September 03, 2006

Hungary Trip--Day 7

We didn't make any plans for Tuesday morning, as we had to pack and be ready to leave with Kristof, Jozsef's brother, for Budapest. However, partway through the morning we learned that there were car problems, and we were to wait indefinitely at the F's house before leaving. We were not at all disappointed by this...Ted took advantage of the time to snooze in a chair, and I took our home school planning notebook out to the back porch and got some uninterrupted time to plan our school year. We also enjoyed an absolutely fabulous lunch that Mama Magdi prepared--one of my favorite soups (green beans in a creamy sauce--so yummy and something we hadn't had on this trip to that point), plus the BEST mashed potatoes and wonderful roasted chicken. As usual, she urged us to eat more...I was particularly urged to "eat for baby!" I did, believe me! Anyone who knows me knows that I cannot pass up any kind of potatoes. :-) Fresh peaches made for a good (and healthy!) dessert.

Jozsef and Zsuzsi stopped by to chat a little bit while we were waiting--they were in town to take care of some paperwork for financing their new home. They returned later to take us to the train station, as it had become clear that the car was going to require major repairs. We rushed to the station so we could meet Kristof and hop aboard, only to watch the train chugging away, exactly ONE MINUTE ahead of schedule!! Jozsef was most distressed, as the next train wasn't leaving for another hour, but we convinced him we'd be just fine walking to get ice cream before boarding the next train! He and Zsuzsi had to return to the bank to finish their paperwork, so we said our goodbyes and dragged our suitcases a few blocks away to get some famous Hungarian ice cream, a treat that I had told Ted we simply must partake of. I got my two favorite flavors (at least in Hungary), cinnamon and peach--an odd combination, I know, but I LOVE them both!

We enjoyed talking with Kristof, who had grown up so much since I had first met him in 1999. He's now 20, a student at a university in Budapest, and his English was quite good. He and Jozsef had hung out with us a lot when I was here before and we spent a lot of time with the teen/tween students, so it was a lot of fun to get reacquainted with him.

So, we did get on a train to Budapest, finally, and were planning to do a bit of sight-seeing before going to Kristof's father's flat outside the city area...however, when we emerged from the subway, we discovered that it was pouring rain! So we left the river area where we had planned to walk and headed back to the other side of the city, where it was by that point sunny (!), caught a bus, and then walked the remainder of the way to the flat, a beautiful, roomy apartment in a quiet neighborhood. We settled ourselves in a bit and prepared for dinner. Jozsef Sr, the father, took us three plus David and Miriam, the two youngest children, out for dinner at a very nice restaurant near Hero Square in downtown Budapest. We ate outside, and the weather was surprisingly chilly. Heat lamps helped me feel more comfortable, but poor Miriam was so cold that the waiter brought her a blanket. After awhile, big brother Kristof decided he couldn't stand the chilly breeze either and ended up sharing the blanket with her!

After a wonderful, leisurely dinner, Ted and I walked with Kristof to Hero Square while David and Miriam stayed with their father in the warm car. I have been to Hero Square twice, both times during daylight and both times with American missionaries. So I really enjoyed being there with Kristof, who racked his brain and gave us a quite adequate explanation of the various heroes represented in the square. There are some interesting stories, and Ted, a major history buff, also enjoyed our brief sight-seeing stint. We're posing here under the statue of Saint Istvan (Steven), the first king of Hungary. It's amazing to me that Hungary has a history dating back over a millenium! In fact, Hero Square was built in 1896 to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the Hungarian conquest. You can read more interesting tidbits by clicking on the link above.

When we arrived back at the flat, Miriam stopped just before we got to the door and exclaimed. She had spotted this hedgehog! Not something we see every day here in the States! I had to get a picture of it to show our kids. :-)

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