It's excellent to be back in Budapest. The city is still beautiful and the girls are still gorgeous, contrary to some scary reports I'd started to receive over the past few years. On the downside, the city has also lost most of its exoticness (what a word!).
Recovering fairly easily from jetlag, I spent my first full day checking out a few things I'd never seen before. First, a visit to the beautiful art nouveau building that is the Magyar House of Photographers, followed by the less interesting Trafo House of contemporary Art. Afterwards, I went down south to the Wekerle telep, a housing estate built in the Transsylvanian style. Unexpectedly different from what Budapest normally has to offer. On the district's central square, I had a strong coffee and some super sutemenyek at the local cukrazda.
The second day, I ended up being Benno's guide. Where he normally shows his guests around, and he gets a few, I was going to be the guides guide for the day. Perhaps I should also sign up with OurExplorer.com.
We started off by heading out to Budapest's highest point, Janos Hegy, from where the views are excellent, even though it was a bit hazy when we were there. We followed this up with a short ride on the children's railway. Expecting the railway to be a pint sized version of a regular railway, we were surprised to find the railway was normal size, but the conductors were kids. We ended up getting a free ride, as the conductors, including their retired minder, as well as a school class of Germans all assumed we were with the Germans. Wiedergutmachung.
Walking over to Farkasreti public cemetery, we got to see some of Budapest's upper class dwellings. Having gotten a taste for the dead, we followed this up by heading out to the Kerepesi cemetery, which is littered with grandiose mausoleums and memorials.
In the evening, alternating some responsibilities, Benno showed me a recent development in Budapest's inner city; courtyards having been converted into hip multi level, multi room bars. Apparently, these things are set up to combat the risk of squatters.
The next day, I was on my own again, determined to visit sites new to me. Starting of by going to Csepel island, formerly the center of industrial activity in the country, but now only basking in its dilapidated glory. Then, I went up to Moskva Ter, where, at the Millenaris park, the winners of the World Press Photo were on show.
Not being perturbed by the day drawing to a close, I went down to Budafok, right across the Danube from Csepel, where I had started the day. Here, a seldom visited calvary was a surprise, as was the fact that Budafok is the home of Torley, Hungary's answer to champagne.
A calvary commemorates Christ's crucifixion, often with the three crosses and a way to the Cross.
My last full day was spent visiting the Ludwig and the Museum of Fine Arts. Fine museums both, the former having an extensive exhibition on the work of the Hungarian photographer Robert Capa, the latter having a nice exhibition on Joseph Mallord William Turner, as well as an extensive collection of Dutch masters.
Back in Bangkok, I got myself a Holux M-241, a data logger. A data logger keeps track of where you are in the world, like a regular GPS, but much smaller. I use it to match my location with photos I take during the day. The result is quite accurately positioned photos on my Flickr map.