On this day in 1945, Soviet forces booted Nazi troops out of Budapest. Speaking of boots, can you imagine who once filled these? One little clue: It was not George Washington.
These boots here belonged to Joseph Stalin. (Click photo to enlarge.) Which was worse: to live in a nation occupied by Nazi troops? Or by Soviet troops? So glad you asked.
Given the choice, Hungarians decided they weren't too fond of Communism either. Actually, they were not given the choice. But after Stalin's death in 1953, and after Nikita Kruzhchev's secret anti-Stalin speech in 1956, Hungarians got busy and staged a revolt. In no time flat, Stalin got nudged off his pedestal.
Let's zoom in closer to see what's left. This monument and dozens more from the Soviet era have been collected into Statue Park, located on the outskirts of Budapest. Those folks had a clever idea: Rather than demolish these huge things, Hungarians decided to gather them in one spot, not to honor, but rather, to remember that chapter of history. Oh, I have so many more photos of that park. And a booklet. And postcards. Guess living here in the former Soviet Union is what makes this all so interesting. You'll forgive me, will you not, for not sharing more statue photos?
Because it's Valentine's Day weekend, for pity sake. How about we have a look at something a bit more delicate.
This will pass for delicate: A nice lady stitching up a storm. Visiting this indoor market is a must when snooping around Budapest. This place is filled with souvenirs, none of which is a particular bargain. And bargains, I do like. Unless we're talking about books. Then I'll fork over the cash rather easily.
Look what she makes, these magnificently embroidered items. Breathtaking to behold. Of course I bought a little something from her, maybe it was the little beaded purse for my niece.
By the way, I was raised on a Hungarian street in Ohio. Wait, let me rephrase that. We lived on Kertesz Road just south of Akron, Ohio. It had been the farmland of a Mr and Mrs Kertesz who had immigrated from Hungary years before we moved there in June, 1963. Kertesz means gardener in English. My point is. . .
Here we are at the corner of Kertesz in downtown Budapest. In Hungarian, it's pronounced close to Curtis. But we residents of Kertesz banded together and went a more exotic ~ kur-TEZ. That made things easier somehow.
See, up close: It's Kertesz Street. I'm wondering if Mr and Mrs Kertesz might have immigrated from Hungary during the revolution. That would have been a fine time to exit the country. Wish I had thought back in 1963 or so to ask them. . . All I knew back then was that they talked funny. Now I realize that they had seen so much history in their younger years.
So back to the very center of town, some more interesting architecture. A very European-looking church spire there in the distance. And. . . a McDonald's! Now that's a sure sign of independence!
How about you, dear Blog Reader. Have you any Hungarian connections? Been to Budapest? Or have you ever been involved in demolishing a statue? Please share! It's just us here, you know. ;)
PS: A Hungarian heart for you, *just because!*