From the 10th to the 14th of May I was in Budapest, invited by Sander. I joint him and his city-master fellows to visit one of the most important Eastern European capitals. It was also an opportunity to visit a country not as a tourist, but within this academic program. And it has been really interesting...
Let's start with a bunch of day-photos:
You all can see pictures of the Old District: Fisherman's Bastion, Széchenyi Chain and Erzsébet bridges, Turul a várban, the Parliament, St. Stephen's Basilica, the Buda Castle, the newly constructed Opera and Palace of Arts, and two interesting new building areas, Marina Part and the Gaphisoft Park.
Besides the "historical" pictures, the ones form Marina Part and Gaphisoft Park are interesting from a social perspective. The first one, because recreates the old soviet style of housing, although its intention is to provide a safe home for middle-class people. The second one is interesting because it is neither Budapest nor Hungary at all. It is America! I don't know if Budapest needs that, but what it actually doesn't need is the projected private campus to train white collar workers for the based companies. University should be a place for knowledge and criticism, not a training factory to produce obedient skilled workers...
Now, a few night pictures:
The motives are more or less the same, so there's hardly anything to add.
The last day we visited Dunaújváros (Dunau New City), called before Sztálinváros (Stalin's City), an old soviet city built up from nothing in other to provide work force to the steel company Dunaferr. I'll talk a bit about this last one later.
Dunaújváros has been shrinking population since 1990s, and about 30% of active population is employed by the local steel company. It's economy basically depends on this factory, besides the local efforts to diversify their industrial production. The place serves the factory, that's all. All their future depends on if the factory is able to survive or not. Simple and clear.
Dunaferr, a really old soviet factory (now in hands of Russians and Ukrainians) is an open door to the past. This is not only because the factory itself is old and careless as hell, but also because the working conditions aren't very safe. Two notes about the current owners; when the spoke-person to which we talked was asked about the life expectancy of his workers and about existing health-care plans for developed respiratory diseases of his staff (there were breathing iron all the day, so we did too), this guy had not a fucking clue, not a single answer.
God save capitalism and neoliberalism...!
the pictures are also geotagged in Picasa.