June 14, 2014

It looked like first class restaurant, but we were fooled!

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers in our life.  We love you.

We took a walk one morning exploring near our home.  We discovered a very old church. . .
and very big and old cemetery.  All the graves had large headstones -- new and old ones.

Also a stadium only a couple of streets away.  We haven't heard any games yet, however.

Monday we took a drive to Kurd, about 40K away, to visit a member family as Sharon was assigned to be Ingrid’s visiting teacher.  Brother and Sister Gutchow are from Germany and retired in Hungary because they could afford to have a horse here.  He only speaks German, she speaks some English and some Hungarian and they have a 38-year-old son who lives at home who speaks German and English, which he uses in his internet business.  She served us huge pieces of German apple pie with a giant bowl of whipped cream!   We had a wonderful visit with the family.

This week we had a recent convert and 4 missionaries to our home evening!   We had plenty of interpreting help.  We did have a lesson and Abigel was very knowledgeable.   We have to start somewhere; but hopefully in time this FHE will be successful.  

Tuesday morning we headed to Sopron, about 3 hours northwest to visit a children's home suggested and  arranged for us by the senior couple serving there.  The drive up was picturesque and pleasant.  We saw fields of corn, wheat, and this one is sunflowers.  Will show it again when the flowers are on.

And the first cutting of hay (or straw).   What is amazing are the huge tractors and machinery these village farmers have.  They have to be worth more than their homes! 
Sopron is a lovely city only minutes away from the Austrian border.   It is obviously economically doing much better than most other Hungarian cities.   Many Hungarians work in Austria because they can make more money there; and many Austrians come to Sopron to shop because it is less expensive.  Both add to the economy in Sopron.  In fact, in that town of 55,000 people there are 300 dentists because the Austrians also come to Hungary for their dental work.
Elder and Sister Brown live in a lovely twin home.  

In the evening we had dinner and then walked around the town a bit.

Sopron dates back to Roman times.  Walls of ruins are still visible.

The next morning we took a drive to the Pan European Picnic Park at the border.  Previous to August 19, 1989 invitations had been sent inviting people to a picnic and a 3-hour temporary opening of the Austria -Hungary border fence for visiting.  Ten thousand people came!  It was not planned, but several hundred people rushed through the border fence and the guards did nothing.  This became a historic event that was the beginning of the fall of the Iron Curtain and the reunification of Germany.  Many took a piece of the fence with them; and many left their belongings and their cars at the border when they walked to freedom!  This is a replica of the fence.  There were several rows of electric, barb wire fences, with dogs and freshly plowed areas in between (so footprints would be visible).

 We took a step through the ‘door’ to Austria.

This is the monument depicting the walk ‘up’ to freedom. There is an actual piece of the Berlin Wall in the upper center of the monument.

There is still one guard tower left as a reminder.

After that the Browns took us to Esterháza Palace.  In the 16th century the Esterházy family owned an estate of more than one million acres.  A son of the wealthy owner had been to Versailles and felt rich enough to build his own ‘Hungarian Versailles.’ 

The glory of the palace with its 126 rooms took place between 1766 and 1790.  It is still being renovated and updated; and this is one of the most beautiful Ceremonial Halls of all Hungarian baroque castles, which still hosts classical music concerts in the summer. 

The Austrian composer Joseph Haydn spent 24 years at Esterháza.  Some of his most famous works had their world premier in this concert hall.  An opera house was build especially for Haydn; every month a new opera was produced and presented to the more than 400 guests, all free of charge.  Alas, the opera house burned in the 19th century. 

The park was about 700 acres, a French park, like in Versailles.  The forest for hunting was behind.  In the 18th century there were statues, fountains, and 60,000 flowers were exchanged monthly.  

Ceramic stoves sat in the corners of the rooms for heat.  There were hidden doorways so that the servants could light the stoves from behind without coming into the room to disturb the occupants.

Since the nobility all had their own rooms, there were also hidden doorways to get from one bedroom to another.

This was in the room for playing dominoes.  Cute and practical little pull-out 'shelves' for the dominoes.  The dishes are the Esterháza signature design.  

Back in Kaposvár, our goal is to visit with and get to know the members.  With the elders we visited two sweet sisters in the branch, and had a couple over for dinner on Friday evening, and in between worked on paperwork for humanitarian projects.  There is always much paperwork and accounting – before, during and after.

Saturday was a branch activity.  We rode a bus to a small town just a few miles away where there is a nice yard and fire pit suitable for a bacon cook-off!   The 25-year-old branch president (in picture below) was the most excited about the bacon! Check out this slab!

There was food, volleyball, relaxing and visiting.  Nice fire pit -- a cement table with benches and the grate and  fire in the middle. All around the fire are holders for the roasting 'sticks.'  Nice idea. 

We're off to Budapest tomorrow right after church as we have our 'wheelchair specialists' arriving.

Life is good.  Much love to all.

1 comment:

  1. I am a week late visiting. We have Maren and Gavin's kids here and life gets away from you. As always, this is a fabulous post! Food, architecture, interiors, scenery, history. It is all really wonderful. Thank you for your great posts.