A strong wind blows on the Danube, spreading the news left and right. While waiting for a tram on the left bank, I spotted an EHF Final4 Anita Gorbicz poster. I hadn’t seen any such advertisements on billboards in Budapest until today.
In the sea of tourists set on wining and dining, the Women’s Final4 is the last thing you’d think about. I brought up the word “handball” today to a French. Nothing, no reaction. I was expecting a sign of approval on his kind face. Not today…
So, I headed north in search of the Roman remains of Budapest. Just in theory, because the modern Budapest has very little to do with the original settlement. Obuda (the old Buda) and further north Aquincum have been integrated in the contemporary urbanism. Archaeological diggings find place under public highways and next to residential blocks.
Some of the places on my map, like the villa of Hercules, were difficult to find. But as soon as I returned to more ordinary paths, the Aquincum museum offered me an enriching selection of objects excavated recently in the Budapest area. The most intriguing thing you will find in this museum is an organ, a genuine music instrument from the Antiquity, known to us through literary and epigraphic sources. Moreover, a Hungarian scholar has reproduced the instrument that we can listen to on the museum’s second floor.
Other highlights are a facsimile of a modest roman villa, based entirely on finds at Aquincum and a temporary exhibition showing the museum’s researchers’ favourite objects that normally sit in a box in the warehouse. A delicate small samian terracotta depicting the popular god Mithras, a children’s game and two millefiori brooches were among my favourites.
Getting back to Budapest’s city centre after having visited the Roman colonia was another story. If one wishes to take the boat back, then he should get a bus until the next station north and anticipate a 20 minutes walk to the Danube without the help of guiding boards. It is worth it, even if you do not have wind proof clothing.
In the evening, as I was still under the spell of the (almost) ten euros cake that I just had at Gerbeaud, another billboard came my way, on a deserted street. The northern and southern winds were telling me all day long: it’s soon Final 4 day!