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Tag Archives Budapest

NEW YEAR, BUDAPEST

On one of the corners of St Stephen’s square

is a café, the California

Coffee Company, with cheery slogans,

in English, extolling the benefits

of the bean. A window seat gives a view,

across the square, of the west entrance

to the basilica of Szent Istvan,

its portico embossed in gold with

‘Ego Sum Veritas et Vita’.

 

Our backs to the basilica we walk

down Zyrini Street towards the Danube,

Buda rising high on its western slopes.

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INTERSECTIONS

There is a young woman with a wooden hoop

almost as big as herself – and a small dog

not much bigger than her head – who performs

circus tricks, where Terez Boulevard meets

Andrassy Avenue – named for an Empress

and a Count before old Europe fell apart.

As the three lanes idle at red and the dog

waits on the kerb the girl and the hoop

become an astrolabe, a gyroscope

within the interstices of traffic lights.

When she stills and bows to the varied windscreens

the dog leaps to her shoulder and together –

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BÖLCS VAR: THE HOUSE OF WISDOM

Formerly Buda’s town hall, courthouse, prison

and school, newly refurbished throughout

and re-named The House of Wisdom, it is now

bookshop, café, bistro, conference centre

and an esoteric museum –

in an eclectic city of museums

ranging from Marzipan through to Murder.

The refurbishment finally repaired

all the damage done by stray Red Army

artillery shells, and uncovered stonework –

exhibited behind glass now – not seen

since the Ottoman Empire ruled Hungary.

 

Eschewing the conundrum of hailing a cab –

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ALWAYS WITH YOU

On a snowy January Saturday

we were delayed for six hours or so

at Ferenc Liszt airport, Budapest.

Except for the purchase of a Pick sausage

and a small box of Gerbeaud chocolates

in Heinemann Travel Value/Duty Free

we spent our time in the Leroy Bistro

with its international fast food cuisine

from nigiri sushi to Wiener Schnitzel.

 

From my seat in the bistro I could see

continually an advert, a fifteen

by forty feet video with,

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A VIEW FROM THE CASTLE

It is not the winter-grey Danube flowing –

hundreds of feet below – fast to Budapest,

nor the suspension bridge – with its high rise

circular restaurant – commemorating

the failed uprising against the Nazis,

nor the outline of the Vienna Alps

fifty miles away, nor the wind turbines

covering the plain between, but the concrete

Soviet era apartment blocks

now painted white and some in pastel shades

that first catch the eye from this stronghold

on a rocky hill far above the town

on the second day of 2018.

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