BUDAPEST, DAY THREE – This day started slowly. We left around 9.30am and went to the opera to pick up tickets, then joined a walking tour of Budapest. The guide was pretty good and it was reasonably enjoyable. The tour finished at the Fisherman’s Bastion and Mathias church which were both stunning, although it was very cold. It was cold enough this day that walking wasn’t helping. We overpaid for lunch at the Fisherman’s Bastion then went to visit the National Gallery. I really enjoyed it. It is really annoying how they make you take your handbags and jackets off before you can enter though – it was much too cold to be parted from our outer layers. (My sister was in just a t shirt under her jacket, poor girl.) At least this time I remembered to rummage through my bag and take out my phone. (See: Day two.) Afterwards, it was back to the apartment to rush to get changed and made up for the opera.
One of the things I was most excited to do whilst in Budapest was go see a show at the Hungarian State Opera House. I was worried that it would end up dropped idea, as neither of my travelling partners was that interested. But my sister pulled through for me in the end. Today, we went to see Parsifal by Wagner. I hadn’t really researched it and had no idea what to expect, as we had initially made plans to see a different show on a previous day, but I was ridiculously excited anyway. The opera started at 5pm and would carry through until 10pm. (In this respect, I could understand my sisters reluctance to go. Even I was nervous about sitting through three acts of this.)
The opera hall was magnificent and decadent. The show was accompanied by a full orchestra- even harps! It was a dress rehearsal, but that just meant we could buy cheaper tickets. The first act was a bit difficult to get to as I tried to adjust to sitting there, and to what the story was about. There was a long intermission where we went to have a highly decadent cake at the opera cafe, and I felt reasonably refreshed after that. (My sister, who was feeling fairly bored and grouchy, became a lot more cheerful after I bought her cake. Of course.) By the second act I was hooked and by the second intermission I wasn’t happy for the break but keen for the show to start again. It was just so good. The protagonist himself- Parsifal – was incredibly sleepy throughout the performance and looked downright miserable by the end but the rest was fantastic. I enjoyed it a lot more than the previous days concert, even though it was equally religious and heavy. Granted, it helped that the seat was much more comfortable (relatively, theatres are never going to be relaxing to sit in, let’s be real here)
The day was ending on a high after beginning fairly low. I’d been a little grumpy all day- the downside of being introverted, and anxious on top of that, means one gets sick of being around people pretty quickly. The opera was a nice pick me up, and one of the overall highlights of the holiday.