As the haze of my jet lag subsides, and I once again reconcile myself with the reality of paying $5.00 for a block of butter (Oh the joys of being home!), I submerge like the bloated corpse of Luca Brasi from the Northern hemisphere, with a suitcase full of Primark clothing, and a phone jam-packed with pictures of toilets.
Over the past year have received strange looks from people whilst taking pictures of toilets across London, up to Scotland & the Orkney Isles, in Hungary, Germany, Italy and Dubai. They are, of course completely correct in their questioning stares. I may be a bonafide loon. But writing about toilets is a nice, safe way to push my brain past the HUGE Bruce shaped anxiety bubble which currently looms over my mind. Now, with all the time in the world – I am for the first time almost in my life, a genuine unemployed person – I am struggling to find any creative inspiration or mental spark. It’s been four whole days since I, having settled into our new flat and my unsolicited position as house wife of two, have had no real work to do and so far I’m coming up dry. Dry like an 18 year old’s tongue, the morning after drinking two bottles of off-brand Kahlua, then vomiting so hard and long out their hostel room window that they pull a variety of muscles between their ribs.
So, Budapest. It’s a city in Hungary and I went there late last year.
If you fancy yourself all worldly or just a bit of a pretentious dick, feel free to pronounce it; BoodaPesht.
Budapest has a huge variety of historical styles; romantic marble and tiles clashing wonderfully with cold war austerity and brutalism. Mmmmm, such art wank.
The Magyar Szecesszió Háza or House of Hungarian Art Nouveau is a 6-7 level, center-row terrace, filled with gorgeous furniture, prints, ceramics and other arts. To the Alphonse Mucha fan girl in me, this place is a stylistic wet dream. Those amazing double height wooden windows let in just enough light to cut through the dust’n’gloom to reflect light off various goodies crafted from silver, glass, pewter (not very reflective, I’m aware) polished bronze and glazed tiles. The three levels of the museum proper (i.e. open to the public) are put together like a hoarders cave or old-fashioned antiques shop. There was something pretty to look at in every direction.
As you walk in the front door there is a sweet little cafe and gift shop area. Behind a wall of furniture you will find a little old lady sitting at a desk selling tickets to the museum. As a museum professional (read: wanker) I will explain to my fellow museum wankers that this isn’t really set up like a museum. No labels, no exhibitions, very few real displays. It’s more like you’ve somehow found yourself in the basement of a museum where beautiful things are stored while waiting to go on display. But with no collection care or pest management.
The public toilets are on the lower level down a wrought iron staircase. Though they weren’t full-on art nouveau as I had hoped, they did have a few touches that made me happy and warranted a review.
The toilet signage was original and gorgeous. I appreciate how much work must have gone into hand stitching these figures in classic 1910-20’s lounging attire. Seems the toilet is where you go to smoke in orange silk pajamas.
The internal door-dividers were one of the best nouveau details, with long curved glass panels. The yellowy-orange glass made me think 1970’s but I loved that they were hinged in the middle so could be folded open if required. Why that would be required in a museum bathroom, I don’t know but, where ever they originated (maybe a theater or restaurant?) I’m sure this function was worthwhile rather than just decorative.
The toilet stalls, sinks, soap dispensers, driers etc. were all pretty standard, but the lack of other patrons made it rather nice and peaceful.
Cleanliness : 8/10 Not bad.
Interior : 7/10 I liked the lack of people. Four stalls would have been plenty had there been more customers on the Sunday afternoon we visited but no one at all is always preferable.
Exterior : 9/10 The exterior of this building is stunning, a point which is often less easy to improve for most businesses. It was easy to get to on the cool as fuck cold war, brutal looking Budapest metro system. I was massively over charged for a gin and tonic in a bar nearby but even hyper vigilant tourists are fools from time to time.
Safety : 8/10 I found Budapest to be super not stabby, which I always appreciate. The museum was quiet and run by sweet little old ladies so really unless they were killing babies and hiding them under the floor boards, I think we were pretty safe.
Snugglitude : 7/10 The museum or “show rooms” were gorgeous and well worth the time to wander about. The bathroom could have been more in keeping with the theme, perhaps with nouveau sinks, carved stalls or even just stylized soap dispensers but as with everything, that costs money and I get the feeling this place is run on a pretty low budget. If I were having a panic attack, I could have left my husband upstairs to read in the cafe while I sequestered myself in one of the stalls to shit-a-plenty without too much of an issue.
Total : 39/50