Our last day in Budapest.  Actually it was only a partial day because we were to fly to Berlin late in the afternoon.  Zoltan was pre-booked for the day but was able to set us up with a colleague for the day.  We were picked up at the hotel just after 8 and taken to the Parliament Buildings.  There we met a guide for a tour of Parliament. 

It was well worth the wait!

There is a small park area in front of the parliament where there is a statue of Kossuth and also the "eternal flame" monument
The parliament building is so large, that I wasn't able to get the entire facade into one picture.  What we see here is actually the back of the building.  The front faces the Danube.  The building was modeled after the British parliament in London and has 2 identical wings for a bicameral legislature.  However, since 1945, the government of Hungary has been unicameral so the "upper house" wing isn't used except for tours. 
A couple of incredible statistics.  The parliament building has 691 rooms and 12.5 MILES of stairs!  The picture above shows some of the stairs.  This was the LONG staircase we walked up to get to the main level. 
Among the treasures in the parliament building are the crown jewels.  In this case it really is a crown.  The picture above left shows one of the two guards that are always at attention guarding the jewels.  Above is a picture of the crown.  The crown dates back to about the 12th century.
The case with the crown jewels is in the central hall.  This is a large 16 sided room topped by a beautiful cupola.  (See above)

On the left and right are long chambers leading to the legislative assembly halls.  We went down the corridor to the assembly hall of the upper house.  Statues decorate both sides of the corridor.
At the end of the corridor, we entered the Upper House.  We were told that the legislature always meets in the Lower House - the duplicate room at the other end of the building.  I'm not convinced.  Look closely at the center picture below and you can see quite a bit of modern, electronic equipment.

The chamber is very beautiful.  There is a mural on each side of the wall behind the rostrum.  The wood seating is rich in color and feel.  Overall an impressive place.
When we left the legislative chamber, we were in a hallway where the legislators congregate.  On the left you can get an idea of how large the building is by looking at the length of this corridor outside the Upper House chambers. 

On the right is a device I had not seen before.  Smoking is not allowed in the chamber.  So, there had to be a place for the legislators to set their cigars when they went in to vote. 
When we finihsed with the tour of parliament, we were met by Emeshe, our guide for the rest of the day.  The plan was to go to Szentendre to see some crafts and to see the exhibit of micro-miniature sculptures. 

Szentendre is the place we had been a couple days before for the painting on silk class.  Our first stop was the shop of a friend of Emeshe.  He was very gracious and took us into his back room where he had a collection of old, handmade textile objects.  There were some table cloths, some antique clothing, an old sampler that illustrated a number of different stitches, and many other items. 

From there, we strolled down the street which is filled with a lot of tourist shops.  Szentendre is a very popular tourist destination and the home of a number of crafters.  We didn't see any fine crafts but saw LOTS of tourist shop items.

We made our way to the exhibit of micro-miniatures.  I wasn't really prepared for what we saw.  This is a small, 3 room display of objects that were made by a Ukranian artist - Nikolay Siadristy.  Unfortunately we didn't know about him when we were in Kiev because there is a larger collection of his work there. 

In order to see Siadristy's creations, you have to look through a microscope.  You often hear about something fitting on the head of a pin.  Siadristy's objects fit on the other end of the pin - the point!  One was done by scraping out the center of a hair and then making figures that would go into that space. 

Below are two pictures that I took through the microscope.  I tried a number of times but these are the only two that are in focus.  The bust of Lincoln is about 1/10 of an inch in height.  The Coca-Cola bottle is about 6/100 of an inch.  AMAZING!

We tried to return to the potatoe resturant for lunch but it was closed on Mondays.  So we had a bite at another restaurant before leaving for the airport.  On the right are Granny and Emeshe relaxing and snacking.
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