Friday, June 17, 2005

House of Fun

It's not Madness, just a trip into the houses of parliment in Hungary. Went there with the visitors last week to escape the rain. Great thing was that it's free for EU citizens. So if you're over on holiday from another EU member state, bring along your passport and pop in for a nose around.

After going through airport-style security, everyone in the group waits inside near the main entrance. To be honest, the entrance was big but the stairs looked better to photograph.

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Those stairs lead to these stairs. Huge. Lots of statues and busts (the marble kind, steady on).

Taking photos of the wrong thing, this is a huge chandelier and although it looks bright here, it's almost in night-mode. Apparently there's hundreds of bulbs in it and the only way to change one is to go into the roof and then down a special passage into the chandelier itself. It's massive and looks just like the death-ray thingie that the big ships use in the film Independence Day. The crown jewels are on display directly beneath this thing, so maybe it doubles as some sort of anti-theft device.

Go on, guess what it is. Looks like some huge cogwheel is meant to run over it but this is one of the many cigar holder racks just outside the main session halls. Aparently smoking was allowed everywhere in the building accept in the debating chambers. So MPs going in, would have to leave their cigars in their specially numbered slot and pick it up afterwards. They said the quality of the speaker was judged on the cigars left outside. A good speaker would be "worth a havana".

The seats of power. Well, not really but almost. We were in the other half of the parliment that used to be like the equivilent of the English Lords. That ended a while ago and now this bit is used for conferences but we were told that it looks exactly the same in the other half of the house. They even have the little voting buttons set into the desks. Oh, one more thing about this place. Gold. Lots of it. Loads of gold leaf used in the building and especially this room.

A quick view to the outside showing the foul weather we were sheltering from and were about to head back to. In truth, we didn't experience much of the bad weather as we just headed to a cafe for some warming gulyas (aka Meaf soup).

Overall I thought the parliment was great. A bit stuffy for some, a bit quick for others, but if you don't have to pay you can't argue with the price. Recommended.


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