Friday, September 15, 2006

Budapest, Day 4.

Today I declared a rest day. I caught a cold, so I didn't do much. Passed by Nyugati pályaudvar, one of the three Budapest train stations, where they have a super cool aerial photo of the city, and in which you are encouraged to take some little stickers pasted on some columns nearby and place them on the map, to express the areas of the city you are happy with, unhappy with, and give high or low ratings to. It is a pretty neat and fun concept and were I a politician I'd be sure to check this map every once in a while: as I point out in the movie, there are a lot of unhappy smilies concentrated around the area of parliament! (Most of the happy faces seem to be concentrated around the parks and public baths).

Anyway, I passed by the Nyugati train station because I was on my way to Margaret Island, where there's not all that much to see except a park, and where I sat down for a long time because the walk and the incipient cold I had caught somewhere made me very, very tired. It was good though, because the weather was quite nice, and I sat down in a pretty area over where the leaves on the trees were starting to fall, and....daydreamed.

I hadn't done that in a long while. :)

You know, there's a marked difference between the feel of the parks in the U.S. and the ones here in Europe.

In the U.S., the people in the parks are always busy--playing frisbee, soccer if in a group, reading or drawing/painting if alone. Couples are "together", but not quite together, because they do individual things not involving the other: one reads while the other sleeps, one paints while the other plays with the dog, etc.

Here in Hungary, pairs of same-sex friends sit down on benches and talk lazily to one another as they watch the people saunter by. Real couples, even elderly ones, kiss and stare languorously into each other's eyes, talking softly. Lone people simply people-watch. The sense in the park a lot more relaxed and peaceful. The only busy ones in these parts are the children, who are running about and playing.

Parks here in Hungary are no sanctums for sport: there are no joggers or rollerbladers here, and bicycles, always passing slowly and leisurely by, are rare. It seems that parks here are more like places of rest and to be enjoyed. The Germans have a word for this: geniessen. {shrug}

In these parks, time really does stand still, while it travels vertiginously as always in the city that surrounds it just outside. One quick glance at the watch revealed that, from the time I had sat down and started daydreaming at this quiet island park, two hours had already passed.

No comments: