Monday, October 10, 2011

An Encounter with a Great American

Not this statue.

Down the final bits of tourism here in Budapest. My plan for the day was to take an English language tour of Budapest's incredibl beautiful, ornate Hungarian Parliament Building. I wanted to do that tour when I was in Budapest last year, but there were no English language tours available when I was here. So that was high of my agenda for this visit. I got on the red line of the Metro for Kossuth Lajos ter. Why there is this statue of a man and a dog in the middle of the subway station, I do not know. When you emerge from the underground at this stop, you walk out and immediately there is one of the world's great legislative buildings:

Only I wasn't going in. No English language tours today. Thwarted again! Oh well. Maybe next year. But there was something else I wanted to see in nearby Szabadsag, or "Freedom Square."

To get there, I had to walk past the statue of Imre Nagy, a communist reformer who was deposed in the 1956 Soviet re-invasion. A film crew of some sort was filming something or other around Mr. Nagy.

He did not seem to mind. I was looking for a Great American who I had heard could be found here in Szabadsag. This is a large plaza that contains the quite controversial Memorial to the Soviet Red Army in honor of their liberation of Budapest from the Nazis in WWII:

This is one of the last bits of communist-era statuary still standing in downtown Budapest. I don't see any sign of the man right around the memorial, so I walked down the plaza.

Nice fountain at the end of the plaza, but where is he? I finally ask two police officers who speak enough English and they walked me right over to him.

Ronald Wilson Reagan! The 40th President of the United States of America.

The Hungarian government erected the statue honoring President Reagan in honor of the role he played in ending the scourge of communism and bringing down the Iron Curtain.

When I was photographing the statue, a group of American tourists came up and a woman asked me if that was Ronald Reagan. I said yes. She went back to her group and made some comment along the lines of, "I'm still waiting for trickle-down to work." I had to defend President Reagan's honor! So I shot back, "Thirty years of prosperity isn't a bad record." There you go again.

It is a popular photo spot.

Popular with a lot of tourists. I mean, who doesn't want to get their photo taken with President Reagan.

And that concludes the tourism portion of the vacation. After that, I took a tram down the Danube to the Elizabeth Bridge to hit one last thermal bath: the Rudas.

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