Sunday, May 13, 2012

Let's Generalize About Hungary!

Here are some things I think about Hungary, after my in-depth research based on four days of being there.

The land: I hate a lot of it. Much of Hungary like a Thomas Friedman book: Hot and Flat. (not crowded, though, thank god.)
Once I got up into the northern part, though, around Eger and Miskolc, it got interesting and hilly and forested and full of castles and pretty.

I think I would have liked Eger (and Lillafured, in the national park between Eger and Miskolc), but I had to speed through as the sun was setting.

The cities: Pecs was pretty cool. Student town, bikers, people out in the main square, etc. Kecskemet and Miskolc were a little less active. As with other post-communist countries, Hungary is full of ugly blocky apartment towers. These are really soul-crushing.
Miskolc

Completely wild speculations about people: I've heard that Hungarians are kind of pessimistic. My hosts agreed with that one. I also heard that Hungarians were really smart (Erdos, Liszt, von Neumann, a bunch of nuclear physicists, etc) and my hosts could neither confirm nor deny that. I think Hungarian art is kind of neat, based on the one museum of modern Hungarian artists I went to. It's all a little blocky and abstract but not minimalist or nuts like Rothko or Pollock. This guy made some neat things. Also, all the restrooms have interesting yet recognizable men/women signs.

Food: again, I know only the junk food. Langos is my favorite Hungarian pastry. No wait, Pogacsa is my favorite Hungarian pastry. Cancel that, Kürtőskalács is my favorite Hungarian pastry. I guess they have goulash and peppers and all sorts of other things, but they do have good pastries.

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