2014©iphoneographythis,2014©myronunrau

Small Village, Big Parade

2014©iphoneographythis, 2014©myronunrau

Snow is colder

It’s carnival season German style. Colorful garb, musical cacophonies, flying candy and fist fulls of confetti tossed not only prettily into the air above the heads of parade viewers, nay … sometimes this vile paper pretty is tossed directly, deliberately  into the faces of the public, sometimes even savagely massaged into the hair and down the necks of the now hapless parade visitors. Some of these are even dragged from the relative obscurity of the side of the route into the middle of the action where they are ganged upon by members of the carnival cliques and suffer unspeakable carnival mayhem.

This being Rose Montag (Rose Monday), revelers take to the carnivalized streets celebrating something I understand little about. Here in Baden Wuertemberg is it also known as Fastnacht.

This little village I live in posted signage last week announcing road/street closures for today and when I asksed I was told about the carnival parade. The day is also taken off by many of the celebrants. I too had it off.

Warm up music blasted through and between the buildings of this downtown village style neighborhood and that made any sane calm thought to naught. So I decided to join the curious and hangers on. And now I have a badge as proof of my admission payment of 2Euros. I paid to be entertainingly molested by noise, color and bands of wild celebrants, most comfortably anonymous behind carved wooden masks or cheaper yet convincing synthetic copies of these cultural works of art and ancient master pieces of the season.

Below is a selection of todays ribald and raucous celebrations played out by seasoned characters, long versed and immersed in the local customs of the various cliques, groups of celebrants.

 

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all photos copyright 2014©myron unrau, 2014©iphoneographythis

Three Days in Budapest & riding the retro metro

It was wet, grey, tiring and dingy in places. Not at all the way I’d imagined a January. I imagined it colder, much colder. However that is the kind of weather that awaited my wife and I on a recent short city holiday into Hungary. Budapest to be exact.

A cheapo Easy Jet flight three nights including breakfast at a reasonable price in a well situated and well appointed Hotel in the midst of that large city was just the thing.

Budapest as seen from a higher vantage point on the western side of the river Danube

Budapest as seen from a higher vantage point on the western side of the river Danube

Not that the weather where we live on the German side of the Swiss/French border was any better as we were herded through the airport gate like so much documented cattle. It could have been worse, much worse. The city could have been held in the frosty clutches of mean old man Winter. But it was not. And so a little bit of wet weather didn’t seem all that depressing when we stepped out into the Hungarian rain for the first time.

We arrived mid afternoon and  it being a Sunday and us not having planned anything touristically urgent as far as activities go, we located our hotel via our helpful little and later much used city/map book and my suddenly in demand sense of direction (albeit a bit confused with having to read/decipher a new language neither one of us was face with before). Then we set off and rather embarrassingly our very first jaunt  took us to a pretty big mall. Say no more, say no more.

January darkness fell more rapidly than we had anticipated and as the rain had let up a bit, we took advantage to look at the city lights from Margit Hid bridge over the dark Danube at the southern tip of Margaret Island. Nice.

View of Hungarian Parliament building on the bank of the Danube from bridge

View of Hungarian Parliament building on the bank of the Danube from bridge

going down to the retro metro on the transit escalator; we also went up these escalators towards daylight

Going down to the retro metro on the transit escalator; we also went up these escalators towards daylight

Very glad to have a guidebook/map along for this trip. Knowing and figuring out exactly where we were or exactly where we wanted to be/go wasn’t all that much fun all the time but it certainly made getting around easier. The locals we approached were very helpful when asked for assistance in either German or English. Thanks kindly you friendly Budapestians.

tourists looking at map books and waiting for transit salvation

Tourists looking at map books and waiting for transit salvation

There were tips on good eats in the guide booklet at several, actually two indoor market halls where various delectables from all over could be sampled and I had set my mind and stomach for an afternoon stroll of deliciousness in silly proportions/portions. I was really looking forward to the culinary experience and the usual list of local eats such as goulash and … well, goulash was the only culinary dish I knew of. But we were open to new things too. After wandering down a canyon of tourist shops lining the Vaci Utca;

One of the lesser shopping display along the Vaci Utca

One of the lesser shopping displays along the Vaci Utca

…pretty much all of them selling pretty much the same wares. Hmmm. At the end of that Utca we suddenly came upon the Nagycsarnok or Central Market Hall. Halleluja I thought; well maybe not thought so much as I felt something akin to that expression as we pushed our way through the heavy dirty darkish green woolen curtain flaps that separated the winterish outside from the warmish interior. Let the fun begin.

Inside the Central Market Hall where disappointment bit me in the ass.

Inside the Central Market Hall where disappointment bit me in the ass.

One stall sold fresh and colorful vegetables, the next sold honey, various sized bags of Paprika both sweet and hot along with different alcoholic souvenir bottles along with nuts, dried fruits and trinket sized wooden scoop spoons. Along the lines of ‘Souvenir’ accoutrement. Noted. The next stall sold meat: poultry, pork, beef, various cuts and meats in differing states of deconstruction depending on what the butcher was doing. These stalls also stocked huge supplies of the ‘Pick’ salami that I also was keen on purchasing to take back and sample in the comforts of home. These salamis came in different sizes and the different stalls appeared to apply differing prices for these same wares, depending on where they were located in the hall. The wife made note of that fact. Nevertheless we bought some. In a nutshell, a large market hall with many stalls but all stalls basically selling the same things. And upstairs arranged around the outer walls, more stalls with traditional embroidery and more tourist trickery. Bummer. The whole thing could have been condensed into four shops based on goods sold. Nothing for my belly other than a couple of excellent spicy dried snack sausages. We did not go into the basement for further my disappointment.

National Spice of Hungary is Paprika ... ok, so these samples had collected a lot of dust over the course of many years of being window displays.

National spice of Hungary is Paprika … ok, so these samples had collected a lot of dust over the course of many years of being window displays.

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Nope … didn’t eat here. Why not? Well, the name implied certain culinary danger. No matter that the hustler out on the street touted the menu to be “just like your mother home food”.

We did however stumble across the ‘Strudelhaus‘ on October 6 Utca. Wow, who knew Strudel could be so good. This restaurant also offers other traditional Hungarian fare but we spoiled our appetites with mouthwatering late afternoon goodness. Absolutely recommend this establishment for a delightful and very tasty visit.

Below is a sample of the sights and personal impressions:

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Parliament building besieged by constructionism

Solitary tower view point overlooking Budapest

One of the towers of the Fishermans Bastion overlooking Budapest

Bronze Aged Police

Bronze Aged Police on Zrinyi Utca/Oktober 6 Utca. Budapest

Wooden restaurant facade

Wooden restaurant facade on Vaci Utca

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Post christmas blues in the city

from there to here (camera viewpoint)

Rokford restaurant on the corner of Honved St and Szalay St. Didn’t eat there either.

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Seriously guarding the Hungarian Presidentat Sandor Palota

Looking across the Danube river  (beside the 'Chain Bridge')

Looking across the Danube river beside the Széchenyi lánchíd or Chain Bridge

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Detail of historical graphic context

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The unintended monumental asphyxiation of statues in an unnamed square somewhere in downtown Budapest

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Two tram cars as seen from Vemezo Way

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Yup Unicum … tastes exactly like ZWACK

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Still in rail service to the nation at Nayugati Railway Terminal

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Lonely morning street with retro VW bug

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Cool colors and wheels

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Dekagrams of decadent goodness

We can imagine how Budapest might look like in spring time.

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tired tourist feet

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Good’bye’ Budapest. Thank you kindly for the hospitality.

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wrong-way adventures on the M3 Blue Line to get to the airport

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Captain, please start this engine for takeoff

A Tale of Two Cats or one bad choice

It all started off all innocent like. Two kittens. Cute images cloud the brain like pink fluffy clouds. Cat energy, feline cunning and affection, yin and yang of co-dependance.

I should have known better. Even as the irresistible charm of the kitty cuteness on our second visit to the little furry bastards made my eyes glaze over; those two piercing cat eyes that stared deeply into mine. This is where the kitten soundtrack record should have come to a stratching, screeching halt and I should have noticed that they looked right through me, not at me. Not at all. Not one hint of what was to come in THAT which I mistook for instant like, dare I say affection? How stupid of me.

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Eyes too dangerous to look into

My wife fared far better in her choice, she picked a clear winner. Me? I picked the loser, the yang to her yin.

But that was not readily apparent to one so beguiled as was I. The fucking cat wasn’t even the right fur or color. Why is it that every time I have the option of choosing a cat, (and I don’t pick often but once upon a time I catered to a solid grey cat)  my want is always the farthest from my initial wish … why oh why? Am I such a sucker?

And I should further have clued into what was to be when my dear wife upon deeper observations, suddenly compromised and suggested we change the choice of name for that one to Luna, instead of Lilly. Ok, that made instant sense as I’d already espied the lunacy that one embodied. Sure Luna, short for Lunatic.

I’m not certain if there is such a thing as cat racism but I don’t want to be painted with that brush. I was game to give my yang pick every opportunity to prove that I like all cats. Now I readily admit that I do not like all cats. Hell no.

The Cat Came Back comes to mind, as do all the evils (solutions to the problem) the song suggests, railing desperately about the toxic suffering extremes that a feline as evil as this plucks from the stuffings of life.

Sadly the ideal kitten scenario has been laid waste. Shredded tatters are all that remain of the innocent images we once imagined, the wickedly sharp clawed evil, a nastiness so vile has utterly destroyed a simple wish.

How was I to know it would be a piss pest?

Daily events  include moping up ever expanding puddles of pee in select areas of the home, closed doors equal containment our only defense against further defilement; the occasional cat turds.  Go figure, take that cute (evil can look very pretty, no?) feline and place it lovingly upon a clean, freshly prepared litter box only to have said now possessed beast look piercingly up, at and right through you, hop nimbly out of the offending box, take three steps to the side and piss a wee lake at your feet. WTF?!! Time and time again. And early mornings just outside the master bedroom follow suit, ripping me from light slumber if I hear it, the tell tale tinkle … and if I’ve not heard that I won’t fail to hear the scritching scratching of sharp nails attempting to hide the crime under a layer of what … air? Stupid cat.

And in a land where wasting paper is a sin, our paper towel and bleach consumption is bordering on a crime. Something has to go. Oops … did I write go? I meant change 😉

When I look at cat yin and then at cat yang, I resent the yang and long for the yin. Rufus is feline purrfection, while Luna(tic) is simply fucked.

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Yin to my Yang

Lucky for Luna the days of burlap sacks, bricks and creeks are long a thing of the past. But what to do?

The classical definition of insanity is expecting a different outcome while repeating the same actions over and over. I know that I’m not the insane one. That prize goes to Luna, while I suffer the consequences.

Her behavior has banished her to the life of an outdoorsy cat. That’s got to suck cause she looks indoorsy.

2103©iphoneographythis,2013©myronun rau

For Sale in Freiburg

Flowers of the Sun

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