Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Goodby Budapest

On our last day in Budapest we went back to the Jewish Museum and the Dohany synagogue and took the tour of the synagogue (see left). We also stopped at the nearby Rumbach synagogue (photo on right) that closed as an operating synagogue in the 1980s. This synagogue was built in 1872 by the Viennese architect Otto Wagner. The sanctuary is octagonal and the fa├žade is Moorish and striped with intricate designs. The synagogue was sold to the state in the 1980s and partially restored until money ran out. It is now back in the hands of the Jewish community, but is basically a shell with no interior furnishings, albeit a beautiful shell. Additional photos can be found on the Budapest album link.

We also had an opportunity to visit the Hungarian Jewish Museum which is housed next to the Dohany synagogue. The museum was in the news in the 1990s when its entire collection was stolen while the building was covered in scaffolding. The thieves climbed the scaffolding, went in through the windows and removed everything. Several months later they found virtually everything in a village in Romania.
In the evening we attended the Budapest Opera House for a performance of the Barber of Seville. The opera hall is the way you imagine opera halls should be with layers and layers of gold balconies with decorative figures. We were in the second row so had a wonderful view of the orchestra as well as the stage and could look behind us and take in the entire expanse of the opera house. At the intermission people gathered on a rooftop balcony with views of the city.

The next morning we arose early to catch a cab to the airport for our flight to Warsaw. We connected with our rental car service and soon were in a small Fiat heading towards Radom. We had brought our own GPS (Garmen 275) and had the one from the rental car as well. We found theirs difficult to program so were happy to have one we had already figured out. With its guidance we found our way to Radom, a city south of Warsaw where my grandfather came from.

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