Vienna and Budapest

비엔나 국제센터 본회의장에서 호주 대표와 함께. 왼쪽이 필자 법무부 류호근 검사, 외교부 안은주 외무관, 바지나스 수석법무담당관

Vienna and Budapest had been the twin capital cities of the Empire of Austria-Hungary in the 19th century and until the end of the World War I.
On the occasion of the 36th annual session of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) held in Vienna in July 2003, I visited both cities. During the UNCITRAL session, I had to participate in the meeting which took place in the Vienna International Center near the Danube River. In the weekend, fortunately I had a chance to visit Budapest.

부다 왕궁 전경 다뉴브 강변의 의사당 다뉴브 강과 페스트시 전경

Short Trip to Budapest
Budapest has a real attraction because there are a lot of things to look around, fundamental changes of living during the course of transition of the Hungarian economy, and so on. Individually, I wish to bathe in the exotic open-air spa.
The weather in the Central Europe was fine compared with the early summer days in the previous month. Though the sky was changing quickly with clouds, we had little rain. The temperature was pleasant under 25℃ during my stay in Budapest.
Vienna has several stations in each direction. I reserved a seat of the train for Budapest, which departs from the West Station in Vienna. In my compartment, I had a company of a Chinese-American student traveling around Europe, a German gentleman teaching the German language in Taiwan and two Hungarian girls speaking English very fluently. So it was not boring to travel for nearly three hours while talking to each other.

부다페스트 동부역 부다페스트의 명물 세체니 다리 필자가 투숙한 Art'otel

What to Prepare for the Journey
Budapest is one of the best cities for sightseeing in the Eastern Europe. Its rival city would be Prague with plenty of resemblances between the two cities. Numerous attractions out of a long history and the relatively low level of general prices have brought millions of tourists a year.
When the train just arrived at the East Station, Keleti Pu., the platform was crowded with passengers with good expectations, guest-hungry taxi drivers, salesmen from nearby accommodations. A tour guide book advised to avoid unmarked taxis and not to believe anybody except the registered servicemen.
Also it was said that the ATMs in the street corners are much better in the exchange rate than the exchange counters in the main street. At that time, one Euro was equivalent to 260 Forint while one Forint was around five Korean Won. I was told to buy a free pass. The Budapest card cost 3,950 Forint for 48 hours, 4,950 Forint for 72 hours, respectively. But you may check the balance because one way ticket of transportation in Budapest costs 120 Forint, the admission fee to museums is 700 Forint on the average. You may jump on the tram, bus or subway without a ticket. Unfortunately you have to pay a handsome penalty if you encounter ticket inspectors with red armbands.

부다성으로 올라가는 케이블카에서 내려다본 풍경 국립미술관으로 사용되는 부다 왕궁 전면 마차시 왕 기마상과 어부의 요새 지붕

Recommendable Sightseeing Course
Budapest is composed of Buda and Pest. The Danube flows between the two cities. Since 1849 when an English engineer called Clark Adam successfully constructed a chain bridge on the Danube, the two cities have been consolidated into the biggest city of Hungary. Every weekend the Chain Bridge, Szechenyi, is usually crowded by pedestrians with no traffic allowed to pass.
So the Chain Bridge is a starting point of city tour as is the case with the London Bridge on the Thames, or the Eiffel Tower on the Seine. I walked to the funicular railway in front of the bridge. Then I climbed to the hill of the Castle District. It commanded a spectacular view under the beautiful sky. The Royal Palace is now occupied by the collection of fine arts and sculptures. There are other museums specialized in the Budapest history, contemporary history, military history, etc. I came across the Fishermen's Bastion, Matthias Church, King Matthias on horseback, the Trinity Tower, and Hilton Hotel with a contemporary facade along the street in the Castle District.

국립미술관 밖의 조각상 지하철 에스컬레이터 오페라 하우스

The Hungarian National Gallery houses a variety of Hungarian works of art dating back to the 13th century and the period of the Turkish Occupation. It seemed to me the quality of those fine arts has been undervalued by the Western critics owing to the local nature of artists and the ideology-first communist regime. When I came in the gallery, a special exhibition of portraits by Adam Manyoki was being provided under the theme "In Europe's Princely Courts".
Down to the Moscow Square by bus from the hill, I took the line two subway to downtown Budapest. I was quite impressed by the escalators of 60-70 meters long and deep in each Metro station. It is because the Metro line passes under the bottom of the river, while the initially constructed line one is shallow just beneath the surface.
You can go to the Parliament, once the center of the so-called "Velvet Revolution" in the late 1980s. Then to the St. Stephen's Basilica, Andrassy Avenue, the Opera House, the Heroes' Square (Hosok Tere) and the Millenary Monument. Behind the square, suddenly I came across a quiet different landscape - a castle with a surrounding pond and a spacious park with a big spa inside. It seemed to be one of the favorite places of Budapest citizens.

건국천년 기념비와 영웅광장 세체니 공원 세체니 온천입구

Unforgettable Experiences
As for me, the Hungarian bath and the traditional food with beer Dreher must be unforgettable. I visited Gellert Bath annexed to Gellert Hotel. Frankly speaking, I was disappointed with the warm, not so hot, water. The interior was somewhat extravagant. However, the Hungarian cuisine was much better than expected in terms of the taste and price.
Another "must do" is, in my opinion, to visit the Jewish Synagogue near the Astoria Plaza. Behind the building, the garden was covered with tombstones of the victims of Holocaust during the World War II. In the backyard, to my surprise, there was a man-made willow with stainless branches, which are immortal. I thought the Jewish people who survived Holocaust dreamed of the everlasting things in memory of their relatives, friends and neighbors perished during the war. Though in the cinema "Gloomy Sunday", Laszlo Zabo was one of them.

유대인 시나고그 전면 시나고그 중정의 묘비명 홀로코스트 피해자를 기리는 스텐레스 기념수