Having moved to Laurel Park near Hendersonville in Western North Carolina’s “Blue Ridge Mountains,” I shouldn’t be surprised by the number of places given names for “rocks” such as “Flat Rock,” “Jump Off Rock” and “Chimney Rock.”
But I have been surprised; each has an interesting history connected with it. This blog story is about these rock formations and the stories about them… stories which have been passed between generations of Native Americans and others living in these beautiful mountains.
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
As a recent Yankee transplant to North Carolina, I have learned about the loyalty people of the “Tar Heel State” have for their preferred brand of slow cooked pork barbecue.
There are two primary variations of North Carolina barbecue. “Lexington Style” (sometimes referred to as “Piedmont Style”) claims to be the best barbecue in the world.
North Carolinians living along the Atlantic coastal areas eat more “Eastern Style” pork barbecue. And they have a different point of view about this “world’s best” claim.
My story, however, is not to draw distinction to barbecue preferences but rather is about my recent visit to the 35th Annual Barbecue Festival held in Lexington, NC… the legendary world capital of slow cooked barbecue.
While I am recovering from a surgery by recuperating at my brother and sister-in-law’s house in North Carolina, I have spent a good deal of time sitting on their house deck. There is much to see looking at lush vegetation, the trees, the pictured mountain lake and a distant tree-covered peak. There is often stillness sitting here as I write but in the stillness there isn’t silence.
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.
Rise and shine! My morning began very early on the day I had planned to visit Ópusztaszer National Heritage Park in Hungary. The neighbor’s rooster “went off” at 4:30 am at dawn’s first light so I got up and prepared for the day. The hotel’s cook-to-order breakfast was a wonderful start to a day I knew would include a significant amount of walking in the large park.
My primary reason for wanting to visit this specific park was to explore more about Hungarian history, specifically Arpad. The park is located on the grounds where the Magyar chiefs founded Hungary in 896. I also was interested in several other facets about this place.