Spring in the Buda Arboretum

We went into the weekend under the dark auspices of one of those classical Budapest weather forecasts, which claimed that we’d again have two miserable days before spring came back on Monday. But either spring was very stubborn, or the crystal globe was broken, because the sunshine soldiered on.  To fair to the meteorological institute, the temperature did decrease somewhat compared to the positively summery state of Friday, and there was wind too, but nothing to radically ruin a day. Encouraged by this state of facts, we therefore decided to pay a visit to the Buda Arboretum.

As I might have mentioned in a previous installment of this blog, I did for a while become an inhabitant of Buda, and unhappy about that I was. A classical case of me, not Buda, so no offense should be taken by those who favour it over Pest. Dissatisfaction with my exile to the other side must have been one of the reasons why I never really bothered exploring it, therefore this was the first visit to the arboretum ever.

Compared to the ELTE Fűvészkert, it is a rather understated and somewhat messy affair, though this might actually be one of its major charms. Plus there is no entrance fee, so it’s basically a city park and a university campus which doubles as a botanical learning ground for the alumni of the Corvinus university. You enter through an unassuming gate from Villányi út- or at least, we hope that’s where you enter, for so we assumed, given that there was a barrier guarded by a dog. Guarded is again perhaps an overstatement, as he was the least Cerberus like guardian of anything ever.

The wildlife of the arboretum was enriched by several cats engaged in mysterious pursuits, as all cats are, and a couple of ducks casually loitering about, looking like they’d also brainstormed about what to do on a Saturday afternoon and decided to take a walk through the park.

As for the plants, most were still under the influence of the long cold winter, so the usefully placed informational material was somewhat lost on us, and here I will flash my botanical knowledge and inform you that I immediately identified the cherry tree based on the fact it was blooming. The small detail about it actually being a plum tree might overshadow my accomplishment a little, but they’re related, really- in case you rightfully distrust my expertise by now, here’s the evidence.

Since I’ve always been better at history than biology, I will therefore entertain you with the interesting fact the arboretum’s predecessor was set up way back in 1860, on an area which used to be covered by vines destroyed by early 19th century filoxera, by some former revolutionaries who got disgruntled by their failure and turned, logically, to gardening.

For those disinclined to either science or history, the arboretum has plenty of benches and several spots that could host a picnic, which was perhaps a brave endeavour given the windy conditions, but that did not mean there weren’t people attempting it and as the weather is bound to get every more summery, there should be ever less obstacles in the way of a pleasant afternoon spent in the shade of a plum tree.

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