The Budapest Eye

We have always been fascinated by Ferris wheels, so it is no surprise that we admired (and photographed) the Budapest Eye from many angles before (and after) we rode it.  The Budapest Eye — also known as the Sziget Eye — towers 65 meters high over Erzsébet Square.  Only St. Stephen’s Basilica (and the Budapest Parliament Building) are taller at 96 meters.

The first photo was taken from Gellért Hill on the evening we arrived in Budapest.  Saint Stephen’s Basilica is the imposing building behind it.  We had hiked partway down from the 140 meter peak of Gellért Hill, which rises above the Danube River. The 25 second exposure captures the rotation of the wheel.

The second photo was taken as we stood in line for our ride just after sunset. At 2700 Hungarian Forint (HUF) per ride, slightly more than $9 USD, for a minimum of three rotations or 8 – 10 minutes, it is a pricey thrill, but worth it.  Calculating from time stamps on our photos, we rode for at least 15 minutes.

The third photo was taken from directly beneath the arc of 42 cabins on the wheel.  Each cabin is sized for four to six people.

This post is our entry in nancy merrill photography’s A Photo a Week Challenge: Three of a Kind and Dutch goes the Photo!’s Tuesday Photo Challenge – Wheel.

The 19th Century Military Technology of the Lajta Monitor

This is our entry in Dutch goes the Photo!’s Tuesday Photo Challenge — Technology.

When we were in Budapest this April, we took a one hour tourist cruise on the Danube to help us locate the major attractions. As we were passing the Parliament building, our jaws dropped when we saw a ship that is known to every student of the American Civil War — a monitor. When they were built, monitors were the most technologically advanced ships ever seen. They were constructed of metal rather than wood, sailed low in the water to expose a minimal target, and had a rotating turret that allowed the guns to be aimed without turning the ship.

A few days later, we toured the ship — the SMS Leitha (or Lajta Monitor) — on a rather cold and rainy day.  The Leitha is closely based on the 1861 design of the USS Monitor and was in service as a warship from 1871 to 1921. After that, the guns were removed and it was used to haul gravel.  The ship was rediscovered more that 80 years later and restored to its 1871 configuration. After the 19th century, monitors saw action in World Wars I and II and ships derived from the design were even used in Vietnam. It was pretty stunning to learn how advanced monitor ships were and how long they were in service. It was fascinating to explore a ship so close to one of the most famous ships in the Civil War (the Huntley and the CSS Virginia would be the others).

Attila József by the Danube — Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: View From the Side

This is our entry in Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: View From the Side.

Attila József (April 11, 1905 – December 3, 1937) is a well-known Hungarian poet.  In 1980, a statue to honor József was erected on Kossuth Square in front of the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest. During Viktor Orbán’s tenure as Prime Minister, it was decided to move the statue closer to the banks of the Danube.

Attila József published his poem By the Danube in 1936.  The following is an excerpt (our selection) from the poem, with translation by John Székely.

As I sat on the bottom step of the wharf,
A melon-rind flowed by with the current;
Wrapped in my fate I hardly heard the chatter
Of the surface, while the deep was silent.
As if my own heart had opened its gate:
The Danube was turbulent, wise and great.

And the rain began to fall but then it stopped
Just as if it couldn’t have mattered less,
And like one watching the long rain from a cave,
I gazed away into the nothingness.
Like grey, endless rain from the skies overcast,
So fell drably all that was bright: the past.

But the Danube flowed on.

I am he who for a hundred thousand year
Has gazed on what he now sees the first time.
One brief moment and, fulfilled, all time appears
In a hundred thousand forbears’ eyes and mine.

In the Danube’s waves past, present and future
Are all-embracing in a soft caress.

The photo was taken on April 21, 2019. Specs are:

Canon 200D, ISO 100, f/9.0, 1/80 sec, 35 mm.