Going “Hog-Wild” at North Carolina’s Lexington Barbecue Festival

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Festival Sand Sculpture

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.

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The Stillness Isn’t Silent on the Deck

LakeWhile 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.

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“No Nudie in Hospital”

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!”

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Exploration at Aquincum – a Roman Empire Outpost

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Nemesis, Goddess of Fate

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.

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My Exploration of Hungary’s Ópusztaszer National Heritage Park

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Arpad Memorial

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.

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Exploring for My Hungarian Ancestors

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Arpad Leading Magyar Chieftains (Heroes’ Square)

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.

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“Taking the Waters” in Budapest

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.

 

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.

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