Trafika Europe 11 - Swiss Delights

A Wider Sea

The hotel looks like a pyramid with a flat top. From the balcony, my view takes in almost the entire city and a line of green hills in the distance. It ’s an odd-looking building, post-communist, yes, post-modern. After the ‘Chinese wall’, it was Egypt ’s turn. I sleep a deep sleep of happy exhaustion. So that I can make my way directly to the museum, which will show me its treasures at eight. (Special permission, special guide: a photograph documents my visit.) A regional museumwith imposing rooms that effortlessly bring together paleontology and paintings of battles. I make a rapid tour of the display cases with bones and archeological finds, with crystals, with sables and ground squirrels, rare helophytes, traditional costumes, documents and city maps. Finally rooms with portraits of local personages gazing into the morning with serene expressions. For a brief moment I entertain the thought of staying here in silent tête à tête with the history of this area. But time is pressing and I wrap up my brief visit as a voyeur into a secret hour. On the neighboring Tompa Square the Hungarian national poet Sándor Petöfi waves from his pedestal. The pathetic gesture could not be left out, but since the statue is less than life size, the gesture seems mangled and ridiculous, as does the statue as a whole. Was there not enough money? Or was the Hungarian minority forced to make do with third-measures? The


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