Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Heated Run for the Museums

Friday was a spiraling day of museums to review for Frommer’s. I thought it best to hit all that I needed to revisit on Castle Hill, in one day. Today’s temperature was to hit 99F, but I could not put this off indefinitely. There are deadlines in journalism. The morning started at 10am with Hospital in the Rock. I must admit I have been avoiding this place, because there were feelings it was like the labyrinth under Castle Hill: just schlock and a tourist trap. It was not until guests of ours went and came back raving that I became interested. Of course, being personally invited by their marketing person helped too. This waived the 3,600 Ft entry fee.

After meeting with the director, seeing the intro historic video, and taking the tour, I’m a believer (just like the Monkees). The museum is fabulous and should be on everyone’s top 10 things to do in Budapest. The history was mixed with medical care, humanitarianism, and critical thinking. There will be more about this when my article is published.

From there, I went to the Burg Hotel to do an update on them. The Museum of Music was next, where I really only intended to do a run through to reacquaint myself, but the little old lady overseer had other ideas. She insisted I listen to pieces of music by each of the instruments in the collection. Each of the rooms with instruments on display has a computer with the history of the instrument in English as well as sample pieces. In the last room, she had me playing a couple of instruments; my pointing at my watch meant nothing to her. I was probably the only visitor this week. Being set back in a courtyard makes it a bit intimidating.

Koller Gallery has been trying to get this Frommer’s author there for the last three years; a month after the last book went to press. Today, I visited. What a delightful collection and varied assortment of art in differing media by a range of artists. Again, I spent more time here than anticipated, but this time willingly and without a chaperone. The top room is a memorial to Amerigo Tot, an artist born here, but who left for Italy early in his career.

Hidden in the Fortuna Passage is a door leading upstairs to a buffet lunch restaurant. When I have been here in the past, the prices were so incredibly cheap, it seemed impossible they could survive. This was my lunch stop, but it brought a surprise. The prices have increased considerably, though the food is still the same excellent quality.

Onward soldier, to the Military Museum. In the blazing sun, I walked around the building completely not finding a door that would open. As it turned out, it is closed until the end of August. This is a return to place for authenticity in writing. With this in mind, the remaining steeple of the Catholic Church bombed in WWII was nearby, so I stopped; the doors looked open and I have never been inside. Wrong, still locked up. On the side though, someone had left little stuffed toys. Why anyone would is anyone’s guess, but it stimulated my inner child. I arranged the various animals in different poses and then photographed them making up captions in my head. Maybe it was heatstroke.

I have always enjoyed the Budapest Museum and think it really is underappreciated. They have a newish exhibit, at least new for me: Budapest - Light and Shadow - The 1,000-year History of a Capital. I loved this exhibit. My favorite was the painting of the two small angels eating watermelon. It looked so refreshing in this heat.

Finally, I dragged myself to the National Art Gallery, where they insisted I see the temporary exhibit first: Monet, Gauguin, Szinyei Merse, Rippl-Rónai. Yes, this was truly a worthy exhibit to see, but it cannot be included in Frommer’s since it is only a temporary exhibit. I whizzed through and then headed upstairs. Each and every time I visit this museum, I have forgotten from the last time how much I really enjoy the collections. If I were not so doggone tired, I would appreciate it more. Maybe next time.

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