exciting outdoor museum in Eastern Europe".

"The statues of Lenin, Marx and Engels, Dimitrov and Ostapenko can be seen at the park, and memorials to The Soviet Soldier, the Communist Martyrs, and the Republic of Councils. And much else besides."

Szoborpark - Statue Park [Magyar, English, Deutsch, Francais, Italiano]

Visitors Photo Album

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Sonntag, 30. Oktober 2005
Budapest: Terror Háza - House of Terror
"Having survived two terror regimes, it was felt that the time had come for Hungary to erect a fitting memorial to the victims, and at the same time to present a picture of what life was like for Hungarians in those times", it says on the website of the House of Terror Museum. The only museum of its kind opened 2002. The controversial building on Andrassy 60 in Budapest's first district "is a monument to the memory of those held captive, tortured and killed in this building".

While from 1937 to 1944, the Hungarian ultra-right party, the Arrow Cross Party, made their building their headquarters, the Hungarian Nazis used it as a prison when they came to power in fall 1944. In February 1945 the communist-led Political Police "created a prison labyrinth by joining the cellars of the block". Later the State Security Police possessed the place until 1956. "After they moved out the house was renovated, erasing all traces of its past. Andrassy 60 then became the headquarters of several firms and offices. In the 1970's, the basement where hundreds, perhaps thousands of people were tortured, was used as a club for young communists."

House of Terror. (novala)

When you drive down Andrassy Street, you can't miss the building. It's framed in black.

House of Terror. (novala)

Depending on the angle of the sun the shadow of word "terror" appears on different places around the house. Dressed in black is the guard at the entrance.

House of Terror. (novala)

The exhibition starts with music at the entrance. It accompanies you in different shades along your walk through the rooms. In the middle of the building is a courtyard with an old Soviet tank.

You start your tour on third floor beginning with the time of the Double Occupation of Nazi and Soviet dictatorship. As the history of the building is part of the content, each room plays a role, too. Some like the cells in the basement speak for themselves. Others show more or less abstract scenery of dictatorship like the office of Gábor Péter or the courtroom. In the room Gulag you walk over a huge map while videos show scenes from the prison camps. Even the lift down to the basement is part of the exhibition. While it is moving downwards very, very slowly a short movie is being shown.

While the house is the heart of the museum the big number of video and audio documents are its heartbreaking beat.

Although the "House of Terror Museum's principal aim is to demonstrate what life was like for Hungarians at the time of the two totalitarian (Hungarian Nazi and communist) regimes under foreign occupation", the exhibition could be more international. I know that it is difficult to translate everything into English, but it would have been of great help to know about the exhibits. The audio guide didn't include that. Neither did the English presentations of the rooms.

House of Terror. (novala)

Terror unfortunately is not unique to Hungary.

The museum: Terror Háza [English/Hungarian]

FAZ.Net, 19. Oktober 2005: Das "House of Terror" in Budapest [German]

The museum is controversial because:
"Hungary's Jews, though, are deeply troubled by the House of Terror.

They have several concerns: By presenting all victims as equal, and all victimizers as equal, the museum diminishes the uniqueness of the Holocaust, not to mention the Communist era; by painting Hungary as one of Germany's victims rather than an accomplice, it continues a trend in which right-wing Hungarian historians are whitewashing Hungary's role in the death of some 550,000 Hungarian Jews; and by devoting only one of nearly two dozen rooms exclusively to the Holocaust, it implies that communism was far worse than the Holocaust." Source: Jewish News of Greater Phoenix, 26 July 2002: Budapest museum controversial [English]

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Some New Budapest
Skyline Pest
Pest. (novala)

Pertöfi Bridge
Pertöfi-Brücke. (novala)

Crossing the Oktagon
Oktagon. (novala)

Driving into Budapest in the morning and out of Budapest in the evening meant being blind twice. Beware of Rendörseg.
Rendörseg. (novala)

Haus. (novala)

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Montag, 7. Juni 2004
Budapest: Dramatic poses #6
Budapest, Fischerbastei. (novala)

Dramatic Poses #5

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