A foreign city robs you of your prejudices about different neighborhoods—you look at everything with fresh virgin eyes.
Let’s start by my posh, but relatively inexpensive, hotel room and its great view:
grand cafés everywhere,
like the Callas :
The Hungarians are Opera-crazy and they have their elegant Opera Houses to show it:
There are plenty of beautiful Hungarian girls,
and very proud ones at that: The Heroes’ Square welcomes you with seven Magyar chieftains (Magyar: Hungary) who led the Hungarian people in their proud history; I highlighted a couple that I liked best:
Now we’ll take the Budapest metro—super efficient and easy to use— to go places.
Like a good muslim, I first went to visit the great Saint Stephen Basilica:
the madonna looks friendlier in orthodox churches—somehow less aloof, more human…
In spite of all the gold in the public places, Budapest has its share of run-down buildings,
this huge metropolis is not as pretty as her smaller sister city, Prague,
but is as rich in history and as breathtaking in sights:
the sunset on the Danube is majestic:
Again as a good Shiite who does believe in Holocaust, I went to visit the Dohany street Synagogue of Budapest, the world’s second largest that caters to a mix of Orthodox and Reformed Judaism unique to Hungary:
in spite of its Byzantine Moorish style, the similarities between this synagogue and a grand church are striking: there is an organ (Franz Liszt played on it once),
and even pulpits!
In the Jewish quarter, you are constantly reminded of the Nazis’ atrocities:
Budapest is known for its 80 geothermal springs but I didn’t have the courage to accompany my friends to these pools in Szechenyi bath:
the Fine Art Museum was more pressing but that should wait for another post; the Hungarian parliament deserves a post all to itself as well.
If you want to stay in great affordable hotels in a great cosmopolitan European city, go to Budapest (or ask my friend, Reyhaneh, who is a champion in finding great deals!)
I leave you with this quote: “The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget” and “Clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence” by Thomas Szasz.