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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Smriti Ramakrishnan: Travel and choir singing in Hungary

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    11 Dec

    Using the funding provided by Gateway, I visited Hungary with my chapel choir. We spent a very busy five days in Budapest and Szeged, singing in some breath-taking buildings and seeing the sights. The trip allowed me to visit a new country, as well as giving me many memorable experiences, and the chance to build good relationships with members of the choir.

    We spent the first two days in Budapest, where we sang mass at St Stephen’s Basilica, followed by a visit to the beautiful Mátyás Templom. From here, we were able to enjoy views of the river and city below.

    On the third day, we travelled by train to the city of Szeged, which is twinned with Cambridge and bears many similarities to it, as it is also a university city. I found Szeged to be very different from Budapest, as it had fewer tourists, and felt more like a small town than a big city. As Szeged and Cambridge are sister cities, the two places have built a good relationship over the years, and as such we were warmly welcomed to Szeged by some people with links to Cambridge. We were given a brief tour of the city, during which we learnt much of its interesting history, such as the major flooding of the river Tisza in 1879 that destroyed most of the city, resulting in it having to be rebuilt. That evening, we sang both mass and a concert at the Votive Church. This magnificent building had one of the best acoustics I have ever experienced, and singing here was one of my favourite moments of the trip.

    The next day, we spent an enjoyable morning at the Anna Thermal Baths. We swam in pools of different temperatures, sat in the steam room, and drank water from the thermal spring. As well as this, we couldn’t resist trying out the wonderful acoustic of the baths, and had some fun singing in the different rooms. That evening, we sang our final concert at the New Synagogue. In my opinion, this was one of the most beautiful buildings we visited, with its painted glass domed roof, and intricate wall decorations.

    Thanks to Gateway funding, I enjoyed some amazing experiences in Hungary, and I would definitely recommend Gateway to others, not only for the funding, but also for the sessions themselves, which were very useful.

    Smriti Ramakrishnan