The night after our beer tasting, we upped our classiness a little bit. Not that beer tasting isn’t civil and enlightening! We had met two awesome people from Sweden and discussed tourism, politics, and television (specifically; Burning wooden goat in Gävle, the Canadian election, and Rick and Morty), t’was lovely.
20 euros later I have some Euro fitting H&M pants that are about 0.5 class units better than jeans. However it didn’t compare all that well to the ball gowns and tuxedos at the event.
Earlier we had learned an interesting story about the Rudolfinum. During WW2, the #3 Nazi in command and classical music aficionado, Reinhard Heydrich decides to make his office in the historic building. Unfortuantely for him, one of the many statues of famous composers adorning the roof is a Jewish Felix Mendelson (The current Queen of England’s favourite composer).
The performance at the Rudolfinum was nice, there was a few pieces I recognized, namely an absolutely EPIC rendition of 2001: A Space Odyssey. It knocked our socks off.
I mean this in all seriousness, a trip covering as much of Europe as we are, is not complete without visiting a concentration or death camp. There is simply no better way to grasp and feel the atrocities that humans are capable of, than to visit the hallowed grounds in which they occurred.
We spent the next day on a full day tour outside of the city, to Terezin interment camp, a unique establishment among the Nazi’s terrible variety of camps. It was used mainly as a gathering point for Jews coming from all over Europe, to be held temporarily before being trained off for execution.
There really is no Segway from holocaust stories.... but next thing you know we’re leaving Prague for Budapest on the train at 9:00AM. The nice Asian man sitting across from Lindy and I offers me a beer? I didn’t want to be rude, so the earliest beer yet was on this train, with an old man who didn’t speak English.
As we approach Budapest, our expectations lower. The sides of the tracks are covered in trash, there are dilapidated and collapsing buildings, and just not good vibes. Thankfully as soon as we actually ARRIVED in the city, it was really nice.
Our first day we did a big walk around, crossing over to the Buda side of the river to see the palace and old fort. In the old town there is a church named after one of Budapest’s most popular former kings, St. Mattias. From pictures and statues, he was one mean lookin’ mug, but I guess he kept invaders out of Hungary so he was well liked.
St. Mattias church was a relatively colourful and unique looking church, polar opposite of the stereotypical cathedral/castle we saw in Cologne, my favourite of the trip so far.
Lindy wasn’t feeling well the next day (unrelated to wine) and laid low for most of it. Since I was now free and easy, I got some booze and went to the nearest gentleman’s club!
Just kidding, I went to an art gallery.
I'll give you the 5 cent breakdown, uninformed, uneducated Mike Sime review of the Budapest National Gallery contents:
It seems you can categorize all time periods of paintings of people into 4 different periods:
I really thought the two paintings above were hilarious. They seem to be getting better at painting people, but they really botch one or two human features which makes the whole thing just funny.
And then people improved at painting! The paintings actually look realistic! Faces of people look good enough to be used for a successful police sketching. But then as the twentieth century approached, artists apparently grew restless.
Artists everywhere collectively said screw it.
And that's everything you need to know about art!
The next night was our last night in Budapest, so we went out with a bang. We went on a Pub Tour (Tour, not Crawl) to take us around and see the unique places on the Pest side of the Danube. We had two Hungarian group leaders, four cool Aussies, and us.
Just a wee stopover in London before our Scottish adventure.
We didn’t do a ton in London, on account of everything being so expensive. We walked around a little bit, met a friend of Lindy’s, Kyra, for a Dim Sum lunch which was delicious. We did pick up some cheap tickets at the TKTS booth and saw the play Wicked, which was really good. We were sitting pretty far back so we couldn’t make out the faces, but still good.
The next day we take the overnight bus to Edinburgh, I revert to a kid in a candy store behaviour with the overwhelming Scotch choices, and we begin our 8 day car rental through Scotland.
You just have to be constantly reminding yourself… drive on the left side of the road, Mike, left side of the road…..