Open Road Song [Eve 6]

Sunday, September 20, 2009

[2 September 2009]

Hungarian Word of the Day: “I don’t know!”

Nem tudom!

[nem to-dom]

This is quite appropriate for this trip. A lot of the places we’ve been going are very Hungarian museums and sights. This means that there are no translations into English, so we’re seeing a lot of really awesome artifacts but we have no idea what they are. Fortunately, but mainly only for the big pieces of art/history/etc, we have our teachers who are guiding us through the highlights of these museums. When there are translations though, they’re either very very short and not helpful or they’re hilariously wrong. We spend a lot of time saying “I don’t know!”


We (Laura & I) were planning on getting up early to go swimming in the pool (which apparently is connected to a hot spring), but after staying up until 3 last night to talk with new friends and professors we realized that this was a futile goal. So we slept until 8, got up, got dressed and packed, and made our way back to the open air restaurant on the site for breakfast. Oh traditional breakfast in Hungary, you are something I may never understand. We were first presented with some delicious hot tea and were able to wake up slowly over some good conversation. Next came the actual breakfast - two HUGE rolls, a few slices of ham, a few slices of cheese, some peppers (which I might add here are a really light green color - nothing like any peppers I’ve seen in the states. They taste just like our dark green peppers in the States.), and a huge hunk of butter. This sounds more like lunch to me, not breakfast. Oh well, it served its purpose of filling us up. I learned from a Hungarian friend that it’s not a meal in Hungary if there’s not a ton of bread provided. They love their bread here. I love bread too, but even I draw a line somewhere!

So we got back on the bus and headed for this stop called the Hortobágy and the Pusta. This is pretty much a museum about these people who would heard cattle, horses, pigs, and other animals across the plains. They raised and kept them for the rich people who owned them and then would bring them back to the area this museum was settled on for sale. It was a neat little museum that showed the clothing worn by the people and explained how there was a sort of a caste system within the herders. The horse herder was the top dog and the pig herder was the bottom of the ladder. Not my favorite museum, but the statues outside were pretty awesome. There was still a horse ring for riding and sale of horses on the site. This meant that there were also people standing outside selling things - including these huge, traditional whips. They would crack them in an effort to sell them - and each time it sounded like a shot being fired.

The next stop for us was in Debrecen - another major city in Hungary. It was a beautiful city full of bright colors and cute restaurants and shops. Here we first went to a Protestant church that was huge, yet incredibly simple inside. From here we were released into the city to have lunch. I went with Laura, Kelly, Katy, and Zita to a local place called “City Burger” where some very interesting food was consumed. Laura and Kelly both got the vegetarian pizza thinking it would be like a veggie pizza back in the US. Never assume something here will be like something back home. Their pizza came with onions, carrots, corn, peas, and pickles! I mean, I guess it was a vegetable pizza - they weren’t lying! I decided to get the 300ft special - a gyros, but a special gyros. Inside it there were french fries, meat, some veggies, and some sauces. A gyros with french fries? It was interesting, and pretty tasty, so I won’t complain. From here we realized we were a little late for the meet-up to go to some of the museums, so we just went to one of them and caught up with the tour. We went to the Belépöjegy a Déri Müzeumba - a historical/art museum. We selected this museum from the three offered specifically to see these paintings by Munkácsy Mihály, a great Hungarian artist known for his larger-than life paintings of the life/death of Christ including the great Ecce Homo. These three paintings on display were magnificent. This guy had an

amazing talent for painting people - the faces and expressions were perfect. And if you know anything about the difficulty of art, you’ll know that human hands are one of the hardest things to depict - and this man was amazing at the hands. I cannot even begin to tell you how breathtaking these paintings were. You’ll just have to see for yourself!

Our final stop was in Polgár at an archeological park. This place has a neat little story attached to it. Apparently in Hungary there are so many archeological sites that have yet to be discovered, when

a highway or other huge building project is set to start they have to have an archeological assessment done. So this museum (of sorts) was established to show how and why this was done - with replicas of houses found and other treasures. So we got to see some of how the history of Hungary is being located. The best part of this stop, however, were the kittens. Everyone in my group seems to have left a cat behind to come here and we’ve all been whining about how much we miss them. Here there were about 6 kittens running around just begging to be played with. The one that attached to me was a tiny little

black and white thing - I’d guess 8 weeks old maybe. I held it and pet it for a little bit and then put it down to go look at some other things - and it climbed up my leg (seriously) and back into my arms. How could I say no to it? So a group of us just played with the kittens for the remainder of our time at the park. It was heartbreaking to leave it behind! Especially because the next time I put it down to go look at something it followed me and even tried to cross this gigantic puddle where they had overwatered some of the lawn! So I had to trick it when I actually left so it didn’t see me go. We all spent the bus ride home talking about how we should have stolen it and figured out a way to keep it, illegally, at the dorm. And we should have.

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