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.”
It seemed to me that everywhere you go in the city of Gyor in Hungary is photograph worthy. Even the sunset on a winter season gives a certain mystique to it.
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.
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 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.
Emperor Constantine built this ancient church. He loved Sofia so much, he wanted to make it the capital of the Byzantine Empire. The church is surrounded today by all these buildings because during the Communist era there was an attempt to hid religious sites from public view, so I am told.
I have always wanted to visit Sofia and the opportunity came this year. I was visiting Vienna and decided at the last minute to spend a few days there. What an eye-opener it was! The city has much to offer. Lots of historical places to admire. Easy to travel around. The people are friendly. And, above all, quite reasonably cheap. The photo above is considered to be the biggest Orthodox Church in all of Bulgaria. It is called the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.