Budapest

Budapest is a city of contrast. Divided by the Danube River,Buda is the West Bank and Pest, the East. Originally begun as a Celtic Settlement, it has endured many historical, cultural,ethnic and religious upheavals to become one of Eastern Europe’s most beautiful and enduring cities,  and certainly one of its most interesting.

 

TOE
TOE

Where else can you buy $2.50 tickets to the Ballet Giselle at the Budapest Opera House?  of course the 22 year old daughter and I  had to enter via the back stairs, so the patrons in expensive seats could be seen making a grand entrance, via the front stairs! A night time ghost walk around the cobbled streets, revealed a bloody and gory past, buried beneath the grandeur and opulence, of old Budapest.

Taking a commuter ferry ride down the mighty Danube, revealed the olympic training school of the Hungarian rowing team, a mix of old and new high rise housing, and ended at a defunct shipbuilding yard, and abandoned, industrial estate.

A favourite memory was shopping at the local flea markets. Most had good quality goods, and were keenly priced. One, in a far flung suburb, revealed old folk art pattern rubber rollers, genuine nazi war badges,  vintage tin toys, and a jumble of retro clothing. It was cheap, musty, and housed some dilapidated merchandise, but was worth the complex trip out of town to get to it.

 

budpest
budapest

 

Other memories include, walking across the Liberty Bridge spanning the mighty Danube, using the funicular ( cliff railway) running up to Buda Castle, visiting the Budapest Art Museum, and feeling chagrin when the student daughter was invited to a private viewing of Warhol pieces. Watching the same daughter get her hair cut for her 22nd birthday. Me agreeing to a haircut by a non english speaking hairdresser, at the same salon. Drinking vast quantities of home made limonetta ( lemonade) for $3 a litre in local restaurants, and visiting Margaret island, to ride bikes, and eat ice cream and fairyfloss, as part of the birthday celebrations. Friday night saw us floating around the Rudas Baths, a thermal hot springs with magical restorative powers, needed for two world weary travellers, and trying to avoid gazing at the plump male, tattooed, ponytailed, patrons.

Four Polish Zloty

Warsaw, capital of Poland, is an example of triumph in the face of adversity. Occupied, then destroyed in WWII, it has kept re-inventing itself. The Nazi’s, on fleeing the city, at the end of the war, set charges in the buildings to blow it up and reduce it to rubble. Perhaps it was a perverse payback for the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of April 1943, when the Polish Jews repelled the Germans, or it bore out the animosity and loathing between the two races. Upon liberation, the  communist regime was set up by the conquering soviets, and the city was rebuilt. Our local walking guide confessed his grandfather had laboured under a german regime during the war and the Soviets after, having never worked for himself and din’t even own his own home.

view
view

It is a city of contrast, rich in history, albeit a rebuilt one.  A visit, to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, built on the site of the Warsaw Ghetto, is a sobering one. The Warsaw centre for Contemporary Art, was worth a visit. The day I was there I was lucky enough to experience a recital of classical music, in one of its galleries. The inner City is home to modern, stylish, edifices and retail businesses, whilst further out you experience the urban sprawl and suburban corridors, of most large cities.

In pursuit of a local flea market, we chanced upon a romany encampment with attached market. I sauntered through the stalls, nothing  of real interest, lots of seconds and damaged goods. This area, placed in the shadow of a new train station, and modern sports ground, hinted at Warsaw’s less salubrious side. 

The re-created old town had cobbled streets with an elderly female flower seller at each corner, minstrels peddling love songs on their mandolins, and pedlars of traditional food. Cheap vodka, was a supermarket staple, $10 AUD, for a quality bottle but sadly the 4 zloty ( $1.36) shop was closed and I could only gaze in frustration at the riches within, through the darkening windows. What also shocked me was the high level of destruction of the buildings still evident from WWII. Pock marks, gun shot and shrapnel holes, and half collapsed buildings abounded with no visible signs of re-building in place.

Buda or Pest ?

Wolf Pack
Wolf Pack
Faded glory
Ochre tones
Sweeping vistas
Many call Budapest home
Seamless , easy , gracious virtue
Hand embroidered peasant suits to fit you

Saint Stephen warrior king
looks over everything
High on a hill and down , down, down
Right into Pest from the Buda side of town

Ghosts , baths , cabled buses and trams aplenty
The city rolls and hums with restless energy

Birthplace of European culture
Opera house , music , and high st couture
Vintage , H & M , Hugo Boss all jostle for space in this largely Roman Caholic populace
Cakes , cakes , cakes , cherry strudel adds to a rapidly expanding waist

It’s excitable , classical and Danube fantastical
Earthbound , sky bound , budapest is history town
Bars , clubs , pianists playing to earn their grub
Tongue in cheek , bawdy humour
Covered in age old European mystique and grandeur

It’s is a tortured history of invasion , separation and brutal persuasion
Hysterical , hospitable , holy , happy Hungary
Home to beggars , saints and kings

Budapest
Budapest

Warsaw

Herring salad
Herring salad

Warsaw
Old town , new town , definitely got the beat down
Sepia toned young punks gyrating around
imitating american hip hop trying to run the moves to ground

Beat , feet , music
Drinkers , thinkers , high energy tinkers

Warsaw is big town , hip town , no rigor mortis in this town
Rebellious , querulous , inventive , and nazi preventative
A town steeped in history , shrouded in religion
Burgeoning , bustling , never repetitive
Arty , crafty , everyones at the party
Incense , priests , cobbled streets ,
night skies , artificial fireflys ,

Herbal tea caverns , more ice cream than you can imagine
flower sellers peddling ancient wares , red roses are everywhere

Red & white flag , purity and blood
Polish eagle astride her proud , gritty city

Pole Beer
Pole Beer

Ranga

60 ‘s burnt orange is my body armour , bilious fake tan the shade. Anoxeric weight  proportions are a mere   2.1 kg .  Fast and speedy ,   never needy , wheels are my feet. Malvern spawned ,  Eastern Europe borne ,my neck is a steel double strut with black softtop . I have zips , zips , zips everywhere ,  zips to spare that go nowhere .

 

 

My Case
My Case

I am flashy ,

a tad trashy .

 

Portable , expandable , expendable , and dependable . Ryanair reject me if you dare .Comfortable , reliable , undeniably viable , packed tight with my tourist treasure trash , and forbidden glorious stash .

Relentless pleasure seeking , airborne , and always peaking , on another adventure and travel trail . Look out , I’ll  soon be in your town  , shouting the baggage carousel down , with garish tones of orange hue , zips , a handle , and a scuff or two . I am your ultra light , dynamic dream holder who won’t let you down , flight bound and constantly touring around .