Central Europe in Bits and Pieces: Budapest

Flying into Hungary from Munich
Robin on the Bima in the Jewish synagogue.
Interior of one of the Jewish synagogues. Breathtaking!
The other Jewish synagogue. Also beautiful. Interesting story about the Jews of Budapest. They weren’t rounded up until 6 weeks before the end of the War. Of all the cities controlled by the Nazis, Budapest was perhaps one of the safest. But that’s kind of like splitting hairs, given what happened to most.
The Budapest Train Station. I wonder how many war movies were shot here?
A reminder of the Hungarian uprising in the early 1950’s. For a really wonderful account that will bring it to life, read TRIPTYCH by Margit Liesche.
Yes, Virginia, there was a thing called Communism. It looked like this.
The Museum of Terror. A very sobering tour, but worthwhile. A history of the terror and propaganda imposed on the people of Hungary over the years.





















My daughter and I went to Central Europe in May. I reported back on all of the cities we visited — with one exception. It’s taken me six months to talk about Budapest. My impression was that Budapest wasnt “ready for prime time.” However, I needed to think about it. Of all the Danube cities I visited (Vienna, Prague, and Berlin), Budapest was the least prosperous. Despite a flourishing middle class before WW2, the war, and then the Soviet occupation destroyed its economic infrastructure. In fact, after the collapse of the USSR, Hungary, unlike Poland or East Germany, seems to have had the most difficulty “reinventing” itself as a Western tourist destination. For some reason, Hungary doesn’t appear to have the same money or resources poured into it as other places. Or else those resources were squandered.  Plus, when we visited, the weather was cold and rainy.

Indeed, of all the cities I saw, Budapest has had the toughest job renouncing the mantle of Communism. East Berlin was grim, but there was a West Berlin. Prague, with all its energy and designer shops, seems to have become the New York of Eastern Europe, and Vienna hasn’t changed much at all. Sadly, neither has Budapest. At least from what I saw. Budapest needs investment dollars. They need renovations. They need a currency that can compete with the Euro. Most of all, they need an infusion of optimism and energy that only young people from the West can provide. I didn’t see enough of those things during my visit.

Having said that, however, I’m glad I visited. Enjoy the photos.


Looking over at Pest from Buda. Or maybe it’s the other way around.
You can get anything you want at Alice’s… oops… I mean the Budapest market. Truly. We got food, Robin bought a coat; I bought gifts.
Changing of the guard in Budapest















Guess who? The Hungarians love Ronnie!
Parliament Building in the sunshine.
After a dinner cruise on the Danube. A magical moment!
The Baths of Budapest. Really fun. Pools with different temperatures.



Photos of those who were killed by the Communists over the years from the Museum of Terror. (I wasn’t supposed to take this photo, but how could I not?)
The Tree of Life in the Jewish quarter. Donated by the late Tony Curtis. Beautiful.
Parliament Building

My first