Hungary Remembered

On a visit to Hungary in 1979 I snapped this photo from a tour bus window and it managed to survive my many moves since then. The photo was taken in the countryside, where storks traditionally spend March through October before heading south to Africa. In recent years the storks have built their nests atop telephone poles, making for dramatic views like the one I captured.

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Hungary was sandwiched between Austria and Yugoslavia on my tour so we only had two nights in Budapest. They were two nights of history and luxury at the Budapest Hilton, which incorporated the remains of the old Ministry of Finance building and the 13th century Dominican Church of St.Nicholas. From every vantage point there were panoramic views of Pest on the other side of the Danube.

Hungary is famous for food but my stomach did flip-flops at sight of their specialties. Quoting from the article I wrote for TravelAge West, a trade journal for travel agents:

“I ate a lot of club sandwiches and dobos cake. The Hilton’s club sandwich is interesting: three slices of bread filled with shredded vegetables, layers of bacon and chicken on top. If you can’t eat cucumbers, good luck. They are sliced, diced and shredded into everything.”

One evening our group went to the Citadella, an old fortress overlooking the Danube, for dinner and live music. Here’s another excerpt that sums up my impressions and memories of Budapest:

(Quote)   After dinner we walked across the road to stand at the retaining wall and gaze at the lights of Pest. “It looks like Oakland,” someone said. Well, maybe. If you can forget that the river is the Danube and lights are all you see, maybe it does look like Oakland.

But turning to look again at the Citadella, one sees that the walls are pocked with shell holes and atop the roof is a towering Russian statue. Budapest looks like Budapest. (End Quote)

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That was more than 30 years ago. The Berlin Wall came down and the Iron Curtain was rolled up. That Russian statue is surely long gone. But the Danube flows on, and from all I read, the storks still build their nests in small villages outside of Budapest.

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About browning26

mystery author, former English teacher, former newspaper reporter, former legal secretary

Posted on January 15, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Itsn’t it awesome to touch time. I’ve had that expierence touching the very walls I burned down in Red Fury. I walked into the only remains of the Temple Claudius in Colchester/Camulodumun and stood where so many were burned alive. Then walked through the Roman museum that was housed in a castle built a thousand years later and even then the US was unknown. I was lucky to stand before a huge fireplace taller thanI am and fortunately much bigger than I am. It was in a B&B that was built in 1500’s.Chills, darlin’ chills.
    Oh and another adventure at STonehenge. I was in the gift shop, talking (I know this surprises you) to the cashier and told her about my King Arthure story. She lit up that I was an American and that she absolutely loves our Native American Indians and westerns. That made me pause. Yes we have a great history and are finally cherishing it but our problem. It was not made of stone (exception the Anazai) It is all biodegradable! While that’s good. We’ve lost so much of it!!! That makes our stories all the more important.
    J

    • Hi, Judy:
      Those travel experiences so enrich our lives — their value is impossible to describe.
      I always wanted to go to Stonehenge but just never got there, darn it.
      And your comment about Europeans loving our Wild Wild West/Indian stories was spot on. A friend of mine wrote a novel about The Trail of Tears and one days while surfing the Net I came across information that it was selling like hotcakes in Africa!

      Along with that — on my old blog, before Google locked me out, my post about Geronimo was always getting hits from readers in other countries. Well — our history is so new — and so violent, and so colorful — it’s not hard to understand.

      Best,
      Pat Browning

  2. Hungary is a source of fascination on many levels. My grandfather uesed to say that the trouble with most people who travel is that they take themselves with them! Clearly the reverse is also true – that perceptive travellers gain generations of insights from their travels. I hope that Pat’s perceptive essay prompts more readers to take that Danube trip – and find a world of intrigue and enchantment.

    • William,
      Thanks so much for checking out my blog and leaving such a nice comment. Obviously your book stirred up a whole lot of memories and meditations for me, and when that happens it makes writing and reading worthwhile. Thanks again,
      Your fan,
      Pat Browning

  3. Pat, You have experienced so many wonderful things in your life that I find myself with travel-envy. But thanks for the vicarious fun I’m having by reading your blogs.
    Hugs,
    Jackie

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