Today Bill and I were excited to go over to the Pest side of the city and see the Rembrandt exhibit at the Museum of Fine Art. So we boarded a public bus not far from our hotel and rode across the bridge and up to Erzsébet tér (Elizabeth Square), where they have a large 60-meter high ferris wheel. The ferris wheel, which is a new addition to the park and may not be permanent, has been nicknamed the “Budapest Eye,” because it’s similar to the ferris wheels in London and Vienna.
We looked around the Square for a bit. There was a small information stand set up near the bicycles for rent, so we went over and asked them for things to do around the city. They gave us information regarding a performance of the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble, which would be held this evening in Buda, not too far from our hotel. So we told them we would think about it and come back later to buy the tickets. Then we hopped on the underground metro and headed up to Heroes Square and to the Museum of Fine Art.
We hurried up to the Museum of Fine Art so we could buy our tickets to the Rembrandt exhibit. But alas! The Museum was closed to the public today! As we were standing at the fence looking bewildered, a friendly woman came up to us. She explained that, since this was the opening day of the exhibit, only certain city dignitaries had been invited to view it, but we would be welcome to come back tomorrow. We were so disappointed!
So we decided to walk over to the City Park Ice Rink area that the tour guide had told us about earlier. This being October, and the rink was an outdoor one, of course it was not open either (not that we had planned to skate). But it was the largest skating rink we had ever seen! I was wishing our daughter, Willie, could have seen it.
We kept walking across the park bridge and over to the Vajdahunyad Castle. This castle was “built between 1896 and 1908 as part of Millennial Exhibition which celebrated the 1000 years of Hungary since the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin in 895,” according to Wikipedia. It now houses the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture. We were planning to go into the museum until we noticed that there was a long line of people waiting to get in, so we just walked all around the grounds instead. We also visited a small gift shop in one area of the Castle.
After checking out the Castle grounds we decided to walk further north up to the famous Széchenyi Thermal Baths, still in City Park. According to Wikipedia, “Budapest gained its reputation as a city of spas in the 1920s” due to its many thermal springs found in and around the city. “The Széchenyi Baths are one of the largest bathing complexes in all Europe, and the only ‘old’ medicinal baths to be found in the Pest side of the city. The indoor medicinal baths date from 1913 and the outdoor pools from 1927.”
We left the Széchenyi Baths and started walking southeast just to see what we could see.
We saw the Monument to the Uprising, which commemorates the revolt of the Hungarians against the Soviet occupation in 1956. According to the site aviewoncities.com, this monument “is shaped in the form of a wedge with a 56 degree angle. Rusty iron beams gradually increase in height and become more polished towards the intersection point. The memorial symbolizes the joined forces of Hungarians coming together as they carve through communist rule. Its design has resulted in the nickname Vaskefe (iron brush). The monument was unveiled in 2006, on the fifty year anniversary of the revolt.”
Next we came to the Timewheel, a sculpture made of granite that “was unveiled on April 30, 2004, the day Hungary joined the European Union. The monument is situated near Műcsarnok, at the site of a former Lenin Statue that was removed in 1993,” reads the same web site. We remembered that our tour guide had explained something about this while we were riding on the bus two days ago.
I looked across the street and noticed this very interesting building. It is the ING Bank Budapest headquarters.
Then we headed back toward Heroes Square, since that was where we were to meet Bill G. As soon as he arrived, we told him about the closure of the Museum of Fine Art, and he was just as disappointed as we were. We went back over to the City Park, near the pond, where there was supposed to be a good restaurant called the Robinson. We were pretty early, as there was no waiting, and we got a nice table with a view of the pond. The food was very good, and we had a good time with Bill. He told us he had bought a ticket to a ballet in the Opera House for this evening, and we told him about the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble performance we were planning to see.
After our nice lunch, we all decided to go over to the Museum of Modern Art to see what their exhibit might be. We found that the exhibit was called “On the Edge of Perceptibility — Sound Art,” and it featured “works that reflect on the limits of perception, focusing primarily on the perception of sound.” We decided to see what it was all about and bought some tickets.
I had never even heard of “sound art” before, but this exhibit was quite interesting. There were works by about twelve or more different artists from around the world, and most of the works filled up entire rooms. We enjoyed the exhibit, and so did Bill G., who wished to stay and linger. So after we had seen everything, Bill and I told him goodbye and headed back outside. We hopped back onto the metro and rode down to Erzsébet tér, where we found the same people working at the information booth. They were so happy that we had come back for the tickets to the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble that they gave us a nice discount!
We rode the bus back up to Buda. Before going to the hotel, since we had been hearing how beautiful it was inside, we decided to visit the interior of Matthias Church. The real name for it is the Church of the Blessed Virgin in Buda, but because King Mátyás (Matthias) was twice married there, people just commonly called it Matthias Church.
We had to get tickets from an office across the courtyard in order to gain entry to the church.
It was just gorgeous inside and very different than anything else we had seen. We were so glad we took the time to see it. I’ll just leave you to peruse all of my photos.
According to the web site aviewoncities.com, “The most magnificent monument in the church is the double sarcophagus of King Béla III and his wife Anne de Châtillon in the Trinity Chapel. The twelfth-century king was originally buried in Székesfehérvár; in 1848 archaeologists found his remains in the city’s ruined cathedral and transported it to the Matthias Church in 1860.”
Then we went back to our hotel to relax before we had to get ready to go to the Folk Ensemble program. The concierge assured us that it was just a short walk down the hill from the hotel. When it was time to go, it was dark, but the stairs were well-lit, so we enjoyed our walk. We had some trouble finding the theater (the Budai Vigadó), but then we discovered that we had walked right past it! There was a small café near the theater, and we were early, so we went inside the café for some drinks and snacks before the show.
Once we entered the theater, we were not allowed to take any photos, especially during the show. So I have included a few of my program and some others I found online. The gypsy music and the dancing during this show were just amazing! This was perhaps the best performance we had seen on the trip, and that’s saying a lot. We enjoyed it so much that I bought a DVD that they were selling in the lobby on the way out.
After that wonderful performance, Bill and I walked back up Castle Hill, up the steps to Fishermen’s Bastion, and back to our hotel room. We had spent another busy day in Budapest. And tomorrow we would spend our last one before we had to board the plane and fly back to Montana.