Greetings from Budapest!
We send you warm greetings from Budapest where it is becoming much colder and the leaves are falling fast. Our semester is running quickly as well and students are happy that midterm exams are over.
Our group excursions always include educational and fun parts, in addition to being great bonding experiences. Here are some highlights:
The „Kids of Budapest 1956” Pilgrimage
We joined a memorial excursion organized by a foundation called Pesti Srác (Kids of Budapest), which was founded for the commemoration of the youth who fought for freedom in the revolution of 1956. The 1956 Revolution broke out on October 23 – now a national holiday in Hungary – so learning about it with the help of this excursion was especially appropriate for the fall group. This was a memorable live history lesson as we visited sights of the freedom fight, including the famous Corvin Alley, and the prison cells – now a museum – of revolutionaries. We also traveled to the National Historical Memorial Park in Ópusztaszer. The excursion was especially enjoyable as we traveled with a group of Hungarian students from Kőrösi Csoma Sándor Secondary School.
We also visited the 1956 Museum in Kiskunmajsa dedicated to the Hungarian Freedom Fight. It was established in 1991 by Gergely Pongrátz, his family, and friends. Pongrátz was the leader and hero of the Corvin Alley resistance, one of the fiercest battle scenes during the defense of Budapest. The memorial chapel, designed by György Csete, Kossuth Prize winner architect, symbolizes both the victory and the defeat of the revolution.
We closed the excursion on a lighter note: after a friendly game of soccer against the Hungarian team, we tried our feet learning traditional Hungarian folk dance to everyone’s delight. We closed the day with a beautiful campfire.
Western Hungary; Pannonhalma, Tihany, Szentantalfa
Our excursion to western Hungary included a guided visit of the 1100-year old Benedictine Archabbey of Pannonhalma, a World Heritage Site. Pannonhalma has been a significant educational center for centuries. The Archabbey’s scenery and especially its library amazed our students.
After a filling group lunch in a small town of Veszprémvarsány, we visited Lake Balaton, the “Hungarian Sea”. Though the weather was not very warm, some brave students decided to swim in the lake in Tihany. We closed the day by learning about organic farming as we visited a small family-run winery in Szentantalfa, dating back to the 18th century. We were welcomed warmly, learned a great deal about wine making, and were even were treated to great stories and delicious, home-made biscuits.
Elizabeth Simon, Resident Director
Judit Fekete, Resident Coordinator