Life in Budapest – never short of surreal experiences. Walking down Andrássy Avenue late Saturday evening, after a fabulous day at the National Gallop, we encountered hordes of zombies, limping and lumbering toward us, groaning in their gruesome way. “Mom, this is the best part of the National Gallop!” my son said.
Well, the National Gallop really is something else. I mean that in every sense. It has nothing to do with zombies – we just happened upon the ZombieWalk Budapest on the way back. The Gallop has everything to do with the (in my opinion) ‘cool’ parts of traditional Hungarian culture – archers shooting arrows from the backs of galloping horses (look, Mom, no hands!), gilt-and-felt-clad, mustachioed, mounted hussars carrying flags of Magyar towns large and small, and the thrill of high-speed horseracing around Hungary’s premier square. Both “natives” and expats/foreigners can enjoy it, all politicizing aside.
Of course a little cheesiness is inevitable when you’re trying to put on a “monumental reinvention of tradition” (yes, I wrote that in the Funzine special insert). The fake hussar outfits that competitors have to wear, and the reenactment of an 1848 battle against the Austrians in which the Hungarians win (though they lost the war in the end) might have been a bit much, but to me it’s all part of the mystique.
My son says next year, zombies should ride the horses. I’m not sure about that, but I’ll let the National Gallop and ZombieWalk Budapest organizers know.
For more on the National Gallop, see www.nemzetivagta.hu (not a sponsored link!). For more on Zombie Walk Budapest, see https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Zombie-Walk-Budapest/163994236997688 (also not sponsored – i am not a zombie, yet).