Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Visit to Hungary, at Heart and Home

Hello everyone!
How's it going?
I'm glad you're here,
I truly appreciate your visit.

I've been taking it slow
 in case you haven't noticed.

BUT, anyway...
I'm back and
here it is:  part two of my travelogue:



We left Austria and headed east,
over the border into Hungary.

After jam-packed days spent
exploring the bustling city of Vienna, (see it here)
the peaceful Hungarian countryside was quite a change!

Expansive, green, and serene,
we drove through it for a few hours until we arrived
 in the natural hot-springs area of Sarvar. 

Everywhere I looked was something historic and
interesting to see!
I think it is beautiful, and a bit like stepping back in time.

Churches and ancient structures dot the landscape.
There are even former forts with former moats.
So much has changed here in the last 20 years.
Some of the roads we traveled on were very new,
and there was no record of them
on a map, or the GPS.

But, my husband's keen sense of direction got us to
where we needed to be.
I love being married to an Eagle Scout!

The road less traveled seems to be
in Hungary, on the way to Sarvar.

This was what most of the highways looked like.
No traffic, for miles on end.
The green fields stretched to the horizon in every direction.

We passed through many picturesque and charming small towns,
each with it's own beautiful church tower.

The architecture was very traditional, yet colorful.

 This was just over the border, in the town of Sopron.
It's the home of Soproni beer,
and bakeries with my favorite poppy seed cake.

 It was definitely worth the travel, the jet lag,
the driving and the cold weather,
to have a big piece of this apfel/mohnkuchen.

I was a very happy girl.
While my husband worked long hours
an hour away at the factory,
I worked long hours getting massages, pedicures, facials,
and relaxing in the hot springs pools
at the Spirit Hotel in Sarvar.
Don't I look refreshed and revitalized?

Next time, I hope to see Budapest, on the other side of Sarvar.
But, in my opinion, this was the perfect first visit to Hungary!

Thanks for dropping by today.
I hope you enjoyed the sights of the Hungarian countryside!
Leave me a comment and let me know you were here!

Until next time,

I'm linking to Outdoor Wednesday, at A Southern Daydreamer
and Good Life Wednesday, at A Beach Cottage.
Thanks Susan and Sarah!

Wednesday Gratitude is on an indefinite hiatus.
Thanks for being patient!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Vienna, at Heart and Home

Hello my blogging friends!
Thank you for your patience while I've been away,
I'm here to say a quick hello.

I hope you all are well, and that you had the happiest of holidays,
and that the new year has started out for you in the best way possible!

For me, 2011 has been momentous so far!
My husband and I recently returned
from a quick trip to Austria and Hungary.
He travels there regularly for business.
This time I tagged along, for not exactly a 2nd honeymoon,
but instead a much needed escape from reality!

We left San Francisco early for the 14 hour flight.

Three plane changes later...

...we arrived ready for adventure,
first in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

Day and night, we explored the sights.

The snow from the storms a week earlier
 was melted by the time we arrived.
We bundled up and walked for miles and miles in the cold winter air.

For me, it was love at first sight!

There is no shortage of excitement in this glorious place!

Urban, refined, sophisticated, and very romantic,
exploring Vienna was exhilarating

And any city that puts such a high value on a daily sweet treat
 is my kind of place!

The "cafe'" break is a Viennese tradition!
There is a pastry shop on almost every corner.
There is always time in the afternoon
 to have a * nice pastry, with lots of whipped cream,
and a hot cup of strong Viennese coffee.
...or a beer.

Afterwards, -  time for more sightseeing:

St. Stephan's Cathedral in Stephansplatz, is undergoing renovations.

The front of the building is beneath photo-screen covered scaffolding.

Walking around Stephansplatz,
everywhere I looked
I found more and more things to love
about Vienna:

Beautiful sculptures:

Ancient Roman Ruins beneath the street:

*chocolate truffles, oh my:

Street corner flower stands:

   *Wienerschnitzel und kartoffelsalat:
(YUM!, and no, I didn't eat all that by myself  - we shared!!)

gilded altars, art, and statuary in huge cathedrals:

palaces open for exploring:

arboretum and gardens to wander through at Schonbrunn, the summer palace:

the folly at Schonbrunn:

churches and river boats on the Danube:

If you love art (abundant statues and fountains
 can be seen throughout the city)
museums (too many to visit in a few short days),
 history (Vienna is historically significant and a former Roman stronghold),
music (home of Mozart, Liszt and Strauss)
dancing (400+ balls are held annually in the city),
walking and exploring,(the center of the city is nearly car-free,
 and the underground subway is fast, cheap and easy to use),
eating and drinking (see * above, Austrian food is delicious!)
you will love Vienna!

Vienna has a vitality and energy that is stimulating.
Everyone was friendly and helpful.

It brought me so much joy to stroll the streets,
watch the people,
 and to simply be, there in the midst of everything.
I had a lovely visit,
and I'd happily return, anytime!

Up next:  Hungary

Until next time,

(linking to Outdoor Wednesday, at A Southern Daydreamer.
Thanks, Susan!)