( haymaking in hungary )

A Journey North: The Holiday Begins

Day 4. 21 July 2004

Wednesday. Morning comes again, and so does breakfast in the vaulted, basement of the Marco Polo Club. After Zoë’s description of last night we decide to go to the Ethnographic museum, and take a variety of metros and trams down to the parliament by about nine-thirty. The museum doesn’t open until ten o’clock, so we cross the street and sit in the gardens opposite the parliament building and watch the world go by. There’s a gardener watering the flowers, stopping midway to drink from the garden hose, and then later, upon finishing the circuit, washes himself in gushing water.

Within the grand architecture and main hall of the Néprajzi Múzeum, we aim to go directly to the ethnographic exhibition, but are directed by an enthusiastic attendant into the Pipes and Pipers in the Carpathian Basin and Beyond temporary exhibition. I’m glad we did. It was a fascinating tour of traditional pipes and piping – I had previously not realised that the tradional Scottish bag pipes extended geographically quite so far…

And then to the main event! Folk Culture of the Hungarians is a tour of traditional Hungarian life, with the focus on agriculture, the exhibition also shows us the traditions and daily life of Hungarians through the ages. An hour and a half later, and a quick tour round a very strange and eclectic third exhibition, and we leave the museum at eleven-thirty, heading back on a tram and the M1 metro to the Széchenyl fürdö thermal pool, situated in the city parks.…

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