June 20, 2018

Hungary: Castles and Villages Outside Budapest

Me spent more time in Hungary than any other country on the trip. It was our 7th country for this trip count! We had the most days here because that is where Madre and Kell are official posted for their mission. Because we did so much during the week (that went by so fast) that we were there, I am splitting the Hungary post into two: one of the country outside Budapest and one of Budapest itself.

Much like Slovakia, there is a mixture of housing styles. There are so many of the Communist cement block housing everywhere. It is odd to see them and the small stores they have created in the bottom floors. The whole idea gives me the feeling of "gray." I am not sure how else to describe it, other than it was clearly not built for grace, style or a homey feel. It is in distinct contrast to the beautiful architecture for the eras of kingdoms and empires across Hungary. I even found the small simple farming villages to look more welcoming. You can see history of the Turks, the kings and queen dynasties of Europe, Communism, and the Mongols in the culture and area.

Stayed in Gyor, one of the smaller cities that is near the borders of Austria and Slovakia. It was a cute city. We enjoyed walking down the streets and seeing all that it has to offer. This included seeing the iconic reflecting disc on the main square. The cobblestone downtown lead to quaint shops and small cafes.

Meeting Papa's friends in the shops below their apartments



Inside the cathedral in Gyor

Watching the blind maker making drapes

 Another stop was Sumeg. A small village with a medieval castle fortress high on a plateau. We stayed in a beautiful hotel below complete with Turkish style baths. Kell treated us to a javelin reenactment show. To be honest I was skeptical as Lady Hiva and I had been to one in Florida years ago...but this one was really well done. The threw axes, did stunts with bows and arrows, rode horses and fought with swords. We thoroughly had a wonderful time. Koala Bear loved the horses and was so excited when one of the knights gave her his carnation. She made us all smell it several times over.

As we drove out of the village the next morning (after a long hunt for a magnet...which we never found) we saw a cemetery with high white walls and a star of David over the wooden gate. I googled and found that it was a Jewish Cemetery. During the Great World War, the entire Jewish community in Sumeg was taken--all 300--of them and they were all killed. There is nobody left to care for those buried in the cemetery. They are all gone. So sad. As on other trips to Europe it is clear how the War caused so much to change. Also how recent it was that some of these countries are still healing from the impact.
Sumeg village and castle





We ventured to Eseztergom that is on the border of Hungary and Slovakia. It is where King Saint Stephen, the first kind of Hungary, was born. There is an enormous basilica that sits on a cliff face overlooking the Danube River and both Hungary and Slovakia. It was a breathtaking building. We explored it from the crypt (which was complete with death masks of old cardinals) to the top if the dome.

As it is June, it seemed like everywhere we went there were weddings happening. We were able to see one in the basilica. Lucky Dragon enjoyed lighting candles for Gramy, Trevor and Normy. When Madre explained it was to honor and show we loved those who have died, he asked if he could light one for Jesus. So he and I went back to light one.

Down in the crypt

 We stopped in at the monestary in Pannonholma. This too, was an impressive view. Our favorite parts were the library...looks like something out of a book. And the fields of lavendar.

Lucky Dragon wanted to dance outside the restaurant to the live band...Lady Hiva would not go, so I danced with him. It was fun to see so much joy in his eyes

Lady Hiva has always wanted herringbone floors like these

Even these two were in awe by the library

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1 comment:

  1. I too agree that often the smaller outer cities are much more welcoming than the larger cities. I have not been to this region that you are currently blogging about, and would seriously consider it after seeing these amazing posts and photos - thanks for sharing!