On November 2, 2011, Ivan, Lil Dave and I went to Central Market.
The market has vegetables, fruit, paprika and souvenirs for sale. Ivan and I shared a cherry strudel. We didn’t find any exciting souvenirs there.
We walked to get some lunch. We picked up a trdalnik with nuts this time. It tastes a lot better with cinnamon. We also got some French onion soup with rye bread which turned out to be really plain.
We went back to the apartment. We packed up our stuff and left.
We met a guy at the Jewish Synagogue. It was the guy renting an apartment through AirBnB. He was very friendly. The Antique Apartment is really cool filled with antiques around the apartment. There was also food like fruit (bananas for Dave!), bread and jam.
Ivan, Lil Dave and I used the internet.
We walked to meet at Vörösmarty square for the free Communist tour. Our tour guide was a woman named Agnes. She lived through communism in Budapest. Hungary is now a post communism democracy.
A communist building would have small flats with a small kitchen. The flats would be like a sauna in the summer and really cold in the winter. The kids were kept busy with a 6 day a week schedule. The government didn’t want the people to state their views.
These flats go for 250 euros a month now. That’s expensive especially since the average salary is 500 euros a month.
We saw St. Stephan’s Basilica. Agnes said that during communism families had to choose between church or career. Her parents picked church, so they worked in a factory.
When a kid was born… later there was a name giving ceremony, no baptism. The ceremonies were rather boring. There was a party with vodka. At 6 years old, kids had to join the Little Drummers and be an active Communist member. At 10 years old, they had to join the next movement where they lived to work together.
They had two passports: a red one where they could go to Communist countries and a blue one for the other countries. She talked about how her family went to Austria. They never saw so many bananas. They would only see bananas at Christmastime since they were imported from South America or North America. They tried to bring back a bunch of bananas. But, they were stopped at the border and the bananas were confiscated. They thought that they would try to sell the bananas. Lil Dave has a great, great monkey uncle who lived in Budapest during that time. He was the ringleader of a secret banana shop. He got bananas from other countries since he had secret connections.
Agnes said communism phased out since it was too expensive to run. Now that it’s a democracy, it’s a valueless world. The free education isn’t good. There’s better education in church schools.
We saw a bomb shelter. It’s never been used and still isn’t used today. Agnes thought they could use it for the homeless.
The public hospitals are free today, but not really. Agnes said she refused to pay extra when she had her first baby. That was a mistake because she got really bad service. Her second baby, she did pay extra to the doctor and nurses and then got excellent service.
We saw the War Memorial which is right near the U.S. Embassy.
I saw a statue of Ronald Reagan. We saw the Man on the Bridge Memorial which is the man Imre Nagy. He’s a martyr and prime minister of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956.
If you walk across the bridge, it represents the journey from communism to democracy. I didn’t walk across it, but Agnes said that it wasn’t an easy journey since it’s bumpy.
We saw others sites like Parliament and the Eternal Flame. Agnes says the government keep the alcohol cheap to keep the people happy.
Our last stop was the ruin pub Instant. Agnes showed us Communist pictures and her Communist passports. This was a wonderful interesting walk. If you would like to learn more about Communist times, I definitely would recommend going on this walking tour.
We walked back to the apartment for a rest.
Ivan set up something for later tonight, but he was keeping it a surprise.
A cab picked us up at 7 pm. We drove for 30 minutes. We arrived at the Celeritas Shooting Club. It’s an underground bunker in an old Communist building. There were two Irish couples waiting to do some shooting. Ivan booked the Shoot ‘Em All package. The guy who helped us was really nice.
He took close-up pictures of Ivan and me shooting.
We shot many guns like pistols (beretta, glock, colt 1911A1), revolvers (Smith & Wesson 629 – Dirty Harry, Colt King Cobra & Taurus 941) and rifles (machine gun, AK-47, sniper).
It was loud and lots of fun!! You realize how dangerous guns are… especially since at any time anybody could have killed somebody in that room.
We got a cab to Octagon. We didn’t see many people doing the pub crawl. So, we walked to Klassz for dinner. Ivan and I shared smoked lentil soup, poached egg, fairy ring risotto and goats cheese lasagne. Lil Dave got banana and chicken soup and banana risotto. The food was delicious again.
We walked back to the apartment and called it a night.