In my previous post I wrote about finding my first passport, how it sparked astonishment at seeing my younger self and how it reminded me of a life-changing event that resulted in a period of prolific painting.
The passing of my youthful innocence isn't the ending of the era I'm referring to here however. Rather, it's that in the same passport is a Hungarian visa stamp. It's one of many actually, as being of Hungarian descent, I went frequently to Hungary to visit family, particularly in my childhood.
This visa is notable because it is stamped as valid for 30 days until 09 September 1989. This date is significant as the Hungarian People's republic ceased to exist on 23 October that same year - just 44 days later.
The Hungarian People's Republic was the socialist (communist) state that was in power in Hungary from 20 August 1949 to 23 October 1989, under the influence of the Soviet Union. Thereafter, Hungary was one of the first countries of the old Eastern Bloc to transition to a western-style democracy.