Visiting the Opera House was definitely on my bucket list for things to do in Budapest. We were fortunate enough to be able to go to a ballet performance.
I honestly think I enjoyed the music more than the dancing. Not to say that the dancing was not incredible, I was just in awe by the orchestra. I really enjoyed how the dancers would move with the music and found it a little easier to follow the story. The emotions being portrayed were obvious. I was very surprised by the use of characters in the performance. There were several costumes and roles being played, which I was not expecting. I found the main dancer to be absolutely phenomenal and I am amazed that she danced so beautifully for hours. The Opera House itself was very grand and the atmosphere itself felt very rich.
The House of Terror was another museum on my list of things to do. This museum has exhibits revolving around the fascist and communist regimes within Hungary. It also holds as memorial for those killed during that era, which includes those tortured and killed in this very building. The museum itself was very ominous. The first exhibits we walked through provided excerpts with the history of German and Soviet Union occupation, which was a good review for what we have been learning in our History class. The basement was very difficult for me to walk through, because this was the section of the building that victims were detained, tortured, and killed. There was a suicide prevention room, which looked like a solitary confinement room with padding on the walls. There were also many small dark rooms and you could see objects of torture.
This wall shown above is in the middle of the museum and displays faces of the victims.
We were also able to visit Statue Park, which is located a little farther from the center of the city. This park holds statues/monuments that were placed in Budapest by the Soviet Union during its communist era, which lasted until 1989. These statues were removed from the city center because of the sad memories they provoke, but they also reside in the park for remembrance. The park was definitely not over-crowded with tourists. It was cool to see that the statues were extremely large and had a Soviet Union vibe, compared to other statues that are currently within the city.
There is also a replica of Stalin’s boots that remained after protesters destroyed and knocked down the Stalin Statue in Budapest during the revolution of 1956.
I can understand why it would be hard for locals to have these statues still scattered around Budapest. Sometimes I forget how long Hungary was occupied for. I am so grateful for study abroad and being able to learn so much about Hungary. This park is out of the way and not a huge tourist destination, but so important to go for a visit.