We arrived in time for the glorious sunset, renowned due to Hitchcock’s comment in 1964.
Our apartment is brand new, however, funnily, the lobby & elevator seem a bit war damaged.
We enjoyed Budapest, though a deep sadness fell over everything when a small tour boat hit a Viking cruiser and sunk in 7 seconds. It was a horrible stormy night. Wm and I listened to the thunder for hours. We heard the news the next morning. Seven people were saved out of 35, mostly South Korean families on tour.
A lovely concert in St. Stephen’s Basilica was dedicated to those families. They played Mozart’s Requiem.
Beloved dictator of Yugoslavia is memorialized in Belgrade, Serbia. Some people say things were better when he was there. He carefully played the west and east, while doing his own thing. The joke they told: Tito is in the car and his driver asked if he should go left or right. Tito considers this and says “Signal right then turn left”. We still saw big ugly blocks of apartments (why did communism mean the sacrifice of beauty and color). But Tito only had one home (not 88 lavish palaces like Ceaucescu).
Our young guide (in his 30s) said that in his life, Serbia has changed governments 4 or 5 times. Each time, he would have to redo all paperwork: driver’s license, passport, titles, certificates… and he would have to pay for this change. It is now the Republic of Serbia and he hopes it stays for awhile.
We sailed up to the 13th century, reconstructed Golubac fortress at the entrance of the Djerdap Gorge. It had only been open for a week. Sixty five percent of it was reimagined. This is a good model for further sandcastle building!
Our ship then picked us up for the journey to Belgrade. At dinner we met a couple from Cedar Mill, Oregon! In fact, Beth Giles has a newsletter I used to receive called NW Organizing Solutions (a guru in organizing!)
Lepenski Vir was an archeological site in Serbia. It was found in the 1960s just before the dam was built, covering it up forever. Now there is an excellent museum and reconstruction of the levels of civilizations who lived here.
What is in Queen Elisabeth’s hand? I started asking around. I discovered that this Queen of Romania was a poet and author. Her pen name was Carmen Silva (song of the trees). Queen Marie, her daughter-in-law from England, was also a prolific writer.
I went to my favorite bookstore, Cărtureşti Carusel, and asked the young clerk if she had any English books by Queen Marie. She asked, “Our Queen Marie?”. Yes, and no books. But I found everything online: http://www.tkinter.smig.net/index.htm
Did you figure it out? (and, by the way, don’t you love this book stand!)
A tatting shuttle! She was making lace! And I am not alone in this art today. Many Romanian women make lace. Be sure to read Queen Marie’s The Country that I Love and The Story of My Life. Great stuff!
We spent a very cold day visiting Peleş Castle (King Carol I & Elizabeth’s home) & Pelişor (the home they built for Ferdinand & Marie).
Queen Marie visited Portland, Oregon in 1926. She came to see her good friend, Sam Hill, and his home, Maryhill, overlooking Cellilo Falls in the Columbia Gorge. She donated artwork and furnishings to his museum. (Another little bit of home!)
The Young Men of Scheii festival in Brasov, always begins on the first Sunday of May, for Easter & Spring. This tradition started before the 18th century. The men and their horses in full regalia, parade to the main plaza.
The rest of the day is filled with special songs and dances of the region.
We heard tunes that sounded Greek, Hungarian, Balkan… but we were told that they are all truly Romanian.
The old section of Brasov is lovely. Some buildings date back to the 1500s.