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Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary July 11th 2015

Szia (Hello!) from Hungary! Welcome to our 2015 Thrivent Builds Worldwide team blog! Everyone has arrived safely in beautiful Budapest! Egészségedre! Cheers and good health to you, our faithful followers! There are 289 people following along in our Hungarian adventures this week. We appreciate your prayers for good health, good weather, good camaraderie, good food, good travels and good work! After getting settled into hotel rooms, we held our first team meeting in Hotel Benczúr where team members will spend tonight due to a cooling system issue at Medosz Hotel. We shared introductions, our experiences with previous service trips (several first-timers in our group), an overview of our week's agenda, and a welcome orientation with Renata Scheili, our host coordinator with Habitat for Humanity Hungary. It's a blessing that Ren... read more
Mike, Laurie, Renata and Carla
Lynn, Julene, Levi, Josh and Chuck
Tiff, Cal, Sharon, Matt, Becca, Jared and Mark

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest July 11th 2015

Let me be frank: The visit to what remains of a Jewish quarter in Budapest was a downer. Yes, there is the restored amazing Dohany Synagogue, where I attended Shabbat services on Friday evening, rebuilt in the 1990s with funds from the Estée Lauder family and Tony Curtis (both of Hungarian Jewish descent) that was bombed by the pro-Nazi fascist Arrow Cross Party in February 1939, was used as a stable under the Nazis, and until its restoration had a huge hole in its roof and grass growing in the sanctuary. There are other synagogues as well in the quarter that are open, and Chabad has established the first mikveh (ritual bath) since the war (which on the inside is supposed to be quite beautiful although you'd never guess from the outside). But the neighborhood is ... read more
Guarded Entrance to Dohany Synagogue
Ruins of the Rumbach Synagogue
Padlocked Entrance of the Rumbach Synagogue

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest July 10th 2015

As our Easy Jet flight from Paris approached Budapest I peered out of the cabin windows at the fields below. To the right of me sat a young Chinese couple, the man sporting a Mohawk haircut and a sleeveless Nike brand t-shirt. To my left across the aisle sat my father, his ears clogged and ready to land. Various thoughts scurried through my mind: 100 years ago Europe was full throttle in self-destruct mode and the Austro-Hungarian Empire seconds away from collapse. 70 years ago the Soviets had succeeded in forcing the Nazis to retreat from the city to take over as its newest imperial master. In which neighborhood did Theodore Herzl spend his childhood? Should I remove my Jewish star as I had been advised by some due to renewed expressions of antisemitism? (Hell no, ... read more
The Emperor's Castle on the Buda Side of the Danube
Parliament
The Blue Danube

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest July 10th 2015

It was not until 1873 that the three cities of Buda, Pest and Obuda were united to create the international hub that is known as Budapest. Elena, our guide, told us that even today native inhabitants of either side of the river would never dream of deserting the one side for the other. This morning we embarked on a whirlwind tour of Buda and Pest with a small group and a guide. We heard about the history of the city from its early mythic pre-Christian origins until today. We drove on Andrassy Avenue, also known as Budapest's Champs Elysees, built up in anticipation of the 1896 exposition celebrating 1000 years since the founding of Hungary (yes, 1896), viewed the walls outside of the Buda part of the city that had been constructed in the Middle Ages, ... read more
Pest Side from the Hotel Roof
Map of the Old Quarter of Buda Near the Palace
Medieval Wall

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest July 8th 2015

The cost of flying from St. Petersburg to Belgrade was rather high and instead of going direct I chose to fly via Budapest and see its sights. I bought the tickets only one month before departure from Wizz Air, and I had done some careful planning and research of possible bus routes, connections, train schedules, the surrounding countries, and finally decided to visit Budapest, Novi Sad, Zagreb, and Ljubljana. I also had to obtain a Schengen visa. I flew from Moscow to Budapest early in the morning. I came to Moscow from St. Petersburg at 3.40 on the morning of July 8th and stayed at Kursky Train Station until the metro opened. The flight departure was one hour late. Arrived in Budapest, I bought a bus ticket to Kobanya-Kispest metro station which is its terminus and ... read more
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Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest June 29th 2015

Five days in this masterpiece of a capital, Budapest, was a stroke of genius choice by Jeanette. While we have considered visiting many cities in Europe via a river cruise, we are exceedingly pleased that we opted to spend time in a city such as this. Very walkable, historic, hospitable and cosmopolitan, I would find it less rewarding to visit with just a stop on a cruise line using the packages offered on board. As with any visit on a crises line anywhere, it is a good appetizer for the main course at a later date. By the way, I make no apologies for the prominence of the Parliament building in my photographs because it was simply captivating in design and appeal. Morning haze and dark rain clouds somewhat obscured tho view of Pest from the ... read more
Inside the building where we stayed.
Enjoying wine on the internal  veranda overlooking the courtyard.
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Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest June 29th 2015

The splendour of Budapest at night - I will let the pictures speak for themselves. ... read more
Starting the cruise minutes before the sun set.
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Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest » Pest June 22nd 2015

It was nice to come back to Budapest for a visit before embarking on Croatia. It's a place located by the river Danube with Buda one side and Pest the other. Before you say it, obviously I am in the 'Pest' side! :) My accomodation this time is a very petite 2 storey apartment where I can actually live normally for a few days. By this, I mean I've put a wash on, cooked my own dinner and done the dishes. Strangely it felt nice for a change. My location again is pretty central with the Budapest Eye and St Stephens Church minutes from where I'm located. The church won this time and I'm really glad it did. Like all religious buildings, it is wonderfully decorated with amazing statues and murals. However the really lovely thing ... read more
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Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest June 20th 2015

The pearl of the Danube, Budapest was born in 1873 when authorities of mountainous Buda and lowland Pest decided to join forces and create one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Until the First World War the city flourished impressively as the second capital of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Following the II World War, Hungary fell under the influence of the Soviet Union. The communist ideology changed a great portion of the urban environment mostly in peripheral areas. Luckily the large historic heritage still dominates the city center. Once an elegant bourgeois city, today Budapest is a decadent metropolis full of culture and art. Urbanism The river Danube flows through the geographical center dividing it between Buda and Pest, two morphologically different areas. The chaotic urban grid of Buda owes its organization to its hilly ... read more
Budapest Secession
Vajdahunyad palace
Keleti train station

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest June 17th 2015

The start of our wonderful and decetant Senic Cruise. After three days in Budapest we joined out river cruise Monday afternoon. It is a little over the top the service, Accomdation and meals, 5 star we are told. Got picked up at a meeting point and bused from Pest to Buda. Meet and have now joined up with a lovely couple from Wagga. Had an early dinner and did a short night cruise of Budapest (photo). Then a bus tour of more of Budapest and then an underground hospital build during WWII the first day. Formal dinner with the captain Tuesday night after leaving at 4.30pm. Then the first of 67 locks at at 6.00am Wednesday morning. Just arrived in Vennia and off to a concert at a castle tonight after dinner. The food is over ... read more




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