When we crossed the Hungarian border, we found we were basically illiterate. In Slovakia, and other countries, you can sometimes pick up clues. In French, German, Spanish, it doesn't take long to figure out what is a noun, a proper name, a place. In Hungary, we lost all sense of being able to read even simple communication devices like roadsigns and had to rely on other ways to take in information. But things have improved for us English speakers. We were told by a British couple riding the funicular with us that fifteen years ago, no one in Budapest spoke English, but today it is a very popular second language. In fact, in many of the cafes and restaurants, we encountered people speaking highly accented English with each other. This led us to assume they were from different countries using English as their common language. Great news for us English speakers.
This is a view of the one of the lions that are all over Budapest; this one of the four at the ends of the Chain Bridge. Budapest is a fascinating city and we both wished we had more time to explore it as one day on foot was not enough to scratch the surface. So we walked around and played tourist by following our instincts, which generally seems to work quite well.
Musicians set up shop wherever they like and play their instruments, and play well, I might add.
We walked by a synagogue and found what we think were headstones displayed in the courtyard. All of the dates of death were in 1945, and no doubt, Budapest suffered greatly in the Holocaust. Many of the brightest and most talented minds were hauled off to camps never to return.
And, speaking of minorities, we walked across the famous Chain Bridge and were confronted by this Gypsy woman. I gave her a few coins in thanks for getting her picture. We saw lots of Gypsies in eastern Slovakia, and I assume there are many in Hungary as well. We have encountered many people who have very poor opinions of Gypsies and maybe their reputation and stereotype is well deserved. I don't have enough experience with them to form my own opinion. In Hostovice, Micheal Sura showed us an orphanage that he said was mostly Gypsy children, and mostly Gypsy kids that had been abandoned, not orphaned. European countries are struggling with what to do with them; France is resorting to deporting them to Romania which seems to solve nothing, only moves the problem to another location.
No story here, just a nice photo, I think. Budapest has so many beautiful buildings, we never even learned the names of them or their purpose. This one is near the Danube, which divides Buda and Pest. I bought a hat to keep the rain off my glasses and it said BUDAPEST 1873. The date meant nothing to us, so we asked a few waiters and waitresses and we learned that 1873 was the date the Buda and Pest united into one city.
In a place called the Fisherman's Bastion, on top of the hill in Buda, were these statues decorating and archway. Three more statues were on the opposite side. I loved the faces, so expressive and alive.
For instance, this guy, who looks like a friend and former boss of mine.
Unfortunately, the statues most exposed to the weather have lost almost all of the features in the faces.