Thursday, October 28, 2010

Florida boy and frost

When we got up this morning it was 24 degrees with lots of frost on the car--definitely not Florida weather...

and definitely no radiant heat from the ground! Do you think I'll need warmer pyjamas or furry slippers?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Christmas stitching

The Relief Society decided to cross stitch Christmas presents for the next few weeks. Here are the early comers. Eventually 13 came.

We don't have a youth program yet. Do you think the ping-pong-while-waiting-for-mom approach will get things started?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Austrian Hooper water?

Okay, family. I know how you all love to go to Soda Springs to drink Hooper water.

Don't you miss that great taste as you dip it straight from the spring?

Just a mile or two from our place in Sopron just a few feet over the border in Austria at Deutschkreuz (Sopronkeresztúr when it belonged to Hungary) they have the same water bubbling out of the ground. This shelter is not as picturesque as the one in Soda.

In fact, as you can see below, they've taken the fun out of collecting it--Germanic efficiency? They had a steady stream of soda lovers from both Austria and Hungary getting their free bubbly. Grandma Buckley and Aunt Gwen would love it. (I still think it tastes best with flavoring added though mom likes it straight.)

Though you can come and get as much as you want for free, they do bottle it to sell.

They even seem to have a mascot.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Kaland Park--zipline adventures

In an earlier post you saw pictures of the Kaland adventure park. We came back on Saturday with the missionaries and young single adults for a day of fun.

Do we look like we are ready for a good time?

Here I am twenty feet or so off the ground trying out hanging stilts.

These are our elders, Elder Baumgartl from Germany and Elder Müller from Switzerland.

Here is grandma Thompson Növér showing how it is done. (Click on the button to see her zip!)

How did you like the Tarzan yell? Old folks hiking the paths outside the park stopped and watched in amazement at the two spry "old timers" swinging high in the treetops with lots of young folks. (I think the young'uns were a bit surprised too!)

1956 Revolution

Saturday was a major national holiday remembering the 1956 Revolution against the Russians when Russian tanks came in and killed more than 2,500 people. 200,000 Hungarians fled the country--many coming to the USA. We have met several who have now retired from the USA and returned to Hungary.

Here is the public commemoration in the main square of Sopron--several tribute songs and poems. If you look carefully along where the crowds meet the building in the background, you can see the light of the torches, much like those that Robert and Joe carried through the streets of Pecs when we lived here in 1990. Joe and Robert joined their high school friends in the anticommunist freedom marches leading up to the election that ousted the communists.

My eyes teared up as later they sang the national anthem and I thought of how much God loves the Hungarians.

Angol ora--English class

I keep forgetting to take a picture of my "profi" English class--the most advanced conversational English class. We meet Thursday nights at 6 and Saturday afternoons at 3. We have four regulars and others who appear now and then.

For the last 10 minutes we do a spiritual message. I decided to start at the first of the Book of Mormon and do a chapter at a time telling the stories in English with them reading in Hungarian selected verses to make sure they understand. I try to use in the discussion any grammar items we have been practicing. I try to find a picture that illustrates what is happening. Our regulars are men so they like the action parts. I'll let you guess which story is illustrated here and the interesting discussion we had.

Pagoda--Space alien broccoli?

Shopping this week we found this interesting broccoli--called "pagoda." We googled it and came up with an entry that said "I've never seen this before." Of course we had to try it out. It tastes delicious. However, when you see it in soup, you wonder if a space alien hand is going to reach out and grab you. Do you suppose this is a genetic experiment gone wrong--a Frankenstein veggie?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mormon segítö kezek--Mormon Helping Hands

You all wrote asking about the toxic waste disaster Oct 4 in Hungary. A dam holding back the toxic waste from an aluminum plant broke and flooded the area. It happened about 100 miles from us just south of the town of Pápa, where we had spoken in church two weeks earlier. As we Floridians know, after a hurricane or other disaster, the church gets its "Mormon helping hands" busy and sends in teams of members to help out. Here's a picture of a crew sent out a week ago. You have to be completely covered because the waste is so toxic that it burns the skin.

Here is what the left over sludge looks like in the streets of Devecser, one of the three villages that were wiped out.

Notice how high on the house the flowing sludge came.

Of course, it filled the insides of the houses too. They don't know when the area will be habitable again.

One of the "safe" tasks they gave the helping hands was to shovel lime onto the sludge to help neutralize it.

Here is what you look like after a day of using your helping hands. Our branch didn't hear about the cleanup event until afterwards so these pictures were furnished by the Haslems, the missionary couple we replaced in Sopron. We thought you'd like to see them. The yellow vests are the helping hand shirts that the members wore to keep track of each other.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Visiting Bela IV

As long as we are in Hungary, we might as well visit long lost relatives. Let's go see the famous king Bela IV our ancestor from the 1200s who built a castle in Visegrad on the Danube north of Budapest.

Here is the castle on the mountain top.

The Austrians blew it up a couple of hundred years ago to prevent the rebellious Hungarians from using it as a base. Here's a look at the ruins from the air. Just parts have been restored.

The main gate is down the hill near the Danube.

Let me see. Do I remember the password so I can get past the guard?

We made it. Here's the lower tower. From here they kept watch on the Danube so they could control who was going up and down the river.

Here you can see how close the river is.

Let's see. To get to the main castle, all I have to do is follow the wall up to the top of the mountain.

Whew! We made it.

Bela didn't tell me he had a special dress standard for this occasion.

The food looks good. I knew he was expecting us.

How did he know that I am a dancing fool?

I don't think Bela liked my cha-cha.

Mom thinks that if I were a real Hungarian, this is how I would make my escape--standing on the back of a horse!

Folkdancers and Gypsy Music

Grandma is all decked out and ready for a night of culture in Budapest.

Are the walls of the theater fancy enough for you?

They seem to like naked babies. Grandma says they are just cute cherubs, but they look like naked babies to me.

Here's some music to set the mood. Click on the play button on the bottom left to start the video.

Grandkids, next time you clean up the branches and sticks from the yard, try this out.

Even the girls are kicking up their feet here.

Boys, think of this as an instructional video. Will you be able to do this by next Grandma's Camp? (After you start it, click on the "full screen" button on the lower right to get a closer look at what they are doing)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Couples time

Periodically the mission president calls all the couples into Budapest for special training and a cultural outing. Here we are getting ready to go out on the town.

Most of us stayed at this "boutique" hotel, the Belvedere. It's the sliver of a building with the string of balconies. It's next to Moskva Ter, not far from the mission office.

Boutique hotels are known for special touches they give to the rooms. How do you like this bed...

and this bathroom? We got lots of interesting decorating ideas.

How do you like the stars in the elevator?

We had our breakfast buffet in this atrium. It reminded us of our Florida room back home. The food was fantastic with lots of great choices.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

P-Day--our day to relax

I'm sure you are wondering what we do on Monday, our P-Day, or day off. One of the first things we do is wash the car. There is road construction nearby so our car gets quite dirty just sitting in front of the house. If I had taken a before picture, you would have thought that the car was brown.

Lately, we have been playing squash with the missionaries.

Then it is shopping time. During the week we pick up things here and there at the shops along the way, such as this meat shop...

this bakery...

or this fruit stand. The mother is picking up a supply of chestnuts to roast. Mom loves to pick up grapes every time we go by. Doesn't everything else look delicious? Notice that they have started to sell green wreaths to celebrate the fall season.

But on P-day we have the car, so we stop at a supermarket to pick up more than we would want to carry home in our bags. Imagine carrying home a watermelon or a big pumpkin or squash in your bag along with lots of milk and drinks! We've done it as part of our weight training program--two big bags each, but you have to be lazy once in a while :)

Here are the fruits and vegetables...

the bread (usually unwrapped and uncut though you can get some sliced bread in a wrapper)...

the meat (you point to what you want and tell them how much to cut off) ...

the juices, sodas, and fruit syrups ...

and the milk, eggs, and dairy products. Milk usually comes in boxes that you don't have to refrigerate until you open it.

Then we head out on a walk to explore the area. We had a frost yesterday and the leaves are starting to change color.

Doesn't the forest look lovely?

Of course you know that we love to try out all sorts of transportation.

On this walk through the hills we came to Kaland Park, or Adventure Park, a zip line park that is designed for all ages. This is the "bébi" or baby section. Look at the fun things they have for children up to age 7 to do suspended from the trees. Click on the pictures for a closer look.

Mom's trying this one out for the grandkids.

This is the "gyerek" or children's section for those up through their mid teens. It is one level higher in the trees above the "bebi" zip line trail. Can you see the lines that they keep themselves tied to?

The third level up is for the "felnöt" or adults. They give you a short training session on how to keep yourself secured to the safely lines then turn you loose. Click on the picture so you can see how you climb up to the third level. If you look back through the picture, you can sometimes see the three levels, one above the other, though the adult level does go zipping further off into the forest canopy.

Is that mom zipping through the trees?

It sure looks like it.

Who's this climbing the tree?

Why, it's dad!

The park was so exciting that dad felt like he had the superpowers of a rocket. We know our kids would love this park if they came to visit.