Posts Tagged With: PARIS

Adventure Journal-Freedom Square, Budapest, Hungary

Budapest and Paris are my two favorite cities in the world. Both originated and grew on the banks of a river; Paris along the Seine and Budapest along the Danube. The Danube is the second longest river in Europe after the Volga. Since the Middle Ages it has been the connecting route between Eastern and Western Europe. It starts out in the Black Forest and end in the Black sea. It is more than 770 miles long. In Hungarian, it is called the Duna. Hungary’s other two rivers flow into the Danube. The Tisza and the Drava. In 1992 a canal was opened to connect the Danube with the Main River and the Rhine River. This created a new river route linking the North sea and the Black Sea.

Budapest and Paris both are seeping with history.

Freedom Square, also called Liberty Square, is a prime example.

In Hungarian, it is called Szabadsag ter.

It is home to the American Embassy.

The Plaque on the wall of the Chancery in memory of Cardinal Mindszenty.

The Plaque on the wall of the Chancery in memory of Cardinal Mindszenty. “THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA GAVE SHELTER TO CARDINAL JOSEPH MINDSZENTY IN THIS BUILDING BETWEEN NOVEMBER 4, 1956 – SEPTEMBER 28, 1971″Freedom Square was built on the site of the old Austrian barracks. The Austrians built their barracks in 1786. They became a symbol of repression. So, at the end of the 19th Century the barracks were destroyed.

The Square is large, open, and beautiful.

It is lined with buildings with massive facades, such as the former Stock Exchange, which is today the headquarters of MTV Televizio, National Television.

Opposite it is Hungary’s National Bank, Magyar Nemzeti Bank.

North of the Square, laid out in a half-circle, is the only remaining monument dedicated to the Soviet Russians. it is an obelisk in memory of the Red Army soldiers who liberated Budapest in 1945. The American Embassy is located on the opposite side of the street.

There is a statue of President Ronald Reagan behind this Russian obelisk. There is an inscription that says “A country boy against the evil empire”. It is written in both Hungarian and English. The placement of President Reagan’s statue behind this Russian monument was hardly an accident. It just goes to show you that the Hungarians have a great sense of humor.

Now, as you walk towards Kossuth Square you will pass a statue of Imre Nagy. He was one of the heroes of the 1956 revolt against the Russians. He was executed by the Russians.

There is a great story behind this statue of this American general. This statue is in the center of the park on Szabadság tér, facing the American  Embassy, is that of Harry Hill Bandholtz, Brigadier General, U.S. Army, who was Provost Marshall to General Pershing at the end of World War I.

On August 11, 1919, General Bandholtz arrived in Budapest as one of four generals (English, French, Italian, American) to become the Inter-Allied Control Commission for Hungary, primarily to supervise the disengagement of Romanian troops from Hungary.

He became famous when, on the night of October 5, 1919, as President of the Day of the Commission, mainly through bluff, armed only with a riding crop, he prevented a group of Romanian soldiers from removing Transylvanian treasures from the National Museum.

The statue was erected in 1936, and stood throughout World War II with the inscription, in English, “I simply carried out the instructions of my Government, as I understood them, as an officer and a gentleman of the United States Army.”

In the late 1940s the statue was removed “for repair.” It lay in a statue boneyard until the 1980s, at which time it was placed in the garden of the U.S. Ambassador’s residence, at the request of then-Ambassador Salgo. It was re-placed in Szabadság tér at its original location in July 1989, just a few days before the visit of President Bush.

The new inscription on the back reads: “General Harry Hill Bandholtz, head of the American Military Mission, who on October 5, 1919 blocked the removal of the treasures of the National Museum to Romania.”

Between August 1919 and February 09, 1920 he was the U.S. representative to the Inter-Allied Supreme Command’s Military Mission in Hungary. The Military Mission was charged with disarming the Hungarian military and supervising the withdrawal of the Serbian and the Romanian armies that were occupying Hungary. According to the General’s accounts he prevented the arresting of the Hungarian Prime Minister, Istvan Friedrich by the Romanians. He is also remembered for preventing Romanian soldiers from looting the Hungarian National museum on October 5, 1919. It is little wonder that the Hungarian people dedicated a statue to this General.

Major General Bandholtz is widely considered to be the “father” of the United States Army’s Military Police Corps.

Parizsi udvar, or the Paris Passage, is one of Budapest’s most popular sights; not for its shops, but for its architecture.

It is both Byzzntine and Moorish at the same time, or perhaps, a bit Venetian; or, perhaps Art Nouveau.

In any case, it is a strange mixture. The name goes back to the 19th Century.

It alludes to the covered passages which were then fashionable in Paris.

                                            (The Crown of Saint Stephen)

Construction for saint Stephen’s Basilica (Szent Istvan’s Bazillika) began in 1851. It was completed in 1906.

The streets leading from Freedom Square to St. Stephen’s Basilica are lined with delightful little restaurants and shops.

The sidewalk cafes will remind you of Paris. In the Summer they are very busy.

Parking was never easier. Modern high rise garages store cars on raised platforms.

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Serena Williams Is Queen Of The Clay Court

 Sobbing Serena booed by French in 2003

Serena Williams broke down in tears last night after being booed at the end of her semi-final at the French Open.

The world number one was given a hostile reception as she
was knocked out of the championships in Paris by Justine Henin-Hardenne,
of Belgium, in three sets, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.

 

Justine Henin-Hardenne at the 2006 Medibank In...
Justine Henin-Hardenne at the 2006 Medibank International, 12 January 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Williams was booed every time she questioned a call, even
when justified, and, towards the end, every first serve she missed was
greeted by loud cheers.

Defeat not only cost her the title she won last year but
ended her run of four consecutive Grand Slam titles. “I’m not used to
crying but it’s a little difficult,” said the 21-year-old, whose elder
sister Venus went out earlier in the tournament.

She said she did not believe the crowd’s reaction was the
result of anti-American feeling in France. “Sometimes they just want the
underdog to win,” she added.

After initially denying that the crowd had made it harder
for her,
she stopped and added: “That’s a lie, it does make it harder. I
just have to be a little stronger next time.” Williams, who
side-stepped a suggestion that race might also have been a factor, said:
All my life I’ve had to fight and this is just another fight I have to
win”.

 

She said she would return to her home in Florida to work on
her serve. “I enjoy the challenge and I look forward to my next
tournament at Wimbledon.”

THAT WAS THEN 2003. THIS IS NOW 2013.

 


PARIS – The look in her eyes said “don’t mess with me” and no one
dared to cross Serena Williams during an unforgettable French Open
fortnight when the American proved she “really, really wanted” the title
“more than anyone else”.

 

Just how much she wanted it was clear for all to see when at
5.02pm local time on Saturday the world number one fired a lethal
198-kph ace, tossed her racket, sunk to her knees and arched back to let
out a primal roar that went on and on and on.

 

The guttural howl that marked her 6-4 6-4 win over 2012 champion
Maria Sharapova
was so loud that perhaps even her 71-year-old father
Richard
could hear it back in the United States.

As his youngest daughter added more silverware to the family’s
overflowing mantelpiece, a 16th singles grand slam trophy no less,
Serena was left to reflect on a journey 11 years in the making.

When she hoisted the Suzanne Lenglen Cup for the first time in
2002, little did she know she would have to wait until 2013 to
experience the joy of winning the claycourt major again.

 

 

 

“After 11 years it’s incredible. I want to come back here and win
again. I think I’m Parisienne,” a delirious Serena told the crowd in
French after becoming the oldest woman to win the title since tennis
went professional in 1968.

The last time she triumphed at the spiritual home of claycourt
tennis, the 31-year-old American turned out to be an unstoppable force
as she went on to complete what she dubbed the “Serena Slam”.

After conquering the surface that is considered to be her
weakest, it could well be game on for yet another “Serena Slam” as she
is now on an astonishing 31-match winning streak following her humbling
of Sharapova.

The top seed, who flashed up 10 manicured fingers and then six
more on Saturday to signal her total grand slam haul, completed a
remarkable turnaround from 12 months ago when she surprisingly perished
in the first round.

“I’ve always said a champion isn’t about how much they win but
it’s about how they recover from their downs, whether it’s an injury or
whether it’s a loss,” said Serena who is already guaranteed a place
among the all-time greats.

“I think that really creates a real champion. My winning appetite
is really high. I definitely want to continue my journey to get a few
more.”

Since that shock 2012 defeat Serena has scooped up titles at
Wimbledon, the Olympics, the U.S. Open and now Paris. She has also
climbed to the top of the rankings and has an incredible 75-4 win-loss
record
in the past 12 months.

Sharapova succumbed to her for the sixth time in a year on
Saturday as Roland Garros hosted a final between the world’s top two
women for the first time in 18 years.

DREADFUL RECORD

The 26-year-old Russian, who was playing in the juniors the last
time Serena was flashing the victory sign in Paris, has come a long way
since she likened herself to a “cow on ice” on red dirt.

But if she wanted to block out her dreadful record against
Serena, she was in for a horrid shock because as she walked up for the
opening service game, the giant screen on Philippe Chatrier Court
flashed up “Face-to-Face: Williams 13, Sharapova 2”.

It was little wonder the Russian was 0-40 down within a blink of
an eye. But she somehow managed to blast her way out of trouble before
breaking for a 2-0 lead.

Greeting each one of her winners with cries of “Come On”,
Sharapova capitalised on early Serena errors to move within a point of a
3-0 lead.

The American simply glared, picked out her target and made the
statuesque 6-foot-2 (1.88-metre) Sharapova skid around like a giraffe on
ice as she smashed the ball away to break back.

Serena left Sharapova grunting, lunging and scrambling in despair
as she moved into a 4-2 lead but the second seed refused to roll over
and dragged herself level at 4-4 when her opponent sent a backhand wide.

But there was no reprieve for the Russian as Serena kept bombarding her half of the court with relentless baseline winners.

The American broke serve for a third time with a screaming forehand winner that flew past her outstretched opponent.

After sealing the opening set in 51 minutes it was only a matter of time before Serena moved full throttle ahead.

The world number one was less than amused when she failed to
convert five break points in the opening game of the second set but at
1-1 the pressure began to mount on Sharapova who surrendered serve with a
mis-hit backhand into the tramlines.

The 15,000 fans packed into Chatrier Court got firmly behind the
2012 champion as they lustily cheered her winners but all the support in
the world could not save her from flatlining to a 13th straight defeat
against Serena.

Serving for the championship at 5-4, Serena thundered a 190-kph
ace, boomed down a 195-kph ace and finally banged the 198- kph effort
that snuffed out Sharapova’s hopes.

“Getting to the Roland Garros final is not too shabby…I put up a fight today but it was not enough,” said Sharapova.

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