What a beautiful country. . .Hungary! Within three days my husband, ‘The Maestro’, and I will be leaving on a jet plane for a four-city stop on our way home from one of the most extraordinary travel experiences of our lives.
Hungary – and Budapest! – is nothing like I expected; and everything I hoped for. Our bank warned us against fraud and the black market, our travel friends warned against pick pockets and gypsies. Nothing! Nothing could be further from the truth about my Hungarian experience.
From our very first moment in Budapest every Hungarian we met, socialized with, made friends with, did commerce with kept their promises, laughed heartily, made friends easily and credited their homeland by knowing Hungarian history and honoring its future.
Hungary is a country of vibrant color – the reds of paprika, the whites of billowy clouds, and the greens of fresh-cut grass in the countryside. Everything holds promise for a bright future for this bread-basket country. The music! Literary arts! New business! International relations! Hungarian music is as traditional as it is cutting-edge.
Among the young people I met, Hona David was exceptional.
A Hungarian rapper, and member of the Championship water polo team, David is stunning on a rap stage. Hungarian is a lyrical language and rap stars take on the personae of ‘Godfather-styled’ gangsters. I sat next to David (a tall, lanky gentleman) at a dinner party and was so taken by this young man who smiles so easily and expects so much of himself.
Book news? There was plenty! I hope to one day represent author Lakatos, Levente – the author of ‘Love Club’ as the breadth of his titles cross the Atlantic. Meeting over coffee a couple weeks ago we (and two of our mutual friends) discussed the very real possibilities of bringing ‘Leve’s’ writing to the Kindle market. A journalist by trade, Levente has begun a series of spine-tingling intrigue – and he’s one author I know I will NOT have to beg to do marketing! His sincerity, and that of his colleagues, is heart-warming.
New business is thriving in Hungary, no more so that in Budapest where I watched as a young woman in my neighborhood opened her second Budapest restaurant. Hungarians have a ‘The future couldn’t be brighter!’ attitude that drives them forward. So! Now with Dobozka Deli ‘Little Boxes’ open for business at 14 Raday Utca, ‘The Maestro’ is relieved from cooking while we defrost the refrigerator and pare down our food stocks.
Having ‘Little Boxes’ next door for take out gives me a ‘hopping downstairs’ reason to get away from books, books, books. But Hungarians, I’ve found, are as eager to make friends of those across the ocean as those in the neighborhoods. International commerce and international relations are an integral part of the psyche of young Hungarians. I’ve made the acquaintance to the most humorous, prankster of an architect while in Budapest. Fun, laughter-filled, language-play awaits you if you are adventurous and smart enough to choose Hungary as a European get-away.
During our last days in Budapest, we took an admonishment in stride and went to visit the House of Terror museum at 60 Andrassy Utca. This is the location of hundreds of murders, and thousands of bone-crushing torture sessions during the paranoid and brutal Nazi and Communist regimes that enslaved the Hungarian people. The location has become a testament to the resilience and glory of all that is Hungarian. In spite of its ~fifty years of dark-days oppression, Hungary pushes its children forward, and honors its ancestors, with the realization of its strength of character, and humanity. We survived! Is their national cry. Rightly so, theirs is the pride that includes flag-furling national vanity during the Olympics, and appropriately placed anticipation when the Nobel Prizes are announced. Hungarians are among the innovators, inventors, and leaders in The Arts. In general terms, they are prideful, without being boastful; make their point using entendre, not volume; laugh often, and make friends easily. Here’s ‘A Toast’ to Hungary!
So, fare well Hungary! And, Thank you! I couldn’t have had a nicer time.
This blog post is dedicated to my adopted-niece, AnnaMaria Winters, whose family lives on the Hungarian-Romanian border.