A Disproportionately Fulfilling Afternoon

One summer about five years ago, I had a personal mission to visit every museum in Budapest. At that time, there were forty-five. I made it to thirty-six. I have yet to make it to the Ambulance or Police Museums. I enjoy museums, but one of the inhibiting factors is the cost.

Recently, I received my new membership card from the European Press Association identifying me as a veritable journalist. Having heard that this authenticity gives free passage to sail through the doors of Budapest Museums, without once disturbing my pocket anchored wallet. Yes, I had been more than anxious to test this theory. Anxious in both senses of the word: excited, yet nervous. I hate being embarrassed in public.

The Fine Arts Museum currently has a double extended exhibition: Botero and Klimt. Being a fan of both, I the cravings were gnawing at me, so Ron and I decided we needed to go yesterday. This was my chance to test my pass.

Two ticket offices open, I chose the one with no one in line. This would reduce humiliation if there were to be any. As I walked up, she put the closed sign down while waving me across the hall. A party of five were already confusing the ticket seller in Spanish; others were lining up behind me. Stand tall, hand over the pass, ask if it provides a discount. With a cheery smile, the attendant states “For you it is free.” “Yes” I mutter like an unappreciative child, “but I want to see Botero and Klimt.” Again she smiled “It is all free for you. Enjoy!” Enjoy? I am already ecstatic. This has just saved me 3,500 Huf or $18.00 or 13 euros. Ron gets in free since he is a docent. What a wonderful day!

The museum is missing 120 pieces of their regular collection. They are all on loan to the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
Knowing I can return any time and having been here dozens of times already, I wanted to see Botero. We ‘discovered’ him into our lives when we were in Portugal years ago. There was an exhibit of replicas of his paintings, but they did have some sculptures too. 

His trademark is creating out of proportion. This is his version of the Mona Lisa. Notice the facial features. We were overjoyed to be able to drink in over 3 dozen of his paintings. In addition, they had a documentary playing about his life and work. Though we intended to only watch a small portion, we stayed for the entire ninety minutes. For once I was satisfied with not having my camera. It would have been a distraction. To read more about Botero, click here.

After more than 3 hours soaking up Botero genius, we ventured to the Klimt exhibit. Vienna, of course has the largest collection of Klimt and we have been to that museum. This exhibit generously encompassed the Secessionist group of which Klimt was the first president. None of the paintings for which he is best known within popular culture were on exhibit. In fact, most were from his band of brothers, Klimt just lending his name as the ringer. Closing the museum, we went for dinner. It was an exceptionally good day.

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