Friday, April 3, 2009


I had a great time visiting my friend, Her Excellency April H. Foley, the US Ambassador to Hungary. She's the tall one; I'm the short one in the blue suit. Her tour of duty is over now, but we had one last hurrah in March. One of the official events I got to attend was the flag raising ceremony for the anniversary of the 1848 Revolution. Because of the threat of violent protests, crowds were kept very far away from the Parliament building, so it was a bit odd to have such a big ceremony for about 50 observers, a group of diplomats and military representatives from a variety of countries. The Hussars on horseback were cool. (Clicking on the photos will take you to larger ones.)

Taking a tour of the Parliament Building is an absolute must. The entry over the grand staircase is magnificent. Inside you will see the Holy Crown of Hungary, also called the Crown of Saint Stephen. There are a variety of stories about how the cross was knocked crooked.

Back when Parliament was for men only, they were allowed to smoke in the halls but not in the chamber. Cigars last a long time, so the men would place them in a numbered slot of a metal device conveniently located on a window sill, go in to hear a speech, and then return to finish smoking. Havanas were the longest lasting cigar, so a good speech, one that kept the men inside listening, was said to be "worth a Havana."

More later....

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