OK, so last year we cancelled a trip to Europe (Budapest, Slovenia, Venice, Croatia) because of family matters.
So this year I booked again, picked a time when the ticket prices was good, bought Euros at R16/Euro (should have maxed the flexibond and bought more, because I’d be flabbergasted if the R/Euro ever sees 16 again) and time’s getting close.
So we’re landing in Budapest on… the 6th. There for a couple days. Then elsewhere for all those nice predicted-to-be-sunny weeks.
Oh, and I’m taking Tanya back towards the end of May for her to fly back (I’m staying a couple weeks longer).
Just guess, JUST GUESS, what day towards the end of May Tanya is flying back? I mean, pick ANY… yes, that one.
We stayed in Fö utca, close to the Batthyány tér metro station (Hungarian has 44 letters in their alphabet, I don’t always get it right), so the worm, tank and Rubik’s cube were all right on our doorstep. The russian soldier in the pantry was a short walk downriver (in the rain, which turned out not as bad as forecast).
Brexit teddy in Harmincad u. close to Deak Ferenc.
Not sure what this is supposed to be, maybe a warning? It’s in Dózsa György út next to the Museum of Ethnography.
Not technically a mini statue, the little princess lives on the Pest-side river bank close to Vigado tér.
The balloon dog is not far away from the little princess.
Rattatouille lives on the other side of the river, under the Erzébet bridge.
The dead squirrel lies behind Columbo and his dog on Szent István.
There’s a whole collection of dogs at a little park halfway between Széll Kálmán tér and Batthyány tér.
It started out as a Russian hat on a pillow, but a politician called Erik Fülöp took an axe to it, knocked it off the fence, and threw it in the river. Kolodko replaced the statue with an axe on a pillow (more on this later).
In the same park there is also a mini statue of Kermit the frog.
And the moon buggy is not far away, close to the Lajos Batthyányi Eternal Flame.
Tivadar Herzl was a Jewish Austrian-Hungarian journalist, writer and political activist who became known as the father of modern Zionism. His mini-statue lives close to the sinagogue on Dohány utca.
The racecar is rather large, for a mini-statue. It’s in front of the Pesti Magyar Színház (theater).
The story goes that some dude threw the New York Cafe’s key in the river to prevent said restaurant from ever closing. But of course the diver got it back.
King Franz Joseph chills out on Szabadság (Liberty) bridge (which used to be called Ferenc József híd).
Remember the Russian hat that got axed and tossed in the river? Here it is climbing back out, in front of the Houses of Parliament.
That’s where we stayed, on Fö utca. The Batthyány tér metro station is on the right hand side of the photograph.
The M3 metro line is the deepest of the lot, since it runs under the river (M1, the second oldest metro line in the world, runs just under Andrassi út).
Google Maps tells me that this was originally the tombstone of Lujza Blaha. That’s why the shepherd playing the flute is so sad, and that’s why the first line of Sándor Petőfi’s poem “SAD BRANCH OF MY LITTLE FLUTE” can be read on the side (“Kis furulyám szomorúfűz ága”).
If you’re in Budapest, get a 72 hour travelcard. You can get on pretty much anything with wheels and travel for free. Metro, tram, railway, bus… the only exception is the 100E bus to the airport, and the children’s railway.
Take the Metro to Széll Kálmán tér, hunt some mini szobor if you want to, take the tram to Szent János Kórház (you need a copy of this map on your phone). Go left up the hill, turn right at the bridge, there’s a station with a gear track down the middle.
Because it’s steep.
This train runs to Széchenyi-hegy at the top. Turn left, walk past the park to Széchenyihegy Children’s Railway station.
We got there before ten, the service only starts at ten. So we walked to the next station, Normafa, where there is a coffee shop.
Except for the driver(s), the train line is run by school kids. Looks like one older and one younger kid in a team.
Note that they take cash (Forints) only, so make sure you have the right change. It was 1500 HUF per person when we did this.
I asked, sounds like each of them does this two days a month.
The line goes further, but you want to get off at Szépjuhászné. Then when you walk out of the station, turn left. There’s a path through the woods. We didn’t know this and turned right. There is no path towards the right…
Better yet, take the bus. It’s right there and you have a 72 hour pass, right? You want to go to Szanatórium utca (Vadaspark) which is like two three stops down the line. Then you have to walk all the way up Szanatórium utca (the jokes writes itself), turn right at the top, and take the “shortcut” through the woods. This gets you to the zoo.
… assuming you’re into this kind of thing.
And then you walk back and get on the bus and end up back at Széll Kálmán tér.
And if you get on the bus going the wrong way (downhill at this point is the wrong way) and it happens to be the number 22, there’s a Lidl at the end of the line so you can shop for supper then go back the other way.
On our last night in Budapest we went out to photograph the Houses of Parliament at night. I had pretty good results (and great fun) after overriding the automatic exposure settings on my 100D.
The next morning was dull. I took this picture using the exposure bracketing function, and used Lightroom to make an HDR image (this one you can click-to-embiggen).
We had some time before catching the train to Ljubljana, so we went hunting for more mini-szobor (specifically the russian-hat-grown-frog-legs).
Here’s Imre Nagy (He ruled Hungary for a couple of years, but he rubbed the Politburo up the wrong way and got himself executed for it) on his new site just off the Margit bridge. We looked for Lisa Simpson but I suspect she no longer lives here.
And that concludes Budapest 2023. Until next time (when we will be spending more time in District XIII, maybe even go to the Pinball Museum again).
The next day the sun was out and we got a few better pictures.
We went to see the Plečnik library. For 5 euros per person, this is what you can see. The reading room, with NO BOOKS. Oh, and the staircase is also included as an attraction. NOT recommended.
Yea, we didn’t know either.
Anyway, the main point of Ljubljana was to go to the Friday market (which rained out) and to get a car. Ended up hiring a car from renti.si. They’re a bit bait and switchy in that you can’t book a car through their website, and their special (20 Euro / day for the 25 Euro / day cheapie if you take it for two weeks or more) is only available if you book it. So I ended up with the 25 Euro / day option. Which was still the best price out there.
The weather forecast told me that this Monday was going to have the best weather of the whole week, so I made a beeline to Jeruzalem, specifically lunch at the Gostišče Taverna. Recommended.
And from Jeruzalem it’s only a short trip home (where “home” = our Vikend in Globoka).
The rest of the week was kind of meh, weather-wise. We went to Varaždin for lunch and Ptuj for second-hand clothes (lots of second-hand clothes) and for the rest stayed in, made fire, cooked, and drank. Which is probably no different from what we would have done had the sun been shining.
Then for the weekend we went to Zagreb, and from there to Zadar and Pula, but that’s for a different blog post.
We decided to go to Zagreb for the weekend, then take it from there (meaning that I’d booked accommodation in Zagreb earlier, but everything else would be based on the weather (yes, it was still raining. And a month later my brother experienced high thirties. And (since I’m blogging this retro-actively) three months later they had some of the worst floods ever), what we felt like and where we could find accommodation).
The place I booked is on Josipa Kozarca and it’s a little strange, but not in a bad way. Nice big bath, private little dungeon with a massage table… yea OK. Whatever floats your boat. It has a washing machine, and it’s close to the Britanski Trg market, where I could have bought all kinds of interesting things, but sanity prevailed.
We had lunch at the nearby Bistro & Pizzeria BAS, where the small Calzone looks like this (which is a good thing, since it was 7 Euro at the time, at R22/Euro). Recommended.
I have a mental image of how they serve the eggs and sausage… anyway, moving right along.
Saturday morning we went walkabout, to the Dolac market, up Opatovina ulica to the park of the same name…
My old enemy, stairs — this is Mlinske stube, at the other end of which you will find Caffe Bar Domus, a great place to have a beer at 10:15 in the morning after having climbed all those stairs.
Here they figure that the dragon was more of a catfish, looks like.
Yea, it was raining a bit, lens got a few drops on it.
Pula has the oldest and I think nicest colosseum in the world. It was built from 27 BC – 68 AD. They play soccer in it.
We stayed in a very nice apartment on Ulica Nikola Tesla, which is just on the other side of Crkva sv. Anton (St. Anthony’s).
Herman Potočnik a.k.a. H.P. Noordung was born in Pula, of Slovenian parents who moved to Maribor when he was about two years old. He conceptualised the first space station (before 1928 when his only book was published) and unfortunately died way too young at 36.
And then we drove back to Globoka, getting lunch at Atlantida in Koper — they have a daily two-course set menu, in this case Pumpkin Soup with Hazelnut and Moroccan Chicken with a salad, for €10.50. Tanya complained that the salad (that’s it, next to the camera) did not meet the sales brief.
I had a beer. Actually (checks invoice) I had two beers. At €3 each. But they are 500ml.
Rijeka is home to quite a large computer museum (as these things go, and measured in number of computers, not floor space). You will find the expected Apple / Atari / Commodore / IBM PC and clones… but those don’t interest me so much. What is interesting is the cold war East Bloc stuff that we never got to see or experience in the West.
Unfortunately a lot of the exhibits are behind glass and don’t photograph well.
This is an Ivel Ultra, a Croatian Apple II compatible computer designed by Branimir Makanec and developed by Ivasim Elektronika (in Ivanic Grad close to Zagreb) around 1984. It has a Z-80 (for CP/M) onboard like Franklin did with the Ace 1200.
The Robik is a Soviet ZX Spectrum clone produced between 1989 and 1994 in the Ukraine.
Spica Ines: A decent keyboard for your ZX Spectrum. And a bare PCB would be easier to import as “washing machine parts” than the whole computer…
Much more interesting (and also an unavoidable self-portrait) is the Galaksija.
Then there are the commercial “home” computers. The Galeb (“Seagull”, codename YU101) was an 8-bit computer developed by the PEL Varaždin company in the early 1980s. Only 250 were produced by the end of the summer of 1984, before being replaced by the Orao. It’s a 6502 machine “inspired by the Compukit UK101” but if this Ferguson Big Board “(C) Mikro Slovenija” is an indication, it might have been very similar indeed.
One of the Galeb prototypes.
The Orao (“Eagle”) replaced the Orao. Still 6502 based, it was developed by PEL Varaždin in 1984. It was used as a standard primary and secondary school computer from 1985 to 1991.
The Pecom 32 and Pecom 64 were 1802-based educational/home computers developed by Elektronska Industrija Niš of Serbia in 1985. Both had 32k RAM and 16k ROM, but the Pecom 64 supported colour while the Pecom 32 was B&W, as far as I can tell.
These used the standard 1802 (CDP1869 + CDP1870) VIS display system.