BY ABBY AND MURIEL
03.07.2013 - 03.07.2013 28 °C
Today we decided to have a go at the public transport in Budapest. We walked down to the metro station in the morning to purchase a ticket for the day. From here we went to the river where we were able to take a boat down the water. The weather today hit a high of 28 degrees, so we knew that it was going to be a little uncomfortable. But it wasn't too bad if you were in the shade and we were able to battle through it somehow. We ended up going the opposite way that we wanted, but we just rode the boat back after it had finished it's route. My dad said that he didn't get why people pay so much money for river cruises when the public transport here is exactly the same. I didn't find it quite so comfortable. When we got to our destination we got off and walked around the town for a little, stopping at a fountain on our search for lunch. The large fountain was surrounded by people, as when the water spilled over the edge it fell into a moat that people were able to cool their feet in. We sat there for a while, enjoying the shade and coolness of the water before continuing our walk. We stopped at a food cart for lunch, as it had some tables in the shade. Three of us got hotdogs (which weren't so much hotdogs as sausages with a piece of bread on the side) and my mom got a dish of tomatoes, onions and red peppers (called letcho). Her meal had cooled down quite a bit by the time we started to eat which was unfortunate, but she enjoyed it all the same... I think.
After lunch we took a tram to the Castle District to see the view of the city. It was extremely hot but we were able to get free water from the public fountains located around the area, which was a plus. Most of the stores we went to had very high prices, most of them two or three times more then the shops outside of the district. My mom saw that street vendors were selling lemonade for $10 each.
The trip up to the castle wall was my dad's idea of heaven as he travels for the views and the ability to take pictures of them. After he was satisfied we walked back down the hill and took a tram back to our own apartment to rest for a while. We took showers and relaxed for a few hours before eating dinner and going to bed with a few West Wings.
This evening, Ben and I went to see a one-of-a-kind place, for us at least. It is called Memento Park and is a place they built to store many of the Soviet-era statues that were placed around Budapest during Communist rule. They obviously didn’t want them staying in their parks and along their boulevards but felt they were too important a symbol to eradicate. Therefore, they have isolated them to a spot outside Budapest and now welcome tourists to visit. Looking at the oversized figures of Lenin, Marx and anonymous proletariat workers stirs conflicting feelings of amazement, amusement and soberness. It reminds me of the time when we in the west would watch TV news casts of the Soviet bloc countries and parades of the Red Army before the Berlin wall came down. The gargantuan statues seemed then and now to epitomize dictatorship rule. The leaders always seemed to be overcompensating for being an atheistic government, needing to replace the concept of a higher being with that of a larger-than-life ruler. So glad we don’t have an eight metre tall statue of Stephen Harper anywhere. We were also treated to a 1950s-era film montage of actual Soviet training films on 'how to be a spy': they outlined how to break into someone's place, how to build a network, how to search a suspect's place, etc. They are only funny when you forget that they were actually used in the Soviet campaign.