Sunday, 15 November 2009

Day 6 - Budapest, Hungary

So I've just got back to my hotel room after dinner. I'm staying in a Chinese-owned hotel so had chicken and noodles. In six days, I've had McDonalds, Subway, Chinese, Pizza and any number of american-style coffee lunches. Oh dear. Still, the odd hungarian meal that I've had has been an absolute treat - despite the Hungarian peasant phrase for adding spices "fertlilize with manure" I'm a paprika convert.

Not much to report today (as you can probably tell by the food-related beginning) most of the day was taken up with a rather long journey back from Eger to Budapest, of which the highlight was the guy on the train attempting to sell me a chainsaw. A swift "nem" sent him on his way, although it was a rather nice chainsaw.

On arriving in Budapest, I had just enough time to visit the Hungarian National Museum - if you're ever in town, you should check it out. One of my favourite parts was the Milliard Pengő note (above). The amusingly named Pengő was the currency just after world war two when the country was in financial ruin. The 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 banknote was a result of the worst ever inflation in history, things were so bad prices doubled every 13.5 hrs for over a month.

In fact, thanks to their alliance with Germany in the two world wars, the country that gave us the Biro, the Rubiks Cube, the hydrogen bomb, Franz Liszt and Harry Houdini has had something of a rough ride of things over the last century - after WWI it lost two-thirds of its territory and three-fifths of its population due to the Treaty of Trianon - in 1920 much of Slovakia, Ukraine, Serbia and Croatia, not to mention enormous swathes of Romania belonged to Hungary. No longer - to the eternal chagrin to the nationalistic Hungarians.

So now, like Transylvania before me, I must be dragged kicking and screaming from
Magyarország - I couldn't possibly recommend the country highly enough. Over to Spain tomorrow - not H-related, but a convenient stop-off on the way to Hispaniola. I think that the Museum of the Americas could be a go-er, seeing as political events mean that I can't make Honduras for the time being. It's a 9am flight; so from my Chinese hotel, I bid you goodnight.


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