Daily Journal: Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Was up early this morning getting the place ready for the Airbnb host to clean. I had planned to go over to the Oktogon (major intersection in Budapest that is shaped like an Octagon) and look around while the flat was being cleaned.

While at the Oktogon, I decided to visit the House of Terror. I had heard that it was a must-see. Was a little hesitant since it almost sounded like a tourist attraction, like a Ripley’s Believe It or Not kind of place. When I found out it was about the post-war years in Hungary, I decided to visit and learn more.

When here last August, I knew at the end of WWII Budapest was almost destroyed as the Nazi’s tried to hold onto the city against the Soviets. The horrors of that battle was almost beyond belief that anyone could survive during those few months, but then what followed was even more grim. For years the Soviets, along with the Hungarian leadership, made life in Hungary very difficult and individual freedoms were suppressed, families split up or deported, and many people lost their lives from imprisonment and torture.

The building where this exhibition was displayed was the actual headquarters where this horrors were administered. The displays were graphic, informative, videos of survivors played in many of the rooms, artifacts were displayed including many portraits and names. After I left, I went to McDonald’s to eat lunch and read some of the literature that I was given.

Amazing that so few people could inflict so much grief on a population. And that it went on for so long. How do people get into power, and stay there, who care little for the people of their own country?

When I got home, the exhibit was still on my mind. Was glad that Csabi wanted to meet later so I could talk with him about what I saw and learned earlier in the day.

It was a comedy of errors trying to meet up with Csabi. Many assumptions and changes of plans, but we finally met up and took a tram into the downtown of Budapest. He wanted to take me to a ‘ruin bar’ the Szimpla Kert on Kazinczy, which he said was popular with foreigners.

It was quiet a walk getting there, but we ordered drinks (a coffee for Csabi and a beer for me) and found a table. The decor was very eclectic. Csabi said that much of what we saw was probably from a “lomtalanítás”.

I found out about lomtalanítás when I noticed yesterday people were dropping off their junk on selected street corners. Found out it is like free-cycle. The following day it is hauled to the landfill. This get-rid-of-junk-day happens twice a year in Budapest.

Here are some pictures from inside Szimpla Kert. It was a young crowd and the music mellow. This place would fit in very well in Portland.

We left after we finished our drinks. So easy to get around Budapest with the excellent transportation which is dependable, frequent, and well-marked. Think I got home in about 45 minutes, or less. Also got over 16,000 steps in today.


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