Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 10 - Budapest

Budapest has so so much to offer that you have to make concessions. So I decided to follow my interests and take the 'Hammer and Sickle' walking tour that brought me and an Australian girl with a personal guide (lol) to the Memento Statue Park, where Socialist statues that were removed from the city centre were brought after 1989 to act for informational and commemorative purposes. Though it was advertized as a 'Socialist theme park', it was actually less touristy than I had feared, except for the baby blue Trabant that stood in the corner for people to sit in and the (rather small) 'Red Star' souvenir shop which sold all kinds of paraphenelia. On one hand, I felt that people taking ridiculous pictures with these statues was a little tasteless, since each of these statues offered memories of hardships suffered, or at least of a certain historical event. On the other hand, maybe that at last shows that people have overcome the taboo-ish aspect of the Socialist past and can now see the comicality in it? Already in Socialist times, the allegorical statues received really funny nicknames like 'the Spa warden' about a guy who looks as if he was running behind somebody who had forgotten their towel, or 'Another beer!' about a guy that stretches his hand into the air energetically (Fotos to follow!).

After this interesting tour, I walked up the Andrassy avenue (the Champs-Elysee of Budapest) and found the city park - and apparently all the city's inhabitants. It was a holiday and everybody was hanging out in the sun, playing ball games, and just having the time of their lives. So I just joined in with gusto! In the evening, after a quick trip up the Castle Hill (the picturesque little streets were nice, but I had already seen similar ones so often.. But the Fishermen's Bastion with its little turrets was great!), I had a snack and chat with an interesting Jordanian guy before returning back to the hostel and watching most of 'Into the Wild'... which gives a whole other direction to the term of backpacking...

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