HUNGARY – Budapest, Memento Park // Goldeneye (1995)
Even no spy is lurking between the monuments of the decayed Communistic Empire nowadays, the flair of the old times still clings to these stone memorials. The Memento Park full of stern socialist statues will be the best deal for a little time travel.
Why Bond was here
There was a time, when 007 (Pierce Brosnan) and 006 (Sean Bean) did their best to heat up the Cold War. But now, one is called “a sexist, misogynist dinosaur” from a previous era by his chief and the other is presumably dead. Anyway, evil is stayin’ alive even after the crumble of the Soviet Union. So Bond heads out to Saint Petersburg to investigate the loss of a new stealth helicopter. Behind the theft is an organization called “Janus” and behind that is old buddy 006 – revealing his new identity to Bond in some sort of evil reunion at a monuments park outside Saint Petersburg. Bond then get’s caught and pinioned in the – soon to explode – stealth helicopter.
How you gonna get there
In the mid-’90s, the former Soviet countries slowly opened themselves to the rest of the world – but weren’t yet ready for a Blockbuster film crew. Although the movie has major parts in Saint Petersburg, filming was mainly done back at Pinewood Studios in Great Britain. Only a small unit came to the East for some exterior shots and inspirations. A very good inspiration for the Statue park set is just outside the Hungarian capital Budapest. There, Memento Park holds a collection of old statues and memorials from the Soviet age.
Taking public transportation from Budapest, catch the Metro No. 4 to station Kelenfold Vasutallomas, then change into Bus No. 101 or 150 and drop off at Budateteny Vasutallomas right across the park. The bus tickets are around 900 Forint for both ways, one ride takes about 30 minutes. The park itself is open to public from 10 am daily till dusk, for more information about the park visit mementopark.hu.
It’s also possible to arrange a direct pick-up-service offered by Memento Park from Deak Square – reachable with Metro No. 1,2 or 3 – in Downtown Budapest. The bus tickets are around 5000 Hungarian Forint both ways.
Good to know
The Goldeneye park is quite pimped – while Memento Park is a spacious area with well-displayed monuments rather then a packed wild mix of statues lying all around.
Visiting the park most likely means visiting Budapest too. A cozy place to stay overnight in Budapest is the boutique hotel Brody House in Belváros – right next to the Hungarian National Museum – offering eleven themed rooms at fair prices. In the middle of the Danube river the Danubius Grand Hotel Margitsziget invites its visitors with an ancient charme of the bygone royale century. Too antiquated to stay over night – stop by while taking a walk over Margaret Island and indulge in a hot chocolate with a liquor of your choice.
For good and tasty Hungarian food the restaurant Spinoza in the Jewish Quarter is highly recommendable. Especially because the food is served with live Jazz music at moderate pricing. For a special occasion Klassz is, well, just classic. Mainly a bodega, the small and modern restaurant is serving excellent wine from Hungary, which are worth their fortune pricing.
Note: In a first version of this article, we presented the Memento Park as an actual movie location, as we relied on travel books and locals. But with a look into the movie credits, that turned out to be wrong. The statue park was a built set. But we guess, inspiration to the producers came from it. Or one of it similar partners: There are the Muzeon Fallen Monuments Park in Moscow and the Grūtas Park – dubbed “Stalin’s World” – southwest of Vilnius, Lithuania as well!
One day before we went to see the park we got engaged, so we practically drove on candy cotton to the outskirts of Budapest. So even the Park was kind of disappointing – cause most of the film statues were just props – it will always be special to us. Memento is, where our journey began.
© 2015 Huntingbond (1,3), © 1995 Seventeen Leasing Corp. and Danjaq, LLC. (2)