Sunday, 28 November 2010

Same route, new perspectives

A friend visiting from UK last week asked me if I had stopped cycling to work as it had turned much colder. I, of course, laughed contemptuously, and explained that I cycled all through last winter and saw no reason to stop. Years of living in Sheffield had taught me the importance of avoiding being seen as 'nesh'.

But having said that, sometimes I choose to walk to work so that I can observe the world at a different scale. So last Friday I walked along my usual cycle route, the Danube footpath.

Parliament showing the British are coming
The first thing that I saw that I would have otherwise missed was the stirring sight of the Union Jack flying from the Parliament building. I assume that it was because of some visiting UK government dignitary, and so I started wondering who it might be. That morning I had been listening to Radio 4 on Internet radio and had heard how some Tory tosser had been railing against the 'fact' that the working classes were breeding more quickly than the other social groups because of (previous) government policies. I immediately switched into conspiracy theory mode and deduced that the aforementioned dignitary was in Hungary talking to its far right politicians to discuss how they wanted to deal with 'the Roma problem' (putting them in camps, and sending their children to separate schools have been mentioned). If the Tories propose this soon, you read it here first.

But I may be wrong.

My next new sight was the statue of Mihály Károlyi, who was briefly president of Hungary immediately after World War 1. I had noticed the previous evening that small group of people were gathering around his statue, clearly paying respects as on that Friday morning there were a few wreaths and bunches of flowers. People here do this a lot to politicians they particularly respect: I am not sure that we Brits do the same, and I cannot imagine groups of people gathering on cold winter evenings to lay flowers on the grave of the contemporaneous Stanley Baldwin.

But I may be wrong.

Margit Bridge looking towards Harmashatar Hegy

Anyway, after the Károlyi Memorial the path follows the river, and the view opened up to reveal a beautiful early morning pink-tinged frosty mistiness looking up to Harmashatar Hegy. Traffic was flowing freely over the newly-opened Margit Hid, and as usual my spirits lifted watching the river flow by.


  1. Hi! You had a similar route and took the same pictures I took on Friday morning, but probably I was there some hours later. Here's my version of Károlyi.

    Károlyi's Memorial was sight of a gruesome Jobbik demonstration a few weeks ago, they blame him for Trianon. So it was nice to see that not everybody is with Jobbik.

  2. Interesting - yes, I read up about Karolyi just after seeing this and saw that he was seen as to some extent responsible for setting up a renegotiation of the treaties at the end of the War. It sounded like he wasn't expecting it to turn out as badly as it did for Hungary.