Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Hello, Szombathely!

Reminiscent of someone's rotting feces and on par with our politicians' moral qualities, a revolting stench of ASS hits your nose with the strength of a thousand fists.

The unexpected olfactory attack penetrates the deepest parts of your subconscious so suddenly and insidiously that you fall right back out of the tram and onto the sidewalk, only to vomit all over yourself.

All doubts disperse, it becomes painfully clear: you have arrived back in Budapest.

My beloved city welcomed me home with this memorable experience, after spending two weeks in the delightful town of Szombathely. It was only my third time there, but it has already become my second favorite city, after the (homeless)capital.

Like I've noted before, I had the opportunity to use a proper DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera for the duration of my stay, thanks to my lovely girlfriend's dad. It's not anything too serious; a Canon EOS 1000D with kit lenses, aka. Canon's cheapest entry-level DSLR. The key to photography is not in the equipment however, but in the photographer's eyes - this is something I've learned after messing around with (often broken) point-and-shoot cameras for so long, especially after people with expensive DSLRs leave comments on my photos saying they wish they had such 'capable' equipment :-)

I spent 16 days in Szombathely, during which I took over 1,500 photos. That's with me barely paying attention to photography, as I was spending time with my girlfriend instead - but still, I somehow managed to take an average of 90 photos a day. :)

So now we shall see what it would be like if I had a (proper) camera, as I've had none for the past year and a half. This was the first time I had the opportunity to use an SLR however I saw fit.

As you can see, it was really fucking cold. What can one do in such freezing temperatures? Well drink, of course!
This was the first time in years that I drank Gin-and-Tonic again, and I realized why I used to like it so much: because it's gooooood!

The shot above was taken in Szombathely's dirtiest little pub, next to the train station.

But let's get down to business already!
During my first visit I found an abandoned Soviet military base. It has a lot of big buildings, which are unfortunately almost completely empty inside. The most interesting thing I found was a piece of a newspaper written in cyrillic letters, all the way from 1989.

Naturally, I made my way to the roof straight away. :)

When I first visited Szombathely this summer, I found a way onto the top of one of the 10-story highrises. Looking over the city skyline, I immediately noticed one building that was towering over the rest of the city with its 14 stories.

That might not sound like a lot for someone who's from a place with skyscrapers and the like, but in Hungary, it's rare to find something much taller than 10 floors, and that's with good reason: in the goldmine of century-old architecture and history that most Hungarian cities are, a featureless glass building or skyscraper would look absolutely useless, as would any building that sticks out from the skyline too much.

Of course, the Socialist era didn't pay too much attention to that, nor did it have much of a sense of aestethics:

As I found out, this is the tallest building in the city of Szombathely and the surrounding area, and as soon as I spotted it I decided I was going to conquer it the next time I'm here. And the icing on the cake? The three-story antenna tower on top :-)

It overshadowed the city's cute little 3-4 story buildings, like an evil monster of concrete...

...what a menacing sight.

Here's the above shot, only this time... from the other side:


To be continued.


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