Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Highlights

Dear Readers,

The wedding is over and we have left beautiful Szeged, the town with the odd to the western eye name, but a place that very much pleased this westerner’s eyes. We are now approaching cruising altitude on our way to Brussels, where we will spend two nights prior to departing for Paris.

Now, let’s see, what were the highlights of the past few days. The bride was beautiful, intelligent, and a good runner. The groom made an unexpected appearance at the reception dressed in a kilt, and he was not the only one – there were a flock of regimental men. Dancing played a large roll in the festivities with salsa lessons on several nights. The women of Hungary are particularly beautiful and because of the unseasonably hot weather, clothing was as light as possible.

The buildings of Szeged had particular charm in the area where we were staying. The river Tizsa experienced a great flood in 1879 that took out 90% of the existing town and so most of the buildings in the old section along the river were all rebuilt at the same time with particular attention paid to the placement so that there are parks and plazas everywhere. Excellent use is put to these public spaces with outdoor cafes in abundance.

Other memorable experiences include the Turkish baths, the late night walk along the river that turned into a swim for some. The dancing of course. The food with a special focus on the fish soup. The paprika. The synagogue. The unfamiliar bed coverings that had us wondering whether to sleep under it or over it. The absinthe. The people watching. The local wines. The local currency where 1000 Hungarian forint is worth a little more than $5 US. So, we walked around with bill denominations of 5,000 and 10,000.

Then there was the heat. We did not see a cloud the whole time we were in Szeged. The temperatures exceeded 100 degrees F everyday except one. It actually forced me to adopt the siesta lifestyle – out in the morning before it got too hot, then back to the “exceptional” room with the AC for an afternoon nap, and then out again about four or six for a bit of a drink with dinner around nine.

The swirl of languages. So many of the wedding group were translators and linguists. There were almost twenty countries represented by the assembled guests. The ceremony itself was conducted in Hungarian, then French, then English as separate translators rotated in turn. There were many late nights of sitting out in the sidewalk cafes conversing in three or more languages.

There was music and street theater all over the place. We were there at a time that coincided with a month long festival period. We never knew when we would stumble upon a series of actors on stilts, or fire jugglers, or marching bands. One night there was a full blown symphonic performance complete with a choir, folk dancers in traditional costumes, and some haunting solo vocalists.

In fact, once we got over the initial jet lag and recouped some lost sleep, and learned to hang on to our backpacks, the whole time in Szeged was completely delightful.

Now we are on our way to Brussels where we will once again impose upon our hosts, the bride and groom. We will visit with them for a day before they fly off to Italy for a few days on honeymoon. The groom will fly back to Brussels next week and travel by car to meet us at a ferry landing on the coast of Brittany where we will sail for an island called Belle Ilse. There we will stay for our last days in Europe, surrounded by the groom’s family. The bride will remain in Italy for a two week language course.

In between Brussels and Belle Ilse, will be a little road trip for the kids, myself, and the groom’s daughter who is my daughters age. We will see Paris and then rent a car for a three day jaunt across northwestern France.

So there you have it. I will try to upload this when we get to Brussels. Till then, au revoir.

2 Comments:

Blogger lime said...

what wonderful highlights. it sounds like you all are making some absolutely wonderful memories. thanks for taking us along for the ride!

12:39 PM, July 25, 2007  
Blogger Cheesy said...

Have fun and partir sain et sauf!

7:25 PM, July 25, 2007  

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