Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Funicular-Budapest

Just to the left of the funicular station is this angel mural.

Three flags on the stations:Hungary, Budapest, and European Union

A woman riding with us exclaimed, "This is just like Lookout Mountain." We don't think so! Another woman remembered getting stuck in a funicular in Slovenia (or Slovakia???). They were stranded for 5 hours and eventually rescued. When she was rescued, all she could do was laugh. The medical attendants released her. I thought she was lucky to have not gotten a psych exam. Her students later told her that there had been a fatal accident on that funicular just months earlier. Guess they were still getting the kinks out. I preferred to think that the Buda funicular is much more reliable.

This tunnel is to the right of the funicular (down) station. If you travel by car from the Pest side and take the Chain Bridge over the Duna and go straight forward you will enter this tunnel and, literally, go through the Buda hill and on to the other hills of Buda and beyond...


Gellert Hill Budapest

We'll go down the hill now. We actually didn't, so it is on the list of things to do next trip. However, you cannot miss this lovely garden, waterfall and statue to St. Gellert since it is in view from the Pest side and the river.

"How did he become a saint?" you might ask. He was one of the Italian priests the Pope sent to Budapest when St./King Istivan called the Pope and suggested they join forces and become part of the Holy Roman Empire. Apparently there were some pagan holdouts in Hungary who put Father Gellert in a barrel filled with nails and sent him down the hill to the Duna and imortality as St Gellert. The "winners" always get to write history (most painfully apparent to me when I saw the General Sherman Sequoia at the National Park in the USA-to my family, General Sherman is practically a swear word!)


National Gallery Outback-Budapest

Magically, we are transported outside the "back gate". This is the way Julia (remember to pronounce it Yulia) brought us to the Palace/National Gallery. I really love the way the new mixes with the old-part of the charm of this city. These Spiderweb gates really "work" with the former home of the Hapsburgs.

Julia says this is her favorite statue/fountain. I like the way some of it goes "out of bounds" with the rocks on the left. There is alot going on here.

Take a left in front of the fountain and the "tunnel" will take you to the front of the Palace/Gallery. We've already been there, but take a close look as the Pest side and the Duna lies straight ahead.

Here's this old/new thing going on again. I just love it!

Go back past the fountain and turn left. As you are walking through this archway there is a woman with a beautiful voice singing Hungarian folk songs.

If your Latin is really good, I'll email you the closeup of this inscription. Something about Maria Teresa and Franz Joseph being the supremest of beings next to God and just the best rulers, etc, etc....

Then I spotted these goddesses and a god. Bet someone has a wonderful office here.

One more look at the dome...

and the rear view.


Inside the National Gallery Budapest

Let's go inside and see the art.

I went in with my camera. No one objected and I saw no universal red slash over a camera sign. I asked the guard who was sitting with the falling people, using universal "can I photograph?" gestures. He nodded his consent. So, I happily continued through the modern art snapping as I pleased while Marcia headed for the old stuff to commune with her Hapsburg ancestors.

When I moved into the next wing I only got the chance to snap a few things before I was confronted by a woman using no universal gestures and plenty of verbage. I think she was probably a middle school teacher/principal earlier in her life, judging by her tone of voice. Eventually she paused long enough for me to simplify the conversation: foto nem:foto igen? "Nem!" was her emphatic response, and in addition she indicated that I should stash my camera in my backpack.

So, these are the only photos I was able to take inside the Gallery, but several of them make my heart sing.

I even liked what they did with the cieling in the Modern Art section.


Monday, July 30, 2007

the Palace/National Gallery Budapest

We'll start with the view from the Citadel to get an overview. You can see that the "back" that is, the side not facing the river, is quite extensive. We'll start with the front-the side facing the river.

You can get here by walking up the stairs, tourist bus, or (my favorite) taking the funicular. We'll take a look at the funicular later.

Here is the gate just as you get off the funicular...

and look who's waiting for you just inside the gate...

Here's the inside view of the gate...

and the garden just inside the gate

Great fountain! This made me think of modern motherhood-what are you kids thinking???? drowning, fish bite, fin sticks, rock scrapes, toxic this and that. Still, what a great fountain to childhood freedom.

This horseman stands in front of the entrance. If you like the "Where's Waldo?" books, try Where's Marcia.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Szabadsag-szobor Budapest

Thats her proper name, I suppose. She reminded me of the Statue of Liberty. Since I affectionatley named the Statue of Liberty, Our Lady of the Harbor, I dubbed this statue, Our Lady of the Hill, or just, Our Lady.

She stands on the most prominent point in Buda, the Citadel. The guidebook says this spot has the best views of the city. It certainly worked for me, though there must have been a bizillion breathtaking views.

She was a gift from the Soviets. Here is what my Lonely Planet guidebook says: "Some 14m high, it was erected in 1947 in tribute to the Soviet soldiers who died liberating Budapest in 1945, but the victim's names in Cyrillic letters on the plinth and the statues of the Soviet soldiers were removed in 1992. In fact, the monument had been designed by the politically "flexable' sculptor Zsigmond Kisfaludi Strobi much earlier for the ultraright government of Admiral Miklos Horthy. After the war, when procommunist monuments were in short supply, Kisfaludi Strobi passed it off as a memorial to the Soviets."

Our tourguide on the tourist bus told us that all the surviving Soviet statues were taken to Statue Park (we'll go there) but two: Our Lady, which includes her two sidekicks and another statue which ironically stands in front of the American Embassy.

Julia (Yulia) took us to visit her at night.

I never felt I got her in good light...

but I got her from several angles.

The sidekick statue to her right is a passionate Soviet youth. To the left (significant??) is the St. George and the dragon statue.

When I went on the tourist bus, my companions in the English speaking group were two young Romanians who had plans to immigrate to Canada as soon as their paperwork was processed. Our guide was telling us about this "triumph of good over evil" theme when the Romanian guy says, "Which one represents the Soviet?" We all had to laugh and I was quite happy to have them as tourist companions.

We even saw Our Lady from the train as we were leaving Budapest.