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A Powerful Voice



How many times have we said we don’t like something, only to find that an authentic first-hand experience of that very thing astonishes you, and you come away with a complete change of mind… and so it happened with us in Budapest.

 

First of all, Budapest is an extravagant and exciting city, ranging from magnificent to modest. Architecturally, it is beautiful. Many original historic buildings have been maintained, and these elegant structures seem to be valued much more in Europe in general, than they are in North America.

 

Much of the charm of Europe is in the magnificent architecture everywhere…

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Along side the Danube and the beautiful Budapest Parliament building in the background….

Buda at night wParliament Bldg

 

The people may not be as friendly in Budapest as in some places you might travel, yet many people are kind.

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Hungarians seem serious at first, and it takes them a while to warm up. Strangers can be a bit terse; they are not looking for your approval. They are perhaps more direct, more honest than North Americans, and they show their emotions more readily. It’s no wonder that they may be a bit untrusting, having been brutalized by years of invasions and communism. They hated the way they lived, and most were poor.  

 

The country has been rapidly developing in the last few decades, and now you’ll find a bustling economy, but just like the rest of the world, it has slowed down in recent years.

 

Budapest is an easy to walk in city, and vibrant at night.

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One little known fact is that you will see “garbage pickers”, well-dressed, clean, often in couples silently going through the garbage cans on the street daily early evenings or when few people were about. They carry a variety of bags, tossing bottles in one, clothes in another, odd bits in yet another. Out of respect, I just couldn’t take a photo.

 

They say the garbage pickers are not homeless people – they are gypsies.

 

The gypsies originally came from India, and make their living in many ways. Most are independent entertainers who excel at many of the arts including fortune telling, gypsy music (http://youtu.be/kQvI9qxV8O4), gypsy symphony concerts, gypsy dancing, horse shows, and dancing animals. They are also nomadic thieves and nomadic musicians, menial labourers and occasionally they con tourists in big cities, but we had absolutely no experience of the conning tourists business at all during an entire month’s stay wandering around Budapest.

 

The Hungarian people seemed to feel quite a bit of embarrassment about and animosity towards the gypsies, and it seems odd that the gypsies did not appear to have a voice to represent the interests of a socio-economically disadvantaged people, as is so common in North America.

 

I did take one photo of this bold old gentleman calmly pushing his garbage cart down the centre of this side street that actually had pretty steady traffic. (It doesn’t matter if he is a gypsy or not…)

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Hungarian culture is vibrant and diverse. Cultural activities in Budapest are considered an extremely important part of civilized everyday life.  

 

Children are introduced to opera, symphonies, live theatre, art galleries, and more as young as 4-5 years of age!

 

Aside from the classics, there are contemporary “artsy” theatres as well.

 

Just down the street from my friend E’s house was the Muvesz Mozi Art Cinema Theatre, (6th district, Terez korut 30, near Oktogon square, Budapest), where, most appropriately, we saw the movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel. It was hilarious, well-done and unique, and Colin Firth did a fantastic job, as always.

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 We loved the eclectic, if somewhat off-the-wall, decor of the little theatre…

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Besides art cinema theatres and live theatres, there are dozens of beautiful small opera houses like this one…

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But, one of the crowning glories of Budapest, a grand building, an icon of the city, is…

The Grand Budapest Opera House

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Private Balconies… some where no one is allowed in ever, except the cleaner and the Director of the Budapest Opera House…DSC01879DSC01877

 

Here is a photo of a secret door in an outer side hallway where, years ago, the Queen could come out of the opera’s grand theatre to go to the bathroom…

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At the end of the tour, we were treated to a mini opera performance. The minute the soloist started singing, without benefit of any musical instrument, chills ran down my spine…

 

T was blown away too, and despite not expecting opera to be something he would like, I could tell he was equally impressed. I experienced the same pleasant shock after attending several operas at the New York Opera House years ago. As we walked away from the opera house, T said with a note of awe…

“A powerful voice…    A powerful voice.”

 

Here is a tiny sampling of that beautiful magnificent powerful voice…

http://youtu.be/Zc8NsvYCqLM

 

And another favourite, the great tenor, Luciano Pavarotti, though no YouTube video could ever replace hearing it live…

 

We’re really NOT fanatic opera fans – honestly, but if you’ve never given opera a chance, try Andrea Bocelli… (the last 5o seconds or so is amazing… and he’s cute too!)

 

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Budapest, Hungary

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Budapest, Hungary 47.510681, 19.057443

 

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4 Responses to A Powerful Voice

  1. wendy says:

    Thanks for the history lesson 🙂

    Opera house looks absolutely stunning!! Can not believe the architecture back then!

  2. travellittleknownplaces says:

    Your’e welcome Wendy! Do you like opera tenors? Yes, the buildings in Europe are awesome.

  3. wendy says:

    I have never been to the opera 🙁 however it is something I would love to go see!

  4. Hmmmm. I submitted one, but I don’t know why it didn’t post. Will check later again and re-post if it didn’t appear.

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