Budapest


Finally we docked in a city at the ideal location, though our tour started from outside the city on busses. This turned out to be a feature, not a bug.

Commie housing
Commie Housing Sucks

We got to see the scars of communism. Central planners devised an ingenious idea to fabricate countless thin cement slabs that could then be rapidly dispatched, house-of-cards style, to build enough 500 square foot, cold-in-the-winter, hot-in-the-summer apartments to house three million residents so that everyone could hear everyone else. (We have the NSA instead.) Extending for miles, they are butt ugly.

The communists were uncommonly fond of concrete. For one stretch of roadway, all the utility poles are of poured concrete, cinder-block style, tapering modestly to the top. They stand straight, I’ll give them that, but I suspect that any that did not stand straight did not stand for long (consult Aesop). Since I never saw them repeated elsewhere, I presume they were a failed experiment and their inventor probably spent his subsequent years in a gulag just south of the arctic circle.

Regensberg 1168

The communist history introduction we all agreed was depressing, but subsequent walks about Budapest left us all feeling a great love for the city. After dinner, we six took a stroll across the chain bridge, a suspension marvel of the mid-1800s, in a warm evening of shorts and tees. The lights from both sides of the city (Buda on the west; Pest on the east) are unspeakably beautiful from the bridge.

Regensberg 1180
Robin and Christi on the Chain Bridge, last night

Unable to toss my companions from Amsterdam into the Danube (I am not speaking of Robin and Christi), I left it, lighter and pipe included, on a handrail in the center of the bridge in the altruistic hope that some lucky traveler might enjoy a few more nights as I did, in blissful reflection of what a wonderful world has been left to us by the efforts of others, many long gone, and just as many still devoted to cherishing and improving our rich, sometimes cruel, often funny, enduring civilization. (#hashtag)


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