Heading off to Budapest
The sun is sliding down the horizon at Logan airport, Boston USA, as we, Alan and Diane, wait for the Lufthansa plane which we will board to start our journey. We will travel to Frankfurt, Germany and then on to Budapest, Hungary.
We look forward to an invigorating ten days spending time catching up with friends, colleagues, and family members. Alan will present his research paper in person at the MAFITT (Hungarian Society for Philatelic Research) meeting in Budapest on Saturday and then he plans to spend time browsing local stamp shops. We are very pleased to be meeting with representatives of Magyar Posta regarding our expanding business relationship and the artist stamp proposal. We also plan to meet with both an internationally recognized art historian and an art curator. Between all that, we look forward to enjoying tasty meals at local bistros and cafes, doing some sightseeing, and visiting with family and friends.
Arriving in Budapest
It’s Tuesday evening and Alan and Diane have landed in Budapest and are heading from the Liszt Ferenc airport to stay at an apartment in the city. It is a very cozy studio with a loft in a convenient location on Terez korut.
The plan for Wednesday is to get settled in to the apartment, pick up some supplies and make a quick trip to the Buda side. The trip to Buda takes a bit longer than expected. First a stop to change currency to local forints, then a few jogs in and out of both sides of Oktagon train station to buy tram tickets. Three tries to get on the tram in the correct direction and we are finally heading to Buda side where we take some lovely photos of the Parliament building from the Buda side of the Danube River.
Directly across from the Parliament building on the Buda side of the Danube River, we walk through the extraordinary Batthyány Square. This square is named after Lajos Batthyány, the first Prime Minister of Hungary and has a statue of him, erected in 2008.
Batthyány Square is noted for the Szent Anna-templom (Church and Parish of Saint Anne), a Roman Catholic church built by the Jesuits priests between 1740 and 1762; its one of Budapest’s most beautiful baroque buildings.
Before heading back on the tram, we stop for one of the best iced lattes in Budapest out of a field of many good iced lattes and cappuccinos.
On the tram ride back we had a brief interlude when the transit officer puts us off the tram for not properly validating our tickets. So, after paying our fines on the spot, we were allowed back on the tram.
Before heading home for the evening, we encounter the quaintest Singer sewing machine shop .
Then we stop for a tasty supper at the Turkish restaurant nearby. And of course, the lovely weather made for a most enjoyable outdoor meal.
Presentation to MAFITT
On Saturday Alan had the honor of presenting to MAFITT (The Hungarian Philatelic and Research Society) at the National Stamp Museum of Hungary as a fulfillment of his induction as a member. His research was on the “Society of Hungarian Philately (USA) from a Historical Perspective”.
Karoly Szucs awards Alan his Certificate of Membership from MAFITT (Hungarian Society for Philatelic Research) upon completing his presentation in Budapest! Please read his research on the Society for Hungarian Philately. There is a link on the Hungaria Stamp Exchange (hungarianstamps.com) website for viewing the full presentation.
The presentation was well attended by local MAFITT members as well as Isvan Glatz, Vice President of MABEOSZ, the Hungarian Stamp Collector Association. Following the presentation there was a discussion relating to the presentation.
Later in the week Alan was pleasantly surprised to find “instant recognition” among some of the local stamp dealers who were aware of his MAFITT presentation.
Stamp Museum of Hungary
The Stamp Museum has quite an amazing collection of Hungarian stamps as well as as stamps from other countries of the world. Both Karoly Szucs, MAFITT secretary, and Gabriella Nikodem, Stamp Museum Director, give us individual tours of the collections. The Hungary section starts with postal history which dates to the late 1700’s and has a wide variety of stampless covers up to the first stamp used in Hungary in 1867.The first stamps printed in Hungary were in 1871 as a lithographed set of 6 stamps of Franz Joseph. Every variety of this stamp, mint, used, on cover and in mint blocks is on display. There is a marvelous exhibit of the next two major series of stamps from 1874 to 1915, which are the numeral issues and the Turuls. (The Turul being the mythical warrior Bird of Hungary) The exhibit frames following those are all major error prints, including the inverted Madonna.
Hungary is not the only country exhibited in the stamp frames. Many varieties of stamps are displayed from Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, Oceania and North America, including many US rarities going back to the Postmaster Provisionals and Hawaii issues.
Stamp Dealers of Budapest
Alan had fun visiting in person with stamp dealers and auction houses that he has worked with previously and those he was meeting with for the first time. Stamp dealers, shops and collectors in Buda and Pest come in all ages and sizes in both Pest and Buda!
It was so interesting, being able to browse through physical stamp shops in Budapest. These are fast becoming history in the United States.
Alan had the opportunity to meet with Peter Darabanth, President of Darabanth Auctions, internationally recognized auction house for philatelic materials and fine arts. They had a wonderful discussion about the stamp market on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
Next door to the Darabanth building is an exquisite Herend gallery with impressive lion figurine.While heading to stamp shops we either walked or took trams around the city which is a fun and interesting activity.
Visit To Magyar Posta
Alan and Diane met in person with our account manager, Katalin, and the manager of the stamp issuance program, Krisztian, giving us insight into the process of topic selection for the program. It was amazing to see the physical size and presence of the Magyar Posta facility! The Hungaria Stamp Exchange is truly fortunate to have established relationships with such premiere philatelic vendors and philatelists.
FINA World Championship 2017 and Danube Arena
After leaving Magyar Posta, we enjoyed cappuccino and espresso at the “Mad Dog Café” in the front of the building.
From there we walked to see the facility that will house the FINA 2017 Championship in the freshly being built Danube Arena. Upon entering the Danube Arena, the wall honoring past Hungarian Olympic Aquatic champions is extremely impressive. Good luck to all participating athletes this summer!
Dinner With Friends in Pest
We enjoy sharing dinner with longtime family friends Tibor and Judit at the Szlovakia Etterem which is a local pub and restaurant. It is a bustling establishment on a Friday evening which makes for lively conversation. It is a lovely evening so we walk the roundtrip from the apartment, returning past the impressively restored Nyugati Palyaudvar Railway Station, built by the Eiffel Company in 1877.This is the same company which built the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty!
On the Road to Szeged
On Saturday after the MAFITT presentation, Alan and Diane drive to Szeged to visit with family. We arrive to check in to a lovely hotel the Tiszavirag and soon meet up with cousins Gabi, Ezster and Alexandra. Son David is away in Germany competing in the European (inline) skating championship in which he went on to win a silver medal!
After having an incredibly tasty fish dinner at the Kiskorossy Halaszcsarda which was complete with a local wedding reception. We all went into town to see the fireworks and celebrations that were part of festive Szeged Day. On Sunday we walk around Szeged and the Belvarosi Hid (bridge) to see the booths at the street festival, stop at the market to buy local paprika and then visit the beautiful Szegedy Dom (Cathedral).
Before we head back to Budapest we look through some family photos and take time to enjoy delicious local pastries.
Fifty thousand steps of sight seeing: In and around Buda and Pest
The Hungarian Parliament building is one of the most beautiful Parliament buildings in the world. It has stamps honoring it in the early parliament and harvester series as well as the modern day collector series sheets of various views of rooms within parliament. From the Buda side looking out over the Duna (Danube River), the view seen is a classic panorama.
Also on the Buda side visitors can either walk or take the Funicular Cog Railway to the castle area
which is the location of the Turul statue of the mythical Warrior Bird,
or see the Nemzeti Galleria (National Gallery of Art) housed within the former palace building.
Walking around the former royal palace we get a little sneak a peek at the ministry of defense building construction, then head up and around to St. Matthias Church and the Fisherman’s Bastion monument and the scene of King Stephen’s coronation 1000 years ago.
Back on the Pest side of the city, a stroll down tree lined Andrassy Street yields glimpses of elegant boutiques as well as a “Museum of Terror”.
And who can resist a look at the crawling pub of Budapest.
Art Research and Family Archives
We were delighted to re-connect with internationally recognized art historian and art curator to discuss a possible memoir or exhibit of Csaba-Graber and an artist stamp proposal over the next two years. We all agree there is much to research and consider in this timespan.
Heading Back to the USA
As our second busy week in Budapest comes to a close, we pack and are very pleased with having completed so much in such a short time in Hungary. We also know that there is much work left to do. So before we finish packing we make time for one more leisurely dinner at the Mensa Café not far from the Opera House. The next morning Alan and Diane take a taxi to the Liszt Ferenc airport at the end of a very meaningful trip to Budapest.