Ramblings by Dave – the Opera, Hungarian Traditions and Broken Relationships
We hit up the opera as part of our visit to the beautiful city of Budapest (life isn’t just about wine and brewpubs) after having a good experience at the opera in Paris. Though Jill wanted to buy $3 standing room only tickets I convinced her to spend $20 for seats in a first balcony box (which ended up being directly behind three other seats so our views were partially blocked).
We made a key mistake however, by not reading a summary of the opera (Falstaff) before we attended, then got a second surprise when the subtitles for the Italian opera were only in Hungarian (in Paris the subtitles were in both French and English). After the first act in which we had no idea what happened, I raced down and found a program and we were able to catch up. All in all a good time in an unbelievable venue.
There was enthusiastic applause after the performance ended, but then something strange happened and the people began a synchronized clap. Turns out this method of applause is a storied tradition in Hungary that is explained more fully here. Apparently, anyone seen standing and cheering is immediately pegged as a tourist.
Another Hungarian tradition is to not clink glasses together when toasting. The tradition, or lack of, dates back to 1848, when Austrians squashed a Hungarian uprising and started executing Hungarian leaders. After each execution they would clink their beer glasses, hence the reason why clinking glasses is verboten.
Oh, here’s a picture of me outside a new brewpub in Hungary. Just so you didn’t think I lost my way.
Did you know that Budapest is actually divided into a Buda side and a Pest side, separated by the Danube River? Buda and Pest were two separate cities before being combined into Budapest in 1873. Pest is the more happening side, while Buda is a bit more mellow. We stayed on both sides and just loved our time there.
We’ve now moved on to Croatia and just went to a museum that I can finally relate to. It’s called the Museum of Broken Relationships in the capital city of Zagreb and consists of stories of failed relationships and items from one of the parties that perhaps symbolized the relationship.
It was fascinating to hear the stories behind the break-ups and the meanings behind the items donated to the museum. One consisted of a love letter written by a women to her boyfriend that was never sent because he broke up with her through e-mail. She taped the letter to a mirror, then smashed the mirror. The pieces of glass and pieces of the love letter are encased at the museum. Also on display was an axe used by a spurned lover to chop his ex’s furniture into pieces.