Two of the things that I definitely wanted to visit in Budapest were statues. One was of a person whom I googled up couple of weeks before - Imre Nagy. The other one was of Ferenc Puskas, one of the greatest footballers ever.
|Imre Nagy Statue Overlooking Hungarian Parliament|
Ferenc Puskas who led the invincible Magic Magyars of 1950's is part of football folklore. Someone who failed at perhaps the most important game of his career - World cup final 1954 . Hungary of today seems to have totally forgotten him. There is a stadium dedicated to him in the city. But other than that, Puskas seems to be totally forgotten. We had quite a bit of difficulty in tracing out the exact location & identifying the correct tram & metro tracks. It was pretty disappointing that the city does not have anything better to celebrate the Magic Magyars
|Ferenc Puskas statue at Becsi Ut, Budapest|
The turning point in Puskas & Nagy's lives was the soviet invasion of 1956. Puskas returned to Hungary only in the 90's . Nagy was incarcerated & executed , and secretly buried , only to be re-interred in the late 80's after the soviet withdrawal . Nagy was a communist, who fought along with Bolsheviks, but later-on fell out of favor with the Soviets because of his disagreement with the Stalinist policies .
|Glittering Hungarian Parliament overlooking Danube|
|Beer Bike / Pedal Bar on Budapest Roads|
Present day Budapest is a thriving Metropolis . I could spot offices of many modern technology companies like Flextronics , Microsoft & Samsung. Heard from a fellow traveler who came all the way from Durban to attend a tech conference that the Government is grooming up this place as Silicon Valley of the Europe. Public transport is excellent . The oldest subway in continental Europe is an engineering marvel just like Moscow Metro . Trams criss-cross the city. It is a reminder to modern day city planners that a city need not be very rich to develop public transport infrastructure.
|Szechenyi Baths, Budapest|
The home town of Harry Houdini, really has a magical charm. Perhaps most evident in the night-time view of the parliament building & Buda Castle from the Danube.
Hungarians has a special way of relaxing. The public baths are a common sight. People from every strata of the society come to places like this for a relaxing day. These are mixed baths . I guess places like this are much needed in Indian society . It removes ones inhibitions . And it promotes a habit between men & women to see each other respectfully, irrespective of what an individual is wearing.
Goulash / Beef & vegetables soup & Chicken Paprikash are the speciality dishes in Hungary. Indians would definitely like these. A bit spicy & really tasty
Budapest is like a phoenix raising from ashes. A city that has been unduly oppressed for long seems to be finally getting its due in the 21st century