1591: A Three Museum Day
Tuesday 14th July 2020
We are spending a couple of days along the Danube. The Danube Bend, no less! For the uninitiated, the Danube Bend is known for pretty villages and where hills on both sides, force it to flow southward. We visited the source of the Danube (Donauquelle) in Germany, crossed and stayed along it several times this trip.
The day started well – a run along the Danube up to the prison.
Vac Prison was high security and housed Rupert Murdoch at one time! I think it is now a detention centre for 1000’s of refugees who cut Hungarian barbed wire and came in from Serbia.
Three museums would, on the face of it, be trop / OTT / too much. However they were all small and absorbing.
Buried between 1731 and 1838 in the crypt of the neighbouring church, a number of naturally preserved and fully dressed mummies, in their decorated coffins were forgotten for over 150 years and only discovered in 1994 during the church’s renovation. Reflecting a wide sample of Vác residents, the mummies include three nuns, 30 priests, the wife and child of the local postmaster, surgeons, and the founder of the Vác hospital and first director of the town’s school for the deaf. The mummies prooveed to be an entomologist’s dream … giving lots of evidence on health, cause of death (89% had at some time been infected with tuberculosis).
Records detailed the corpses by name and, in many cases, their life stories and the manner of their deaths can be pieced together from written sources. Most of the mummies have been transferred to the Hungarian Natural History Museum in Budapest for further research, but three are on display.
We visited the Capuchin Corpses on display in Palermo, Sicily, which we really did not like, but this felt less of a spectacle and more of a historic find.
The main square and church where the mummies were found.
2. Micro Museum / Mikrocsodak Múzeuma
After a sneaky burger, why is it a sneaky one … guilty, but yummy more like, we relocated a few miles south on the Danube bend to Szentendre. Danny and Lisa, now a few days ahead of us, had sent us a pin for a handy car park … we were lucky as we got away with not buying a parking ticket. Just plain forgot!
The museum was small, but not as small as the super tiny exhibits. The last one viewed is on the dissected end of a hair, with decoration on the cut end! … I couldn’t even see the hair. It is only possible to see the detail of all the exhibits with powerful microscopes. And the detailing was phenomenal. A Ukranian created all these by hand … often making a stroke between breaths. Not often you have to shut one eye to see exhibits! Worth looking also at Atlasobscura’s site as their images better show how tiny these works of art are. It blew us away.
Don’t drop it, you’d hoover this up in a flash.
And this is the book!
3. The Szamos Marzipan Exhibition
After walking through the patisserie and marzipan chocolate shop, I bought a ticket (J declined this one) and was given a sample. I didn’t go back and buy some, but headed past the kitchens and display of equipment up to the marzipan models exhibitions. Again and attention to detail and some models were a lot of fun.
A full size of Michael Jackson too …were he and Diana really the most interesting to make into life sized characters?
We will not visit Budapest this trip, but now I’ve seen the Houses of Parliament.
This was my favourite.
Szentendre is a reasonable sized town with lots of narrow streets, attractive architecture and more craft shops. Again, I thought them a little pricey, but this is a day trip from Budapest. Lovely to wander around, but again it must be horrendous with crowds in non-Covid times.
Hibiscus – one of my favourite shrubs.
We drove north from Szentendre along the Danube in the search of a toilet and ended up slightly away from the river in parkland. – Hazelnut Hill Playground, near Mogyoro-hegi Vadaspark – a walk with wild animals. Walking trails, toilets are open all hours, and there are taps too – camping and having fires is encouraged. Alone here other than 3 young’uns with their tents and smoky fire. Lovely, we even forgave the car with blaring music that arrived late and left at 3.30 a.m.
Neither of us was sleeping well anyway … we had a third furry body in the bed. Corrie had refused to come when called on an early evening walk; she’d been hovering up by a fire pit … guess she ate bones. At about 10.00 p.m. she started licking the floor and trying to chew the edge of the carpets. Refused water, and when I took her out, she frenetically tried to eat grass. Obviously trying to be sick. I rang our out of hours vet in the UK … really good advice from the on duty nurse … she will either vomit up, in which case check she doesn’t have it stuck or she will excrete it. Keeping and eye on her turned into her sleeping in bed my side … stroking her tummy reminded me of a comforting a poorly Maddy, although always involves jam tarts! The upshot was that Corrie had a super comfortable night, but neither J nor I did! All this too after she’d rolled in something really stinky and had to have a washing up bowl bath, which she hates. If only she understood cause and consequence!
1592: Visegrad Views
Wednesday 15th July
We had every intention of exercising, but poor sleep … and Corrie seems right as rain. We walked to the top of the hill to the viewpoint.
Walk passed snow blowing and clearing machines and the ski lifts.
Walk destination was this tower for the views.
CO2 waiting patiently.
View of the Danube and across to Visegrad castle / citadel.
The Danube in the other direction.
The descent took us past the Forestry Centre designed by the local architect Utak Makovecz in 1984. He also did the toilet block in our overnight parking.
Soup back at the van and J caught up in some zzz’s. I was pleased to get my knitting out … only to discover a dropped stick some rows back! We drove up the the citadel, but no room at the inn, so headed down into Visegrad. Rather than see if the town was as busy, we parked at a free car park by the Solomon Tower. We all, CO2 included, climbed this for the views.
Solomon Tower, mostly restored after a fire in 1950. Rubbish museums in side, but the views were good.
You can clearly see the hills that forced the Danube Bend.
The Palace, we opted to have an ice cream rather than go in.
Back to the same parking overnight … laundry done and BBQ, since we can. And Corrie is now muzzled around here.