In the past several years I have traveled throughout several European countries and grew fond of really great coffee. I believe that most people have not experienced the aroma and smooth taste of truly great coffee.
It isn’t that I think of myself as a connoisseur or an advocate of beans from specific places throughout the world. I also don’t believe I am a snob because I rather enjoy a cappuccino or a latte than a cup of black Americano.
This story is about exceptionally great coffee with a particular emphasis on cafes and coffee in Europe. Like the one in this photo inside Cafe Konditorei in Vienna, Austria, many European cafes sell delicious pastries along with exceptional coffee. Fantastic coffee, pastries and food are also found at the famous Cafe Central, also in Vienna
I was recently hospitalized for four weeks in Budapest for a serious emergency surgery. There were numerous experiences to record in my blog during this time but because of the remnant effects of the anesthesia, it is often difficult for me to determine reality from my vivid imagination. One, though, is certain when my nurse Etta required me to wear pajamas citing in easily understandable English “No nudie in hospital!”
In a few months I will have lived in various places in Europe for four years. My explorations have spanned geography from the Iberian peninsula in the west to the mountains of Transylvania in the east. One thing is consistent in every location, the Romans have been there.
The vastness of the Roman Empire is difficult for me to comprehend. In the history of mankind, their story is relatively recent. Even so, I find it to be more than a simple curiosity. And such it has been in my exploration of Aquincum, the Roman provincial capital of Pannonia Inferior. Aquincum is a treasure trove of antiquities such as the limestone statue of Nemesis, the goddess of fate, created in the 2nd century.
During my explorations of individuals in my family tree, I have often discovered several interesting characters. I have written about some of them in blog stories such as “My Ancestor the Witch,” a convicted Salem sorceress.
About 10 years ago while doing additional research in my mother’s family tree I surprisingly discovered some Hungarian heritage. While I am presently in Hungary, it has become very exciting to obtain more insight into this part of my family lineage from the National Museum and further Internet searches. Surprised once again, the lineage goes directly to the foundation of Hungary in 896 AD!
This story is about my adventures discovering memorials for Arpad, “First Prince of the Magyars” and memorials for Bela IV, King of Hungary, and one of Arpad’s 11th great grandsons.
Many things in Budapest interest me. I find the history and architecture to be incredibly fascinating and portions of the city along the Danube River banks are gorgeous. The Parliament building is, in my opinion, the most beautiful building in the world. And Chain Bridge, Matthias Church and the Royal Palace are spectacular sites along (or over) the river. It is no wonder that these banks of the Danube have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Royal Palace and Chain Bridge
Matthias Church in Buda
Parliament in Pest
The heritage in this rather small area involves several civilizations, violence, wars, and occupations. These are remembered in wonderful museums, statues in Heroes Square, or dark times at Terror House. The marks of these civilizations are found in many places in Budapest… not only in the art, music, and food but also in what is referred to as “taking the waters” associated with the numerous spas with heated water from thermal springs in the city and across Hungary.
Legend persists in Budapest that the four stone, sculpted lions at the corners of Chain Bridge have no tongues. There exists no particular authority about the public perception of the lions placed in 1852, a few years following completion of the bridge between Buda and Pest.
Some even say more than 15 decades after their creation that their sculptor, János Marschalkó, after criticism for omitting the tongues, hurled himself into the Danube River. The legend goes on that he didn’t survive the leap and thus became the first suicide from jumping from the bridge!