The Lack of Words (Budapest 1992)


New Year 1992/1993 I spent with a handful of friends in Budapest. It is maybe a little odd to spend this time of the year at an even colder place, but that’s how we were. Below a night view of a main land mark, the Matthias Church.


How do I know it was 1992? One of us, the young lady below, was carrying a book and spending every free minute with it.


The book was Robert Schneider’s sleep depriving novel Schlafes Bruder, which had just come out. 


Democracy in Hungary had just been 3 years old, and capitalism showed its claws. You could get amazing Hungarian desserts for a fraction of what it was worth. Our last meal in town was at the Gundel restaurant. One of the dishes was an unforgettable goose liver together with an aged white Hungarian wine. I rarely eat meat these days, but this dinner I would repeat any time.


Another interesting aspects of this visit was the language. Few people spoke any language we spoke. My best shot was to read the leftover signs in Russian, with my puny knowledge of that language.


The picture above I took to be able to look up the name of the place. I was making assumptions here. Nyalóka means lollipop, even in winter.


One of my interests back then was East Asian art, and Budapest has a famous collection that I wanted to see. To get there, I used a partial map with a few street names and and a cross for the museum in Gorky utca, Gorky street.  After a while, the map stopped making sense. I erred around for a while, until somebody took pity. I showed him the map and shrugged the shoulders. He started talking, but seeing my incomprehension, just shook his head and said Gorky utca, kaput.


Evidently, Gorky street had been renamed. Fortunately, this information was enough. I ignored street names and just relied on the street pattern to find the museum.


New year’s eve was a different affair, too. Street venders sold cheap noise makers in the (relatively) warm underground stations, and all hell broke loose. I liked this better than spending a fortune on firework.Unknown457

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