great B and B in Prague
We are in the final stages of packing for our trip to Europe to build houses for Habitat For Humanity in Szarvas,Hungary.We will fly to London from Vancouver on May 12th, then to Prague on the 14th.
We travel next by train on the 16th to Budapest. THe Habitat portion starts on the 17th in Szarvas and will last until the 30th. We then will come back to Budapest and take a boat to Bratislava.By June 2nd we will be off to Vienna by boat on the Danube again. We fly back to London on the 4th and then home on the 5th.
We are now in Budapest waiting to catch the Habitat bus to Szarvas. We had a group dinner last night after a full day of exploring Budapest.
We were not able to get enough time on a computer to keep up the Blog - Also not completely familiar with entering material yet so decided to wait until we got home.
We are now home trying to get over our jet lag. I think I have figured out the data entry so here goes....
The first part of the trip included our flight to
statues in Prague
can you imagine art like this in Canada?
London and one night there. We went to the Musical "Jersy Boys" and it was excellent- story of Frankie Vali and the Four Seasons.Highly recommend it if you get a chance-it is playing in New York and London.
We flew out the next day to Prague on EasyJet. Easyjet is a basic no-frills airline and the scramble for the seats is most entertaining and worth the price of admission.Our total cost for 2 tickets from London to Prague and then back to London from Vienna was about $250 cdn-flights were both over 2 hours. Prague was great and very easy to navigate using the Metro. We spent about a day and a half there and then caught the train to Budapest-6.5 hrs.
Budapest is a big and busy city-we got taken by a gypsy cab driver outside the train station-apparently you never hail cabs on the street-we got charged $42 instead of the real rate which would have been $21.
We arrived the day before the HFH project started so we spent some time on our own exploring Budapest-A major highlight was the Margaret Island running track- 5k tartan track - very nice. We also
went to the huge city market. Paprika and lots of it.
We met our group the next day and then headed out to Szarvas on Sunday by bus.
Monday was a work day and we started off digging step foundations by hand in heavy compacted clay-a tough day.After that things sorted out a bit as people gravitated to jobs by skill level (or lack of it) I ended up working on carpentry projects for the rest of the time-soffits,porch rafters and door thresholds. Jan was with the cement crew and did some insulating. The work days were from 8 am to 12 and then 1 to 4. We walked to a nearby pub for lunch which we made ourselves with bread,cheese,ham etc. We had hot weather and the temperature was in the mid thirties.
We worked Monday to Thursday the first week then took Friday off and worked Saturday. The purpose of this was to give us a chance to work with the homeowner families who could only be there on weekends. They have to put in 1200 hours to fulfill their Habitat agreement.The second week we worked from Monday to Thursday. Friday was a travel day
a picture at the start of work
to get back to Budapest.
Most evenings we had R and R events including a history walk with Levi the construction supervisor. It was
rather moving as he somehat tearfully gave us a summary of 1000 years of Hungarian history. We also went bowling one night. (I was the overall winner and Jan finished last by a wide margin)
We also did two out of town tours-one to Gulya -highlight was a visit to a public thermal bath. The second trip was to Szced which I think is the second largest city in Hungary. There were several events on that day including a big wine festival-Hungary is a major wine producer-who knew?
Things went quickly as we were always busy-most people fell into bed at night at 10.00. We were up every day at 6.45 to have the hotel breakfast and then catch the bus to the site at 7.45. Most nights we ate at the Corner Bar Restaurant which was about a 15 minute walk from the hotel.
On the last night in Szarvas, we had dinner with the families-lots of heartfelt thanks etc. Most of us were in tears by the end of the
waiting for instructions
On Friday we went out for a last meal in Budapest with the team at a good restaurant. On Saturday everyone went their separate ways vowing to keep in touch.
Jan and I left Budapest Saturday morning by hyrofoil boat to go down the Danube to Bratislava in Slovakia.
(as it turned out we were going up the Danube against the very strong current) The trip took about 6 hours.We arrived there about 1.30 and did the usual tourism stuff-castles,churches etc.
The next day we decided to get out of town so went out to Devin Castle Park by bus. We rented bikes and did a cycle trip into Austria-about 55 km return-Both of us were hurting by the end.
The next day we were off to Vienna by boat. After 2 days there we flew to London and then home on June 5th.
This was truly a worthwhile experience-we met some wonderful and interesting people. It was gratifying to see the progress made over the two weeks on the homes. The appreciation of the homeowners and the Szarvas HH staff made it all the better. We would do it again.
Apprentice carpenters from Germany
These two showed up on the site-they are doing a traditional carpentry apprenticeship which means they travel around for three years doing whatever carpentry work the can find.They worked on our site for three days and did the timber frame porches-mortice and tenon etc
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