Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Shoes along the Duna

Far away, it just looks like people misplaced their shoes along the Duna. Up close, you realize that these are bronze replicas of shoes. This marks the site where many Jewish victims lost their lives.

This part I knew as I took these photos on a walk with Kat one rainy afternoon. It was not a weary day considering the weather conditions. But, when my footsteps wandered across the paths of these unlaced shoes with their tongues pulled out, my heart did feel a little weary. I sent my photos to many friends and family members and was asked several times, "What is the story behind the shoes"?

The Shoes on the Danube Promade was created by a man named Gyula Pauer and is a memorial on the bank of the Danube in Budapest. It is a memorial to the people who fell victim to the Arrow Cross Militiamen in Budapest and depicts their shoes left behind as they were cast into the river after having just been shot during WWII. There were shoes of men, women and children, including the shoes of a toddler posted above.
I was struck by the little shoes. I could not imagine holding a gun up to a toddling toddlers little head for the beliefs he is too young to possess. This made me think about this story and want to know more about what happened. So I researched the history of this instillation piece.
During WWII between 250 and 400 workers worked around the clock to prevent its Jewish population from being sent to the many concentrations camps that marked the war. They were housed at the Swedish Embassy and other buildings in the area. On January 8, 1945 all of the inhabitants were rounded up and taken away to the banks of the river by the Arrow Cross Execution Brigade. Still wanting to prevent a massacre, 20 policemen armed with bayonets rescued them all, and helped them to flee the country. The survivors remember how they were lucky to escape the fate that their loved ones endured the Christmas the year before, being shot and thrown into the cold Danube river.
This is the site where Jewish men, women, and children lost their lives. The place where they were shot for their beliefs and thrown into the icy winter waters as a means of extermination only after they removed their ever so valuable shoes. They may have lost their lives, but the memory and their shoes remain forever.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Buildings along the Duna

This is the Duna, or Danube River. On Saturday, Kat and I took the day to walk along the river, up to The Liberation Monument, and just have a fun day in the rain. Along the way we took pictures of the many buildings we saw along the way. This is one of my favorite buildings in all of Budapest. It is Matyas Templom, or Matyas Church. Not only is it in my favorite architectural style or Neo Gothic, but also has a roof constructed of glazed multicolored tiles. This picture does not do this building any justice, it is truly remarkable.
This is another remarkable building also done in the Neo Gothic style. This is my second favorite building. Along with Matyas Templom, they are the only two I remember by name because they have touched me in some way. This is The Parliament. I read later that this is the biggest building in Hungary and has become the recognized symbol of Hungary. I think this is true, because when I am home and think of Budapest these two buildings are the first in my mind. This photo is just a section of Parliament, but as you can see it is a wonderful looking building.
This is another awesome building. This is the Calvinist Church. I have taken a distant picture from across the river, and then a closer shot to try to reveal its beauty. This too is in the Neo Gothic Style, I tend to be drawn to this style. This church also has a roof made of colorful ceramic tiles. It is a major focus point when you are along the banks of the Duna, I am often drawn to the beauty of its artwork in tiles.

This last photo is of St Anne's Church. Where ever you look from on top of Gellert Hill, you will see there twin towers standing above the other buildings. It is done in my least favorite style, Baroque, but stands out to me as well. At least you can not see any fat golden baby angels when looking from the banks of the river.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Arlo, Briggi, Emily, Eve and I went for a hike together a little north of my village. We had a great time and here are some photos so you can see what we did.

We traveled to Miskolc, then onto Lillafured where we wanted to see Istvan Cave and hike in the Bukk Mountains. We had to wait for our cave tour so we decided to eat. This is a Hungarian Pizza. It is very common for pizza to have ketchup on it. Emily and I thought it was disgusting so we could not eat it. Plus this ketchup was more like French salad dressing then ketchup anyway.

We had to wait, but eventually made it into Istvan Cave. We were not allowed to use flashes in the cave so most of my pictures did not come out well, including the one of the bat that I took for my mother since it is her favorite animal. This is Arlo, he looks like he is a member of the Blair Witch Project, all he needs is some snot running down into his mouth!
Arlo and Emily resting and talking while they wait for the rest of us. I am sure we are off using the woods, it is very very common for me to have to use the bathroom while out and about.
I don't really remember what happened here, but as you can see Arlo and Emily thought is was hilarious. They laughed hard as they sat perched on the throne of stone.
And with the Fall like atmosphere came many opportunities for good old fashion leaf fights. As you can see we are just big kids enjoying the out doors. OOPPS!! Briggi fell, and Arlo takes his chance to kick her while she is down. Oh well, she gets her revenge in the next photo.
Next we hiked to the top of the "mountain", I say "mountain" because anyone who has seen a real mountain would call this a hill at best a bluff. We decided we were too good for the path and made our own climbing straight up.
This is me. I am at the top of the hill and very hot. Let me tell you why. Anyone who knows me well knows I loose just about everything. Well, this day was not different. After making our own path, I dropped my new camera. Did I notice right away? Of course not, I had to scale my way back down grab the fallen camera and then climb back up. So I did a lot of the hill twice and was pooped when I finally reached the rest of the crew.