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Archive for the ‘Hungary’ Category

Hungarian Fat Fry

This year in Hungary we got to experience something new. I am not quite sure what it’s called, but I call it a fat fry.

They literally take a slab of pork fat that still has the rind attached and cut it up in big hunks, then they cut the fat like a checker board, being careful not to cut all the way through.

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They then put the hunk of fat on a skewer and hold it over the hot coals.02-IMG_0054

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As the fat begins to melt, they drip it onto bread.

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When the bread is completely covered with the melted fat, they layer onions, tomatoes and cucumbers on the top.

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This is a pretty long process and my sweet friend Lindsey lovingly and patiently made mine for me.

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It was actually pretty good. It reminded me a lot of BLT sandwiches, except for the loads of onions.

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Some chose to also eat the fried fat, which are like the actual pork rinds that we purchase here in the States.

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While we Americans enjoyed and feasted on this new delicious adventure most of the Hungarians ate hot dogs.

Better is a dish of vegetables where love is Than a fattened ox served with hatred.  Proverbs 15:17

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The Christ Trilogy

Debrecen Hungary is the home to the Deri Museum. Even though this amazing museum holds so much history, culture and educational attractions, there was one room that blew me away. It held the famous Trilogy paintings.

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These three paintings were in a room all of their own, a special wing of the Deri Meseum.

The floor to ceiling paintings completely covered three walls. The fourth wall held the door, and in front of the door there were rows of chairs for people to sit.

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There was an immediate hush that fell over us as we entered this room. A reverent feeling filled the air, holy like. Most people sat in the chairs quiet and thoughtful, there was a peaceful presence felt by all who entered, a remarkable feeling that left you awestruck.

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These bigger than life paintings were painted by the famous Hungarian artist Mihály Munkácsy from 1882-1896. His first painting was of Christ in front of Pilate.

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Then in 1884 he painted the Golgotha painting.

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Ecce Homo completed the Trilogy in 1896, a Latin phrase that translates “Behold the Man.”

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At one point all three paintings were sold, and after many years of exchanging owners these magnificent painting have found their way back onto Hungarian soil, to stay.

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Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 1 John 3:1-3

By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  1 John 3:16

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Hungarian Parliament

The Hungarian Parliament stands majestic overlooking the Danube River in Budapest Hungary. The resplendent building can best be viewed from the Buda side of the river, however it’s spectacular beauty can be seen from almost anywhere along the Danube.

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It was told to us that the Hungarian Parliament is unusually large for a country the size of Hungary. But the sad truth is, that when the Parliament building was built, Hungary was much, much bigger. During the first world war Hungary lost 2/3 of their beloved country, and 1/2 of their population, a deep, bitter pain that still stings at the hearts of the Hungarian people, and rightly so.

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We had the great pleasure to tour the Parliament building on our last trip to Hungary.

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I took pictures from the back, along the side, and from the front of this striking building. The Parliament building is so grand and there was so much to take in. The Building is in the Gothic Revival style, it is 879 feet long and 404 feet wide. It’s interior includes 10 courtyards, 13 elevators, 27 gates, 29 staircases and 692 rooms. The building is 315 feet high and it is the largest building in Hungary and one of the two tallest buildings in Budapest.

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Outside of the front stands an amazing courtyard with statues of every kind, each having it’s own story to tell.

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We toured the inside and though I am so grateful that I got to go inside and see it, I was a little disappointed. We were only allowed to see three areas. It was so dark I could hardly take pictures, and we were not allowed to take any pictures in the central hall.

The central hall was amazing and it held the Holy Crown of Hungary, encased in the center of the room.

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I was able to take pictures of one of the assembly halls.

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Everything about this building was beautiful and ornate. Considerable attention was given to absolutely every detail.

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One more thing checked off my Hungary bucket list. It was truly a trill to see this magnificent building.

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Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Romans 13:1

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The Danube River

The Danube River is the second longest river in Central and Eastern Europe, and it makes it’s twist and turns through many of the beautiful European countries, such as Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Romania, just to name a few. But I know it from my trips to Hungary.

Flying into Budapest Hungary, the magnificent river welcomes all as they pass over it, grand and majestic and breathtakingly beautiful. The splendid river holds so much within it’s banks. Beautiful to behold, yet it hides the secrets of more than a thousand years of heartache, pain, suffering and terror. It also has the allure of it’s fascinating beauty, enticing and captivating all who lay eyes upon it. It snakes it’s way through the land, adding charm and pleasure, attracting man and beast alike.

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I have had several experiences with the Danube River. Two of which has been on my Hungary bucket list.

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I wanted to put my foot in the Danube, so one by one, my friends and I made our way down the concrete steps and stuck our foot in the river. Totally awesome! Now, I do realize that I look a little silly, but please just be happy for me.

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The second thing on my bucket list was to walk the famous Chain Bridge.The Chain bridge is just one of many bridges that separates Buda and Pest. Most of the bridges are ornate and have some kind of statue on them.  I have seen the Chain bridge on a couple of movies and have always been drawn to it. So we made a point this year to walk the bridge.

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This was an exciting moment for me. I stood on the bridge and took some pictures of the Danube.

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The first year we were in Budapest we took a river tour. We rode an open river boat and I drank orange fanta (My drink of choice while I am in Hungary), and slowly slipped along the river. It was very peaceful and relaxing, just sitting back and taking in the amazing views on both sides of the Danube.

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Another one of the beautiful bridges, I am guessing that there is a bridge about every mile or so.

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The Buda side holds large hills that have their own stories; the good, the bad and the ugly. We wore headphones and listened to the stories of each landmark that we passed.

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And still another bridge.

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The Danube River has the perfect view of Parliament, an indescribably beautiful building. We did tour Parliament and I will write about that later, but for now, just sit back, relax and enjoy the view.

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We ended our evening having dinner on the Danube. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day. The boat was awesome and the food was superb, as always.

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We took our time and lingered well after dark. We watched the sun go down on the Danube and sat in awe as darkness fell over the great city of Budapest.

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“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;  Matthew 5:14

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The Shoe Memorial

The beautiful picturesque Danube river separates  Buda and Pest of Budapest. Each side just as beautiful as the other and each holds numerous attractions.

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But on the Pest side, just a little way from Parliament stands the famous Shoe memorial.

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Heartbreaking and haunting is this memorial, a sobering realization of some of the evil that took place during the second world war.

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A gut wrenching story too painful to tell, but it must be told, so the story speaks loud through this memorial.

The memorial consist of 60 pairs of shoes along the river. The shoes are made of metal and set in the concrete on the Danube embankment.

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It was set up in 2005 to tell the horrific story of the Hungarian Jewish victims that were lined up at the embankment then shot into the Danube River.

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There are three cast iron memorial signs in Hungarian, English and Hebrew, that reads:

“To the memory of victims shot into the Danube by Arrow Cross militiamen in 1944-45”

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But Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. “For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ “Then they will begin TO SAY TO THE MOUNTAINS, ‘FALL ON US,’ AND TO THE HILLS, ‘COVER US. “For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”  Luke 23:28-31

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The Dohany Street Synagogue in Budapest Hungary is the largest Synagogue in Europe, and it ranked number one on my list of things to do.

The book tells that the facade of the synagogue plays tribute to the Temple of Solomon as the 19th century imagined it. It was indeed a beautiful sight. It was so massive that I could not get it all in one picture

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These are pictures that I took at one side of the synagogue.

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The inside of the temple literally took my breath away. Beautiful beyond imagination, filled with splendor and every single nook and cranny held a delight to the eye. I could not take it all in and I scrambled around with my camera trying to capture what my eyes were beholding, but it is not possible to relay the beauty through the lens of a camera. Everything was so rich in color, texture and history.

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We spent several minutes taking pictures and touching what we could lay our hands on. It was an amazing feeling being there. There was a very sweet, reverent atmosphere filling the temple and my heart longed to sit in on one of the services that were once held here.

The ceilings are covered with the star of David, and there is a room of stained glass windows, each tells a story from the bible.

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The synagogue touched me deeply and completely changed me forever. It is one thing to live an ocean away and hear stories of the horrors or WWII, but quite another to actually see the destruction, and repercussion of it. To walk on the same soil that is mingled with the blood, pain, and tears of it’s victims. The evil  has left it’s mark there and it sends chills up your spine and leaves you shaken.

The museum was divided up into several parts, each showing past lives of the Jewish people. The first part was of the Jewish temple.

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The second part was things used in the Jewish holidays and festivals.

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The 3rd showed items from the ordinary, everyday lives of the Jewish people.

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One part of the museum was of the holocaust and it was painful to see. The whole atmosphere changed as we entered that part of the museum, we could feel it hanging thick. Our guide told us stories that ripped at our hearts and we toured in a silent  and despondent state.

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As she told stories and explained pictures we swallowed hard, and the tears feel freely. Still . . so hard to understand.

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She explained the list, the one that Hitler had, keeping a census of all of the Jewish people in the surrounding countries, years before the holocaust!

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And a picture of a young woman had been discovered many years later, it had been taken of her by the Nazis, all part of the census.

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But even through the evil of it all, the Lord had His people there, and there are pictures of some of these heroic people that bravely stood up and did everything they could do to help.

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We were then led down a stairwell, concrete, tunnel like, out into the courtyard. The beautiful courtyard had it’s own horrors to tell, and our guide lead us on a journey back in time to the very pit of hell.

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This courtyard is now a mass grave. It took them a long time to find the names and place the markers of each person that now lays beneath this courtyard soil.

Pictures line the walkway that wraps around, and I took a photo of one, standing so that you can see the exact spot of the courtyard, then and now.

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IMG_0172At the back of the courtyard is a memorial for it is the burial ground of 2,281 people who had died in the ghetto. The ghetto is located just directly behind the synagogue.

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The Heroes Temple stands at the very back of the courtyard, just beyond the memorial.

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And another section behind the synagogue was Jewish graves, and little rocks lined each grave.

The American actor Tony Curtis gave in honor of his daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis the symbolic weeping willow, and also that of the upside down menorah, the work of sculptor Imre Varga. The silver leaves on the lightly gleaming tree bear the names of thirty thousand Jewish martyrs. The Weeping Willow stands as a reminder of the six-hundred thousand Hungarian victims of the Holocaust.

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In front of the courtyard, at the side of the synagogue starts the barricade, holding the Jewish people within the confines of the ghetto area.

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Across the street and beyond are the beautiful apartment homes that once belonged to the Jewish people and is now part of the Jewish Quarter. We did not tour the ghetto area but did walk through some of the Jewish Quarter.

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I purchased a memorial of my time here at the Dohany Street Synagogue.

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“Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be courageous and act.”  1 Chronicles 28:10

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I have asked of my Lord. “What does a servant really look like?”

And He has shown me, throughout the globe, His people, working together. Stretched out across oceans and back again.

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And it comes in the form of the unexpected, the lowliest places that most would not tread. But His servants willing do that which is not appealing to most.

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It looks like a late night plunging of a stopped up commode.

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Or in the early morning, way before anyone has stirred, to make sure the coffee is made and breakfast is ready.

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It looks like the complete taking care of the needs of others, overlooking the comforts of self.

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It looks like leaving your own comfortable bed and sleeping on a expandable chair that collapses at every move.

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Or putting your life on hold while you drive, cater to and spend long endless days, early morning til late night serving, and then, serving some more.

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The supplying of the daily needs, even before the need was there, it was met, abundantly above what was required.

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It looks like the daily activities that leave you exhausted and drained beyond imagination, and then going further beyond the appointed distance.

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It is a going beyond the physical needs and serving just to delight. A trait of the Father I suspect.

A sharing of your life, your family, your home and everything that you love and hold dear.

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But it is sometimes hard to tell. The behind the scenes are kept in the shadows and there are always so many that it is impossible to know what all is involved to make things happen.

For some, the knowing of Matthew 3:30 has become life, for they have decreased while He has increased. And they do not ask for acknowledgment, nor for some, will they ever get it. Not from the voice of man anyways. But only from the One who sees all. He will not forget.

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It is beautiful. And they are beautiful. And He has made all things beautiful.

And it falls upon a grateful heart.

Thank you to my dear Hungarian friends.

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They continue this day according to Your ordinances, For all are Your servants.  Psalm 119:91

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