Thoughts on life and music.

Lizst Ferenc and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Today was our last day in Budapest, our train is at 10am tomorrow to head back to Sarajevo.

We started off early this morning at the Bak R Man, Rebecca's new favorite pastry place. I have developed a love for McBuris, the Hungarian McDonald's version of hash browns, so I got a couple before we hung out at the pastry place.

The House of Terror opened at 10, so we walked by the Hungarian State Opera house and took some pictures.

The House of Terror sounds like a ride at Disney World, but it's actually a very dark museum about the headquarters of the Hungarian Nazi party, which was taken over by the communists in 1946. Both regimes used the house for torture, executions and keeping political prisoners. The basement was full of cells, some with specific torturous designs. The "Foxhole" had a low ceiling so the prisoner couldn't stand, another had a floor covered in water, and what I thought might be a telephone closet was a cell where the prisoner couldn't sit. We saw a number of torture implements, and the gallows where prisoners could be executed. It was fascinating, and bizarre to see something so recent and horrible. We are so lucky to live in a country unscarred by war on our soil since the 1860's. Our grandparents may have fought in WWII, but the Hungarians survived Nazi occupation and had to accept Soviet assistance to get them out when the war was officially over. Hungarians voted for a democracy, but the USSR wasn't about to lose control of an agricultural resource. Anyone who was less than enthusiastic about communism could be taken to the House of Terror (renamed as such by the Communists, the Nazis called it House of Loyalty). It was a depressing but interesting place to see, and certainly historically important, so I'm glad we went.

Signed the guest book.

Memorials on the outside of the museum.

Wall of victims.

The cross was the Nazi symbol, the star for Communism.

Afterwards, we hiked up to the Liberty Statue. Our tour guide from yesterday said Hungarians have a good sense of humor: the statue was put up by Communists, but when the city was liberated everyone thought the statue was too pretty to tear down. So they put a white cloth over it for three days, uncovered it with ceremony and pretended it was a new statue!

The hike took a while (Rebecca would disagree) but the view was awesome. I'll post more from my real camera when we're back in Sarajevo.

Halfway up...

Wrong statue... But still cool!

There she is... Got it.

Another random statue on the way back down.

We did some souvenir shopping in the central market, it's fun being in a country where haggling is common!

Afterwards, we dropped our stuff off at the hostel and walked to St. Stephen's Basilica for a performance of Mozart's Requiem.

A picture is worth a thousand words describing our enthusiasm.

It was an amazing concert, the organist played a Liszt piece written for his daughter before the Requiem. The concert was timed for day of the dead, which is apparently after all saints day. The woman who spoke between pieces said her piece in English, then German, then Hungarian. It was fun to pick out done familiar German words and translate as much as I could (since I already knew what she was saying!). The performance was excellent; the choirs were gorgeous and the vocal soloists were wonderful. It was a great way to end an amazing trip to Budapest.

Back in Sarajevo

Mostly Pest with a little Buda - day two