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Monday, March 31, 2008

Brone Age by the Willows

Yesterday, Sunday was fine and warm, so up early to take advanzage of the Summer Time change of clocks, we took a picnic with us and drove to an important Bronze Age site not far from home. We had a delightful wander around the site though the museum part was still closed for the winter. There were many birds around among the willows and flowering hawthorn trees. I heard my first cuckoo of the year and Janos took many photos with my camera. The scenedry was great and even hot enough to bask in the sun for a while. While we were out, Tűmde won her latest handball match, so that was an improvement!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Eggs and Buda, Hot Water and Storks

As "every schoolboy" knows, Budapest, the capital city of Hungary is Pest on the right (East) bank of the River Danube and Buda is the name of the old city on the West bank where some wonderful old buildings and monuments remain and there are great views down to the river below. On Thursday we took the train from Mezöbereny, picking up the school group with Janós en route. I was moved and honoured to be given two splendid traditional Hungarian Easter Eggs made specially for me by two of the girls,(see above photo)
The object of the day's trip was to explore the old city and go to the National Military Museum. From the main station, we went by Metro to the old city and climed the steep hill to the museum where the children made a beeline for the shop, but all were so well behaved and seemed interested in the exhibits. There are many fine views from the ramparts of the old city and we saw many fine buildings including the Presidential Palace.
The children stayed on to climb Gelert's hill but I rejoined Ibolya who had been at her tutorial all day and we returned on an earlier train.
Today, Saturday, we have been to see Mezőbereny's own hot spring - a stand pipe near the town swimming pool where several people were filling containers with the water. I tried it and found the taste quite acceptable. Then we drove to the river to take more photos. We were pleaded to see several storks today and a rabbit hopped by two metres away from where we sat and had our picnic lunch. We also visited an interesting small museum at the local pumping station.
While we picniced, we were visited by a rabbit who hopped by us with little concern On the way back we took some photos of a typical small farm, chickens, turkeys, a tractor on a hillock, a dovecote, rickerty barns, a spavined horse, rusting machinery and a traditional water pump, that reminded me of my grandfather's photos from India taken before World War I!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My Portrait!

I am TOLD this is good! It was drawn when we visited the Renaissance Festival at Gyula during my first Hungarian visit in February. What do you think? Please comment!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Another day, another Spa

Good Friday, Southern Hungary. Again combining a couple of work visits for Janos, Ibi and I went to the excellent spa at the town of Orosháza to the north of Szeged. A lovely morning tempted us to the outdoor pool where the thermal waters, jet sprays and people watching kept us amused and soaking in the tea coloured waters. After that we relaxed indoors and I was interviewed for a national Hungarian TV station - Did I like the spa? How do you like Hungary? - that sort of question! If I'm not edited out, maybe we can tape the interview to be shown next Monday - probably. It was my first ever interview wearing only swimming trunks!
We had brought a picnic lunch and after that we walked down to the lake.
As I write this evening we have returned from the school where we have watched a handball match involving Tűnde and her team up against a much stronger team from Bekescsaba. Her school played well and came away noit too displeased with the result which was I think 20 -30 or thereabouts.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Quiet Weekend

A very quiet day today. Yesterday was a lot more strenuous as Ibi and I took a bicycle ride and a picnic down to the river. My cycling skills were tested and it took some time for me to get used to the gears and the back-pedalling brake. I had to explain to Ibi that I had not ridden a bike with a back-pedalling brake bike since I was about 10 years old. However I only fell off once! The river was very full since our previous visit and we couldn't get as close as previously. We saw and heard several birds then returned for a soak in the barh.
Today Sunday, there was a chance to go and see where White Storks may have arrived but in the end we have had a quiet day at home.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Medical in Szeged

My lovely Hungarian family show great interest in my health and welfare. On this visit Ibolya had arranged for me to be checked out by one of the leading Hungarian specialists: Professor Tamas Forster at the University Hospital of the historic city of Szeged. Janos drove me in the Trabant and apart from visiting the hospital we had a very full and interesting day sightseeing, ending with a visit to the White Lake wildlife reserve as it was already getting quite dark. This was to observe the nightly event of hundreds of Demoiselle Cranes flying in to roost in the reed beds. Sadly they arrived after it had got almost too dark to see them but we certainly knew that they were arriving as we heard their distinctive calls.
At the hospital we waited for various tests to be done before Professor Forster saw me. He was very reassuring and Ibolya is now more satisfied with my state! She worries I think, that I might have another infarct while I am a long way from home and effectively her responsibility. Prof. Forster has recommended that I take Beta Blocker tablets to lower my BP and regulate the atrial fibrillation but otherwise has recommended a normal and active lifestyle. (Long may it continue!)
After the hospital visit we had an excellent lunch at a large Tesco store.
In the afternoon we walked around the city centre. There are many fine buildings, statues and monumdents, not least to comemmorate the Great Flood (photo above) that devastated the inner city in the 19th Century. Other photos from the day are here.

Monday, March 10, 2008

On Saturday 8th March we made a very early morning (0430) start for the railway station and to meet a party of children plus some parenets for a school trip to Hungary's Capital City Budapest. I had met most of the children on my previous visit and they seemed excited to see me again. I I seem to have acquired the name "Uncle John" - "John Bácsi" in Hungarian which sounds like John Bahji (as in Onion Bahji(!) since my last visit, and many of them tried out their few words of English on me, I am ashames that my few words of Hungarian are woefully lacking.

Arriving at Budapest Station around 0830, the children went off to visit the zoo with Janos while Ibi and I went on the metro to visdit the spectacular parliament buildings after briefly looking at the Danube which flows next to it. An excellent English speaking guide showed us round and pointed out meny interesting features and richly gilded interior. After that we went to a restaurant for an excellent lunch then vwaled back to the station to rejoin the school party. A great day and we have plans to go again soon, probably to one of the spas.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Off again!

Flying off from Bristol again tonight, Janos will be meeting me at Budapest Airport, then a train to Szolnok and then collect the car and drive to Mezobereny. A full month this time and so I hope to be there before the resident pair of storks arrive at their nest in the Tesco Car Park almost opposite the flat. We have plans this time to visit Budapest, go fishing, more birdwatching and various other activities. I'm back on 2nd April.