The Athletics World Championships and the Sweltering Budapest

Unforgettable nine days of excitement and and fun but also of extreme heat are now over. The games had several competitions that were very exciting right in to the last attempt/meter. Some incredible last attempt gold turnovers in a couple of disciplines and even a medal for Finland. But the temperatures were above 30 degrees (centigrade) every day except for the first day. There were some days that it was more than 35 degrees.

Nemzeti Atlétikai Központ (The National Athletics Center)
Nine busy days of spectator sports

I had a ticket to all the sessions, but I had to skip a a couple of morning sessions because of my work and the Saturday morning session too because of the heat. Otherwise I sat in sector 218, row C and seat 3 of the National Athletics Center for the whole games. I had never been to an event this big and I was a bit afraid how stressed out I would be because of the crowds. I wasn’t really at all. Of course lining up in the heat to get in was not always that much fun, but other than that everything was pretty smooth.

I took public transportation for about half the times I went to the stadium and the other half I used my Brompton. It was a bit faster to use my bike for the 11 kilometers than taking the bus-subway-tram combo. I also managed to get a slight sunburn on the first Sunday while biking back from the morning session. Also no matter how slowly I tried to go, I was quite sweaty when I got to the stadium. But even the public transport was sweaty.

Probably the most interesting events for me were the heptathlon, decathlon, women’s pole vault and men’s javelin just to name a couple. The expectations for the first Finnish medal after a long dry spell were high in the women’s pole vault. Wilma Murto managed to get a bronze medal which was almost a disappointment. She had done so well in the previous important finals of her career.

Heptathlon 200 meter start
Holidays and being a tourist in Budapest

As I said in the beginning, I still had to work for the first week in Budapest. But now I’m on my three week holiday. I stayed at the campsite for a couple of more days and visited the city and it’s sights. Elina gave me a lot of helpful tips and ideas, because she used to live in Hungary for some time.

Szimpla kert, a bar in a ruined building.
Szimpla kert interior design. (Yes, it’s an old pommel horse in the back.)
Országház (Hungarian Parliament Building) from the castle hill.

The Memento Park was one place that I regretted not visiting on my first trip to Budapest in 2005. It is a collection of the Soviet era statues and memorials from the city and it’s also documenting the history in other ways. The most creepy thing there was the video installation that was edited out of the secret police training videos. Now I know how to do a house search carefully without the inhabitant finding out…

Very much a Soviet statue!
Stalin’s boots. This is a replica of the boots that were left of Stalin’s statue after the Hungarian Revolution in 1956.

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