CEU Campus Tour

When I was in Budapest for our 10-year MBA reunion, a classmate had organized a tour of the brand-new CEU campus. As you enter on Nador utca 15, you’re greeted by this quote from George Soros.

CEU Soros Quote

The entire new campus so beautiful, functional and full of well-designed details, it kind of makes you want to go back to university again.

CEU Staircase (1)

CEU Staircase (2)

CEU Library

CEU Atrium

 

CEU Hallway (1)

There are little study areas with computer screens around every corner.

CEU Hallway (2)

Even the benches on the roof have power outlets, so you can sit there with your laptop and get work done. Though I doubt, people would want to work there, when the can instead enjoy the sun and a view of all of Budapest’s architectural highlights.

CEU Rooftop (1)

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Back in Budapest after 10 Years

I graduated from Central European University (CEU) in 2007, so for the ten-year reunion, I added a 36 hour visit to the city at the end of my Vienna trip.

Parliament

A lot has improved in the city. Gone are the Soviet-era buses and metros cars on the M2 metro line I took to class every day.

Instead trains and stations have been upgraded and squares such Kossuth tér and Deák Ferenc tér are looking great.

Ferriswheel

Szechenyi Fürdö

Outside the city center, however, it’s a different story. Városliget (above) is well maintained, full of people and no place to sit down. Népliget (below) is full of benches nobody wants to sit on and looks like it had been untouched since the 1980s.

Nepliget (2)

Nepliget (1)

Same along Kerepesi út where the CEU dormitory is. Sure, they installed some new benches there, but overall the area was almost unchanged since I had last seen it 10 years ago.

Kerepesi ut (2)

Kerepesi ut (1)

And the M3 metro line still features its original trains, signage and depressing color scheme.

M3 Metro Line

Pictures from Vienna Part 1: Old Architecture

Vienna was the latest destination on my Capitals of Europe list.

This city is so amazingly beautiful. It’s impossible to walk around and not be impressed by grand architecture everywhere you turn; with one exception, see end of this post. Particularly on the ring streets that opened up for development in 1865 after city fortifications there had been demolished.

Domkirche St. Stephan Klein

Karlskirche Klein

Hofburg Klein

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My favorite place was the quiet park behind Palais Liechtenstein.

Liechtenstein-Palais Klein

Even though other parks such as Volksgarten were pretty great, too.

Volksgarten

Beach-feeling along Donaukanal on this hot summer day as cafés had put out beach chairs.

Donaukanal

Standing out from all the grand buildings is this house on Liechtensteiner Straße that dares to be ugly.

Altes Haus Liechtensteiner Straße Mitte

Düsseldorf’s Docks: Old and New

Even though Düsseldorf’s docks have long been eclipsed by the much larger ones in nearby Neuss, there are a few spots where there are still active factories and you get a feel for what this area must have been like in busier days.

Muskator Klein

Kamin im Gegenlicht

Nonetheless, there are countless reminders that these busier days are long gone. Many buildings have been abandoned and trashed like this one.

Muskator Verwildert Klein

They are bordered by a “buffer zone”: empty lots where there used to be something and and new construction, adding to the already large number of beautiful new office buildings.

Alt und Neu

Buildings with inspiring names like SIGN!, DOCK and Capricorn (the Association of Architects has a flyer listing them all; PDF in German).

SIGN! Klein