Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Weekend Adventures

Today was back to work after a restful yet fun weekend. On Sunday, Dan and I explored the city and two special events. First, we went to Buda Castle to check out a chocolate festival. We didn't realize that we had to pay to enter the festival so we decided to explore the area around the castle instead. Here are a few photos.

This picture is the view on the way up to the castle. To the left is Parliament. The highest building on the right side is the top of Szent Istvan Basilika. Of course the river is the beautiful Danube.

A passageway through Buda Castle without going inside.

The National Library!! We'll be going here again this coming Friday for the presentation of the Mozart autograph which I mentioned in a previous post. 

This is a new area that was just built next to the river below the castle. It's amazing but a few areas are still under construction.
After we left the castle hill, we went to Andrássy útca. This entire street was closed down for the National Gallop. The National Gallop is a horse race which takes place on Hősök ter. They bring in all of the dirt needed for the track, plus all of the stands and lighting. It's a huge event! Andrássy útca is where all the vendors are for food, drinks, crafts, souvenirs, and information about all of the countries participating in the event. There were many neat exhibits. Here is a large two-person bicycle type of thing that we saw.

There were so many delicious looking treats that it was hard to resist. We saw this display of a horse head made of candy in honor of the Gallop.
We walked down the entire street, 18-20 blocks I think, until we reached the race. We were able to stand near the fence and see a little bit. There was a lot of excitement as everyone cheered for the racers. We found out that the race we saw was the final race of the National Gallop. There was a girl who won from a town called Tahitótfalu. Her name is Gyöngyi Molnar. Here is a photo we took from that race.
My favorite part was hearing the music. Before the race, they had two trumpets play a fanfare. Another man played this horn, shown below. It looks suspiciously like the Lehel horn we heard about in Jászberény.  I would be shocked if they played on the actual horn. Maybe it is a replica. Still, it was neat to hear. It had a unique quality that still sounded like a horn but different from the brass horn I play. I loved it! 

At the end of the race we saw, they played the Hungarian national anthem in honor of the Hungarian rider who had won. I think it is a beautiful piece of music. The music was composed by the Hungarian composer Ferenc Erkel. When the music was playing I noticed one difference between our countries. At home, I'm so used to putting my hand on my heart during our national anthem and seeing others do the same. That was not the case here. People just stand quietly while it's playing. I would be curious to learn more whether any other countries do a movement during the national anthem like we do. Hmmm, that might be the topic for a future post. Here is the Hungarian National Anthem:

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