In the pursuit of balance, I have decided to write this post backwards. Not literally backwards (siht ekil naem I) but backwards in the way things happened. The reason for this is because the bad things happened late in the day; almost last thing.
Stupidly (though we didn’t know it would be so badly organised) we bought tickets to see the Hungarian Folklore Night. As it turned out, the actual show was jolly good, it was only the organisation that suffered due to having none. And yes, it was the same people who were responsible (and continue to be responsible) for the awful Romantic Cruise along the Danube.
If you are ever tempted to go to the Duna Palota on Zrinyl Utca to buy tickets to the folklore show make sure you do not, ever, believe the guy selling the seats. He lies. He is a worse liar than the Hop-on Hop-off guys of Andrassy Boulevard. Mirinda specifically asked if the seats we had had a clear view. They were on the balcony and she wanted to make sure we could see the stage. And he said yes, definitely, no problem, a completely uninterrupted view of the stage, beautiful seats. (He was quite enthusiastic). Here is the view from my seat:
To be perfectly honest, my view was pretty much black because I slept through a lot of the first half. Mum and Mirinda managed to lean forward and see a bit of the show.
That makes it sound like we put up with it. Well, my wife, who regularly tells me not to get into fights with lying bus ticket people, had a right go at the usherette, especially when she treated the pair in front of us like royalty (“Are you happy with your seats? Would you like an orange juice?”). Mirinda’s first question to her was “Aren’t you going to ask us if we’re happy with our seats then?”
And it pretty much went downhill from there.
When Mirinda drew breath the usherette asked what she wanted her to do and Mirinda said “Tell your boss to sort it out.” The next thing we knew, just after the lights went down, the Duty Manager made an appearance and decided he could find three seats in the main auditorium which was sold out. Of course, there was no way that mum could hobble up and down in the dark so we stayed put until the interval.
At the interval we did go downstairs and sat in row 8, in the middle and the second half of the show was excellent. Seriously. I hate when that happens! It means my sails are somewhat deflated and the post must end on a happy note. In fact, I was made most happy by the folk dance that involved young girls dancing with bottles of sherry on their heads. A classic bit of mad theatre.
Oh, and for future reference and for anyone foolish enough to go to see the show, the bad seats are balcony right row 1 seats 1, 2 and 3. It will be the same for balcony left.
Well, now that that’s out of the way, I can report on the rest of the day, which was lovely though very foggy. Which was a shame because we decided to go and visit the Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church in Buda to sample their wonderful views across the Danube and over Pest. There weren’t many. This was looking towards Parliament:
Mind you, it didn’t stop us (and hundreds of other tourists) from roaming all around it, taking far too many photos. We even made mum climb right to the top. Here she is with me, waving at Mirinda down the bottom:
Because she did so well, we not only treated her to a mulled wine at the bottom, we also took her around the wonderfully surreal Marzipan Museum which holds not only various fairy stories and children’s books rendered in marzipan, but it also has an amazing gallery of portraits of famous heads…all done in marzipan. Here’s one of Sisi:
And just for a bit of contrast (and because it’s more 3D than a portrait, this is the Hungarian version of Pinocchio:
Pinocchio is just a small part of the whole thing. The entire wood shop is there and so is Geppetto…it’s extraordinary.
And, as well as the various scenes, carriages, animals and full size statues of Sisi, there are also little plaques telling the casual visitor how long each one took. They vary from days to months. All I can say is “Why?”
Anyway, we need not ponder that for very long…we then went to visit the very popular Matthias Church. It retains the paintwork from the pre-reformation days and so it doesn’t have the old boring whitewashed walls and, instead features patterns, stripes and frescoes everywhere. It’s quite an amazing church and one well worth visiting. I would also like to mention the St Sebastien outside the front door and the beautiful Sisi upstairs in the gallery. (Photos of both of these can be seen in our Flickr account.)
We then wandered down to the bus stop, allowing mum enough time to pop into every tourist shop we passed, to catch the number 16 back to the tram stop. We then headed down Andrassy Blvd for lunch/dinner or, as Mirinda calls it Dinch…or Lunner…
We ate Hungarian food at Klasse and mum drank a couple of bottles of champagne before we headed back to the hotel in order to rest up for the Hungarian Folklore Show I wrote about above.
And so that’s just about it for Budapest (and I really believe we’ll NEVER be back). Tomorrow we check out and fly home. I’ll miss…the trams.