Quick post — lots of pix — we rented a car last weekend and drove about 3 hours west to Szeged – a beautiful town on the Tisza river in the area of Hungary called “The Great Southern Plain.” The Fulbright people organized a weekend of activities there – it was great to see our fellow Fulbrighters and their families who had come from all over Hungary. We spent Friday and Saturday with the group, then on Sunday we decided to add another country to our “been there” list and drove down into Serbia with David Grosskopf and his family (wife, Stephanie and three brave girls). We spent a few hours wandering around a town called Subotica, then headed back up into Hungary in the afternoon. The Serbian detour was thoroughly enjoyable except for a long and somewhat disturbing delay at the border crossing back into Hungary -it took about two hours to get through – lots of vehicle searches (including ours and the Grosskopf’s — I think they were looking for things as harmless as cigarettes and alcohol, but, boy, they take it very seriously!). The big surprise for me was that there were no Novak Djokovic billboards anywhere! The other odd thing is that when I mentioned to a colleague at my school that we visited Subotica, she said, “Yes, it’s a lovely little city. It used to be part of Hungary.” Must be strange to think that way.
Anyway – not much commentary here (because the history was overwhelming and I was busy taking pictures).
Here are some pix from the trip.
The route: Pecs - Bonyhad - Szeged - Subotica (Serbia). Margaret's great-great-great grandfather was buried in Bonyhad, but we couldn't find the cemetery. We'll go back and look again, I'm sure.
Protest in front of the Szeged city hall. The story we were told was that city employees who worked on a tram project had not been paid. Apparently the contractor went bankrupt AFTER being paid by the city. They didn't make a SOUND - it was a "silent" protest. This photo was taken in Széchényi Square - the main square in Szeged. By the way, the big square in Pecs is ALSO called Széchényi Square.
Klauzál Square - one of the main squares in Szeged. Hungarian cities know how to do a square. And the really great part is that all the squares seem to be connected by very walkable streets. They almost blend seamlessly into one another.
The Votive Church (1913) and Cathedral Square at Dom Ter- the giant twin spires with 8 clock faces are pretty amazing, though I can imagine the Cathedral finance committee asking, "Do we really need TWO spires?"
The cathedral square is huge and eerily empty, save for our friend, Blase Ur, whom you can see hurrying to catch up to the group.
This sculpture commemorates the Great Flood of 1878 when the Tisza River overran its banks and destroyed nearly all the homes in Szeged (fewer than 300 of nearly 6,000 homes survived). The town was essentially rebuilt.
The Tisza River.
The synagogue in Szeged.
You can learn more about the synagogue in Szeged here and see more pix here.
This is a shot of the Roosevelt téri Halászcsárda - we had a wonderful meal of fish soup (unBELIEVABLY good) and pasta (which was sauced with something like sour cream and bits of bacon fat and wasn't quite so unbelievable).
On Saturday we all took a bus to a town called Opusztaszer to spend the day at the National Historical Heritage Park. It’s about a 30 minute drive from Szeged and is considered one of the most important historical sites in Hungary — it’s where the “modern” nation of Hungary was born in 896. Here are some pix:
The sheep at the National Historical Heritage Park in Opusztaszer.
The Arpad Monument. The Hungarians settled in the Carpathian Basin under Arpad's rule.
I love to bowl with a partially squared wooden ball on bumpy dirt lane!
James helps with the chores - time to bake some pogatch!
The most amazing horse-back archery demonstration I've ever seen. The horse is FLYING along this path and the kid is picking off targets about 75 feet away, one after another.
James gets his chance to test his archery skills (which were honed in Mississippi at Camp Strong).
The melon (or rutabaga?) didn't have a chance! (he sliced it in half with his sword at full gallop).
This is part of the panorama in the rotunda at the park -- it's was painted by Arpad Feszty in 1896. It depicts the arrival of Arpad and his chiefs.
After two great days in Szeged and Opusztaszer, we now headed south into Serbia. We spent a few hours in a town called Subotica.
Built in 1780, this "Great Church" has some serious structural issues. Look closely at the center. Uh-oh... I may detect a split in the church!
Here's a detail of the church - not sure how this gets repaired. Glue and a giant vise?
WWII memorial - this is adjacent to the church.
Synagogue in Subotica - built in 1902. It's in very bad shape, but it looked like there was some plan to renovate.
Margaret and James enjoying a coffee and an ice cream in Subotica.
In the big market in Subotica.
Us - in Subotica. Photo by our friend David Grosskopfs.
I think this is Hungarian/Serbian celery. I love the display.
That’s it for now. Pix from the big flea market to come soon…