Holocaust Memorial Day 15th April
I'm not sure if the official day is April 15th or 16th,
but today is the 15th and I just saw a big memorial
ceremony outside the main synagogue.
It's the day commemorating the date on which the
ghettoization of Jews in the countryside began in 1944,
Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany attended the
memorial to Holocaust victims in Budapest. There was a huge security
detail surrounding him when I was there.
Violin players on streets and in restaurants are very commonplace throughout Hungary. Usually they play Hungarian songs such as the Csardas and the Waltz, asking for some
money. For some it is nice entertainment, for others a nuisance :)
Városliget- Ice Skating Rink
Once upon a time (more than 10 years ago) , the rock band, Bon Jovi gave a fantastic concert in Budapest (I was there:) ). On the way towards the Airport, the musicians were passing through the Heroes square, and the city Park. Jon Bon Jovi said later that he would never forget the view that he saw from the little bridge that connects the Heroes square with the City Park, where 1000`s of skaters were having fun in the Ice skating rink with loud music and with the illuminated silouette of the Vajdahunyad Castle at their back. In fact, this is a typical local costom coming here during the winter. In this time the rink is almost allways crawded, while in summer it becomes an artificial lake, and You can hire boats. As since all the place will be under renovation in these years, I`m not sure if these possibilities will still be available, but surely the whole facility will be even more attractive after the renovation.
The lions of the Chain Bridge
According to the legend, the lions of the Chain Bridge were sculpted without tongues and the sculptor was mocked so much that he jumped into the Danube in shame. Tragic story, but fortunately not true: the lions do have tongues and the sculptor lived into the 1890s. (Another legend holds that this is what he told to the people mocking him: "Your wife should have a tongue just as my lions have, and woe will be unto you!")
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Be nice to the locals, after
all, it is where they live .....
We found the people to be
very friendly, and willing to
help you out with directions
if you are lost.
Just as we have pride where
we live .... so do they
Here are some pictures of a small little
store we visited everyday to get snacks,
soda and beer for our room.
Pictured is us wth the owner who gave us a little
bottle of champagne for our anniversary.
We were very surprized, and it just goes to show
that not all the locals are out to rip off tourists.
Carl Lutz Memorial
This monument I can see out of my Budapest flat window, just next
to the Kosher shop and opposite the sex shop. I always see some tourists,
be it a solitary soul or a small group with a tour guide!
CARL LUTZ, the man who rescued more than 62,000 Jews in Budapest
from deportation to Nazi death camps during world war II.
The Swiss Consul Carl Lutz, in charge of foreign interests and visas at the
Swiss Embassy in Budapest 1942-45, issued tens of thousands of protective
letters (?Schutzbriefe?) for Hungarian Jews, documents
the Nazi officials only reluctantly recognised.
In the last months of World War II the Nazi regime tried to eliminate
the whole Jewish community of German occupied Hungary.
In tough negotiations with the Nazis and the Hungarian government,
Lutz obtained permission to issue protective letters to 8'000 Hungarian Jews
for emigration to Palestine. Using a ruse and interpreting the 8?000 not as persons,
but as families, he and his staff issued tens of thousands of additional protective letters.
He established 76 Swiss safe houses throughout Budapest and, with the help of his wife Gertrud, liberated Jews from deportation centres and death marches.
The issue of protective letters was subsequently adopted by representatives of other neutral
governments in Budapest such as Raoul Wallenberg of Sweden, and others,
which broadened the impact.
By the end of the war close to 124,000 Hungarian Jews survived.
Nearly half of these owed their life to the courageous actions of Carl Lutz,
whose name, until recently, had largely been forgotten, by the Jewish people
and the world at large.
Carl Lutz has been honoured by Yad Vashem and the State of Israel.
In 1963 a street was named after him in Haifa, Israel, later by his home village
Walzenhausen, Switzerland and by the Swiss government. Since 1991 a memorial
at the entrance to the old Budapest ghetto opposite my flat remembers Carl Lutz's work in Budapest.
- Religious Travel
- Historical Travel
Don't do "Cheers" in public
I'm not sure how accurate this is or if it is still frowned upon, but apparently is not very polite to do the whole CHEERS and clink glasses together - goes back to the war where the enemvy would do so when executing a local serviceman.
Thankfully found this out in a little guide book in a little corner of it - wouldn't wanna offend anyone in their own country intentionally :-)
Paying with a credit card
I am not sure if this applies to every restaurant, but unlike U.S. where you pay with a credit card and then when the waiter/waitress brings back the check you include the tip and write the total on the receipt, in Budapest when you get the check, you have to include the tip before waiter/waitress takes your credit card and process it. I did not know that and it was pretty embarrassing. Fortunately I had enough money with me to give the waitress a tip.
Demonstrations against the prime minister
during this second fortnight of september Budapest has sounded in all news around the world for demonstrations and assaults to the public Tv.. i saw some of these demonstrations in front of the parliament where "lives" the socialist prime minister.. the demonstrations has been promoted by Fidesz (the right wing political party in hungary) .. they claim against the prime cos he said in a radio station that lied about the economical status of Hungary in order to win the past elections.. there are other things that people doesnt like but its an imperative question if Hungary wish join EU.. its just question of time that people accept that !
The Hungarian Use of Names
Like some Asians, the Hungarians use their names in reverse order with the given name last and the family name first.
Also roman numbers are preferable to normal numbers for use in floor levels, months and districts of their cities. In demonations of thousands, they will also leave a space instead of using a comma.
- Historical Travel
There are almost no villages in Hungary where there is no embroidery.
Foreign nuns brought the current embroidery stitches of the Western cultures to Hungary and locals enriched them with new stitches and designs called URIHIMZES...
It was a combination of Turkish and Italian renaissance. From the renaissance comes the symmetry, the delicate rythm of floral motifs between the tendrils and the exuberant floral centerpieces. From turkish designs come the assymetrical compositions, crossing lines, the simplystic floral drawings, and the very stylised cypress and flower bushes.
The oldest embroidery that is still to be seen in Hungary is the robe of the first King of Hungary, Stephen I. You can see it in the Hungarian National Museum. The wife of the king helped embroider the rich golden silk robe.
Young girls learned to embroider very early and didn't marry until they had their trousseau..
Prices are cheaper in the country side...and they are more hand made than in town..
- Arts and Culture
"Hungarian National Accelerator"
Well, where ever you go you will see this little bomb shaped bottle which feature a golden cross on the front call UNICUM....now the taste of it..uhmmmm I am not a drinker so this taste pretty awful to say the least..:)))).....
Anyway... I have heard that Unicum is an acquired taste..and drunk mostly in Hungary and by Hungarians.....not one of my favorite memories of Hungary...LOL......
All it is ..is a skilful blend of more than 40 carefully selected herbs and spices. The lengthy ageing process which takes place over 6 months in oak casks gives Unicum its inimitable bitter-sweet flavour and exotic bouquet. It makes a perfect aperitif or dessert drink due to its beneficial and soothing effect on the stomach.
If you are brave try it at least once.....:)...
- Arts and Culture
- Wine Tasting
At any of the souvenir shops in town or in the country you will find folk costumes ....These first became popular in the first half of the 19th century, during the Reform Period. The original simple embroidery in blue and red (these were the only colours for which plant dyes were available), which were intended to express national identity, were replaced by colourful garments with varied patterns by the last century...
In the rural world every item had its significance; garments and hats revealed their owner's place of origin and rank..the folk costumes seen today were used at festive occasions, while for work, very simple hempen clothes and sandals, rather than boots, were worn.
- Arts and Culture
use local language where possible.
if your English, don't be a typical brit and make no effort to learn some of the language. just "thank you" and "please" will do. It makes a difference.
also, if you already know German, it's a bonus as for some reason here people know german. So use that when English is no good.
Budapest residents don't go out to breakfast, although they sometimes buy pastries or similar items from kiosks. Most tourists do get breakfast included with room cost, but we had an apartment and didn't want to cook breakfast every day. We found a terrific sandwich shop open at 9 a.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. on Sundays.
There are at least three loactions in Budapest, one of them located just about opposite St. Stephen's cathedral. Addresses are given in the website. The sandwiches are beautifully created and arranged, and they are quite inexpensive.
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel