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Ödön Lechner

March 31, 2010
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Who’s Ödön Lechner? Why he’s the Hungarian architect who designed the roof you’re staring at right now! It’s the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest. According to  Wikipedia, his nickname is the “Hungarian Gaudi.” (Not a bad nickname to have.) I developed a slight obsession with Lechner while in Budapest last week. Nobody had warned me that Budapest is as close to an art nouveau playground as cities get.

I’d been wanting to see Budapest for years. I’m not sure when the fascination set in, but I have to admit, I’m partial to the Hungarian language. First of all, it’s a non-Indo-European language (for a person who only knows Indo-European languages, this is pretty cool). Second, Hungarian boasts multiple umlauts (just like German) and also has a LONG umlaut (by the way, that’s the not technical linguistic name for it, I think it might be called a double acute). So you can have the vowel u, ü, and ű. I couldn’t tell you why, but I found that magical.

After all this anticipation, I was terrified that Budapest wouldn’t live up to my hopes and dreams. Well, just imagine seeing numerous such extravagant roofs by Ödön Lechner, feasting on the best pastries you’ve ever eaten, swimming in natural hot springs turned into spas such as the Szechenyi Baths:

We spent two evenings soaking in the 38 degree water and jumping in and out of the 18 (!!) indoor pools. (If there’s one extraordinary thing the centuries of Ottoman invasions brought to Hungary, I would say it is the hot springs/ bathing culture.) I couldn’t have asked for a better vacation: architecture, baths, pastries. I even got to practise (what’s left of) my Hungarian! And let me tell you, my double umlauts were a hit.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 1, 2010 10:29 am

    I spent a week in Budapest in 2002, and loved the Szechenyi Baths. A truly remarkable city. Never knew about its crows though, but I suppose I just wasn’t looking.

  2. April 2, 2010 6:38 pm

    Hot springs and pastries are two of my favourite things on earth – what an incredible city.

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