Saturday, October 20, 2012

Budapest Revisited

This is the Parliament Building in Budapest.  It is on the banks of the Danube River. We visited it last Thursday morning with the other senior missionaries.

You can see, it is a magnificent building and the pride of Hungary.  It was began in 1884 and completed in 1904.  It is the pride of Hungary.  And well it should be.  It is considered the be one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Europe.  It housed the government of Hungary when they had two parties, but when they went down to one, they use only one chamber in one end of the building and the other is used for special occasions.  

I just took some pictures inside of the building.  We walked from the ground floor up this flight of stairs to another hallway.  Just look at the beautiful things all around.  

 Our guide did English and Russia tours.  

What follows will be pictures that impress.

You can see the crown of the king of Hungary at one time.  During the war(s) it was taken and hid in Austria and Germany at different times.  If you look closely you can see a cross on the top of the crown.  You will also notice that it is bent slightly.  That is because when they were putting it away, they put it in a chest and closed it down on the cross, bending it slightly. They wanted to get it repaired, but they couldn't find a jeweler who was willing the touch the sacred crown.

 Ala the guards at Buckingham Palace, they have guards placed by the crown, but I noticed they were not quite as "motionless" as the British ones.  But they were pretty good.  

You can see the guide gesturing towards the statues on the column.  There are probably 10 columns with statues on them and each one of them represented a different profession.  Following are a few more.  

Following are some pictures of the government chamber where the representatives meet.

The picture above is a cigar holder.  Havana Cigars were the "in thing" with people then. As they were smoking and an interesting event was taking place in the assembly room, they would put their cigars in this holder (each holder was numbered so they could get their own back), and they would go into the chamber.  When they returned to get their cigar they would look to see how much of the cigar had burned and was ashes.  If they cigar was gone they would say, "It was worth a Havana."  

These different "shields" represent  the seven different dynasties that have governed over Hungary throughout its history.

Just a couple more pictures of the inside.

 This was also taken inside so we can prove we were there.  It was an amazing experience.
What comes next was somewhat of an emotional experience for me.  I had read about what happened here, but to see it was sobering.  This is where, during the Second World War, the Nazis would  line Jews up on the banks of the Danube and shot them so they would fall into the river.  These shoes commemorate that event.  They were shot at midnight.  It was more than just a few Jews that were shot there.

The tribute in the shoe touched me.

Finally we went up Gellert Hill, where Elder Russell M. Nelson dedicated the land of Hungary for the preaching of the gospel in 1987.

This is the Liberty statue on top of the hill.  I might just mention we did a bunch of hiking that day.  A lot of us were very glad to sit down again and rest our old legs.  

This looks down on the Danube, and around the bend you can see a large island in the river.  There are also 7 bridges that span the river.  I asked President Smith if we could go on the island, and he said, "Not it he summer."  Apparently clothing is optional there just as it is on the Balaton Lake. Budapest is an amazing city with so many great things to see.   It is such a privilege to be here,  not only for the beautiful country, but also for the wonderful people.  We are so blessed, not only for the wonderful people here, but also the wonderful people there.  Our love to you all.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

All Roads Lead to the Branch House!

 We have discovered over the last several months that there is more than one way to get from our home on Koszegi Street to the branch house.

When we arrived in January we had to drive over two sets of rail road tracks to get to the branch house.

Sometimes we couldn't cross the first set of tracks because there was a train coming on the second set of tracks.

On a really lucky day we had to stop at both crossings. The chances of waiting at both crossing was significantly higher if we were late for a meeting.

We watched the process of the digging of the new road with great anticipation!

At this point we could no long drive on the road but we could still walk to the branch house without a problem.

We still had to wait for trains!

But if we drove we still had to stop for the flashing red lights at our new rail road track crossing.

Our luck was even worse at this crossing. One time we waited for six trains, well actually it was only four with one train backing up three times. I think they recognized our car!

As work progressed they had to lay new pipes so the access to the street that took us to the crossing was blocked off.

We found Kulloi Ut (street) which was about a block up from our street and it too was yet another way to get to the branch house Actually it led to Citadella Ut which led to Lover Ut which led to Beke Ut which led to Batsanyi Ut which led to Csengery Ut which led back to our street Koszegi but on the other side of the tracks!

When we saw that they were landscaping we were super excited. When they closed the Koszegi Ut. they told us that the underpass would be done in September because it was a project of the European Union and they were telling the truth.

This is our new route with a beautiful roundabout with flowers!

Then we turn off the roundabout at the first exit which says Centrum (city center).

And here we have the train tracks and we are about to go UNDER them. Ha ha!

It is so beautiful!

No more crossing arms coming down before our very eyes!

And no more smirky smiles from the engineers! In the end I would still have to say that trains are cool!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Night in Budapest

We went to Budapest for the Opera "Carmen"
We needed to get some photos taken so that we can renew our international drivers licences. We walked to the Metro (subway) to the photo booth.  It's not far from the mission home.

If you look just over the trams you can see when we go to get on the subway.  This area is a place where a lot of "pan handlers" are.  There is also  a big mall just across the street to the left. This is one of the major hubs in Budapest for public transit.  

On way back to the mission house there is this little quaint church that I have always wanted to look at, so I prevailed upon Shauna to go there.  Notice the cute little door just to Shauna's right.  I love things like that.

This is just from the other side.  Just to the right of this is a larger church which, I am sure, is the one they use.  But I am always fascinated by "old things".  That is why I spend so much time looking in the mirror!

This is the church next to the old one. We were able to step inside. It is a beautiful church.  

This is our group, minus the guy taking the picture!

This is the Opera House.  It is on a very busy street.  This street is the called Andrassy Street, which is in the middle of Budapest.  It took them 9 years to build it, from 1875 to 1884.  It was renovated from 1980 to 1984.  It 'grand reopening"  was exactly 100 years from it's first opening.
It has the third best acoustics in Europe.  

This is a close up of a Egyptian Statue.  I love the statues.

This the base of the lamp in front of the building.  Notice how ornate it is  The lanterns are gold in color. Too bad you only get to see the base! 

This is a statue of Ferenc List, a native born Soproner.  This is the Heaths, who are the new audit couple.

The is the place where you can check your coats.  
The next ones are taken within the opera chamber.  Again, notice how ornate everything is.

I took this from our seat to the left.  

This was taken to the right.  

This is looking towards the back of the auditorium.  Notice all the "boxes" all around.  I suspect the box in the middle is saved for "special people."  They are NOT the cheap seats.  Speaking of seats, they certainly weren't the most comfortable seats I have ever sat on.                              

This is the ceiling of the opera house, and the chandelier weighs 3060 kilos.. that is about 6000 pounds.  Everything in this building is just beautiful.

This is the famous Budapest Opera House stage.  We are anticipating the start of the opera "Carmen."  Luckily our land lady had a CD with the story of it so we kind of knew what was going on.  The performance was in Italian, the subtitles in Hungarian and we still have English brains. We were, however, able to recognize a few Hungarian words.