Winter

Canadian Winter

The past few days we have had significant snow accumulation in Toronto, Canada.  Snow is beautiful, but can make the roads treacherous, roofs compromised, and shoulders ached when it is time to clear the driveway.

St. Stephen’s Basilica

The Budapest Cathedral

The Roman Catholic St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest, Hungary, a neo-classical with two large bell towers, completed in 1905 in honor of King Stephen (c 975-1038).  It is considered to be the third largest building in all of Hungary.

Venerable Mindszenty

Mindzenty

I find it very interesting that just a week ago, I visited the tomb of the late Jozsef Mindszenty, who was declared Venerable today by His Holiness Pope Francis, a step towards Beatification.  Cardinal Mindszenty suffered much for the freedom of the Hungarian people from fascism, Nazism, and communism.   I am also reminded of my first visit to Hungary shortly after the fall of communism.  The tour guide said: “We were dreaming of freedom, but when freedom came we did not know what to do with it.”

Gyor

Gyor

Halfway between Vienna and Budapest is a picturesque town called Gyor.  Most travelers, unfortunately, do not realize how beautiful these towns are. I suppose many of them simply gravitate to big cities like Budapest, but I tell you, they are losing out.  I prepared a short clip as I walked around the old town.

 

 

The Freedom Bridge

Freedom Bridge in Budapest

I braved the cold weather in Budapest to take this shot of the Freedom Bridge from up the hill.  This bridge apparently was named after Emperor Franz Joseph I, but the Hungarians didn’t admire the Emperor as much as his wife, Elizabeth of Austria, so they prefer to call this bridge “Freedom Bridge” instead.  It was destroyed in World War II and reconstructed according to the original plans in 1946.

Esztergom

Esztergom

Esztergom is a city in the north of Hungary, on the right bank of the Danube river, which forms the border with Slovakia,  not very far from Budapest, and most accessible by city train.  I went there after lunch, walk around the town, visited their cathedral and some other important sites, and then returned to Budapest for supper.  Although the city seems to have been left behind, one can still appreciate the historicity of this place, which was once the capital of Hungary and the seat of the Primate of the Roman Catholic Church in the country.