Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I love Paris in the Springtime

What do you expect when you go to Paris in the springtime?

How about strikes...

or Versailles...

or a visit to Marie Antoinette's peasant houses that she had built so she would feel at one with the people?

How about her cows...

and sheep?

Or how about the Eiffel Tower?

If you look carefully you can see the Arc de Triomphe through the screen when you are at the top.

Of course at the top the wind might be cold and steady and blow you around.

It's a lot warmer down on the ground near the Arc de Triomphe.

Back at the hotel you can take a look out the windows...

and settle down for a rest.

On Sunday you can head down the stairs...

to church.

Afterwards as you walk around, you can take note of the mixture of building styles.

Even the door knobs are interesting.

Here's the statue that we found when we headed down an alley called "clock street." Can you figure out how the artist thought this represented time?

You can walk along the Seine...

to Notre Dame to see if you can find Quasimodo.

When we were there, the gargoyles hadn't seen him lately.

We couldn't see him in the tower...

or anywhere on the side or the back.

Even Charlemagne ...

and Joan of Arc said they hadn't seen him lately.

So we left and went up the hill to Monte Martre and the Basilica of Sacre Coeur.

As an end to the sabbath we were reminded of Christ's last supper...

his crucifixion...

and resurrection.

Reliving old times in Pecs, Hungary

Robert, Joe, Bonnie, Chrissy, Wendy, and Debbie. Can you remember springtime in 1990 in Pecs with tulips blooming everywhere?

How about all the hikes around town...

up and down the streets...

past the opera house to the fun Hungarian version of a hamburger shop with Chicago hamburgers with peas and carrots on them or Hawaiian hamburgers with pineapple? It's gone now, replaced by McDonalds just down the street.

How about eating ice cream cones down by the post office? They don't sell them there any more but we got great ice cream on the main square.

Here's the restaurant that we ate in the first day we were in Hungary and didn't even know how to ask for the menu. Now its the "elephant" and is a great pizza restaurant. We ate there for old times sake, even though it no longer has Hungarian food. We sat right next to the brick oven.

How about the city wall that you used to walk on and pretend to be Samuel the Lamanite?

We never ate in any of the places in the caves underneath the city where the people used to hide during the many wars fought in the area through the centuries. When we were there in communist times, they were mostly wine cellars and taverns. Now many are restaurants.

Here's where the church is, just a few blocks from the downtown square. We were the first members in Pecs and held church in Joe and Robert's bedroom and once a month rode the train three and a half hours to Budapest to attend the first branch. We were always half an hour late. Now there is a stake in Budapest and a thriving branch in Pecs. We had a nice tour of the chapel.

We found our old apartment building and the basketball/soccer court in front. The children's park where Mom used to talk to her friends has been modernized.

The tall condemmed communist era building is still there. It was supposed to collapse any time because of the wrong kind of steel was used by the Croatian contractors to reinforce the concrete. Now they say it is the biggest bird perch in the world. The ABC store we used to shop at next door is gone, for safety reasons. They say that ABC was bought out by the German food chain Spar.

Here's the university building I used to teach in. Janus Pannonius University has merged with the nearby medical and engineering universities and is now called the University of Pecs. The insides have been modernized and where I gave my invited lectures on Filipino English were much improved from the communist classrooms with one light bulb and desks that were falling apart.

Here are some old friends that mom and I knew but you didn't. The older lady in the middle is Maria Kurdi, who lived in our house in Gainesville with her boys Zoltan and Peter when we were in Hungary. She says they still talk about the great time they had playing basketball on the ward team and they felt like stars winning slam dunk contests with the other boys. The man on the right, Jozsef Horvath is the person who hosted us for our visit. Marianne Nikolov who was so kind to Bonnie and Chrissy was in the USA at a conference. This picture is taken in her office, which I used as my office during our daylong visit. Kim got to give guest lectures for the library science students.

This is the sign for the "Golden Goose" restaurant, where we ate Hungarian goose that night. Remember all the flocks of geese on the collective farms when we lived here? They love to eat goose here.

How do you like how the restaurant is decked out? It is decked out with the famous Zolnay ceramics. The food was as great as the restaurant looks.

Here are the people Kim, Mom, and I ate with. The man is Sandor Martsa, who we hosted in Gainesville while he taught at the University of Florida. The others in the picture are Maria Kurdi again, and Eva, Sandor's wife, and of course Paw.

Of course, reliving the past in this storybook land made us feel like Goldie Locks and the Three Bears. Here you can see us at our room, with Kim demonstrating the special system for locking and unlocking the door.

Here are Momma Bear and Baby Bear sound asleep...

and Poppa Bear snoring away. Are those three mugs of porridge cooling down on the table?