lundi 6 octobre 2008


We took the Easyjet (Sleazyjet?) flight from Geneva to Budapest. The flight took off at 6:00ish, and we flew away from the sun, so by the time we arrived the sun was down in Budapest. All of Europe is in the same time zone, so the sun sets much earlier there.

Budapest was leafy and green but polluted and run down. The air quality was noticeably poorer than in Lyon. We arrived and took a bus to the metro; the transportation system has clearly not been updated since the 1960’s, with claptrap rattle-y trains and smoggy buses. From the nearest metro stop, Moscow square, we took a cab to the hotel. Our cabbie had to get the two cabbies behind us to give him a push to get the car started, which was kind of funny. It was trying to be capitalist, with a few third world touches.

But Budapest was clearly European, with grand boulevards and beautiful architecture. Many buildings are elaborately carved with statues and reliefs, carved heads poking out and looking down at the street. One of the first things we did was go to St Stephen’s church, a baroque confection named for the first king of Hungary. The church features a relic: the 1000 year old mummified hand of St Stephen, which was leathery and shrunken. Or maybe he was a leathery, tiny guy, who knows? I wondered where the rest of St Stephen is kept. Maybe his body parts are scattered across churches in Hungary.

This is the parliament building.

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