Travel with our family as we learn about, live amongst and embrace the people, culture and country of Hungary.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pony rides, castles and beautiful countryside

- Such a nice morning in Papa...we finished our school year last Friday so today, Tuesday, after cleaning up the house we went to a park downtown, close to the palace (no one lives in there now and it's under renovation. I will talk more about it when we tour it later this month). After playing at the park for awhile, a man came along with two horses pulling a wagon. The horses had their pony next to them. He took all of us for a ride around the park...for free. So neat!!! And riding with us was a Hungarian dad who spoke some English and ends up knowing some friends of ours...another pilot family...what a small town. Then, after the park, we walked a few blocks down to get some ice cream. What a wonderful morning. I think we will have to do this every week this summer!

- We've done a lot since I last blogged! In mid-April we had our first visitors to our home, Jennifer and Gerald Jacobs. Had a great time with them!!! One of the days we visited Castle Hill in Budapest. Beautiful views of the Danube River and the church up there, Matthias Church, was beautiful! Here's one of us with the Danube and Parliament building in the background. You can see all the photos on my Facebook page.

- We were very thankful that the Lord protected Jeff's family in North Carolina as tornados in April came within a mile of their home. We continue to pray for all the people in the US who have been impacted by this horrible weather!

- April was a month of visiting European cities as we took a drive up to Vienna, about two hours northwest of us. We visited the zoo there and had a wonderful time!  A couple of differences I noticed between Budapest and Vienna...graffiti in Vienna and more ethnically diverse in Vienna with many Muslims and Asians. Once again, we were so thankful for our GPS...I can't imagine navigating these big European cities without them. The streets are narrow, street signs are hard to find or nonexistent and it's crowded. After the zoo we enjoyed some incredibly good Chinese food...some of the best we've ever had. Nathan said it was even better than that's some good food! I posted pics from the zoo on my Facebook page as well, with explanations where appropriate. Here is a pic of Nathan and Sarah enjoying themselves.

- We also have been spending some time at the local park...very pretty setting and lots of fun things to play on. Here are the girls playing with one of the other families we are close to.

- The day before Easter we visited Szarvasko Castle, an abandoned castle about 20 minutes away in Dobronte. It was built by the Hungarians in 1360 and destroyed by the Turks sometime later. We climbed up to it and had a great time walking all around the ruins. Sarah kept exclaiming, "Oh Mommy, the castle is broken." Then she would pile up little rocks to help rebuild it.This time Jake was allowed to go and he had a great time exploring. Jeff even let him off his leash at one time and he sticked close by. We're so glad we brought him with us to Hungary! I posted many pics on Facebook but here is a picture of the kids with the castle in the background. Some of the Christians held an Easter Sunrise service here the next morning but 5:30 am was a bit early to get the whole Daniels crew up, dressed, out of the house and up a hill. We celebrated Easter with some friends who have a house church here in Papa.

- Jeff made a couple of C-17 trips in the past being to Entebee, Uganda. He also went back to Altus, OK for his quarterly simulator training. He is looking forward to doing his next quarterly training in Charleston...he's looking forward to seeing family and friends on that trip.

- I've mentioned the storks before. Here is a picture of a Daddy stork in the nest that is on top of a restaurant we like to go to. I don't know the name of the restaurant in Hungarian but the English-speakers all call it, appropriately enough, the Storks Nest Restaurant. Had some of the best onion soup ever!

- We began the month of the May with the most amazing week in Germany and Austria. We first went to Garmisch, Germany to the Edelweiss Lodge. It's one of five or six hotels that the US armed services run throughout the world. We stayed at the hotel in Korea, The Dragon Hill Lodge, when we first moved to Korea five years ago.  The kids especially enjoyed the breakfast and dinner all-you-can-eat buffets and the pool. We also got to visit a commissary and I was able to get some flavored coffee creamer - I haven't been able to find that in Papa yet.

- This area of the world has got to be one of the most beautiful on earth. We visited one of King Ludwig's palaces - Linderhof Palace and his castle Neuschwanstein Castle, and they were beautiful but they paled in comparison to God's creation all around us. It was awesome!!! We also visited the Salzburg Cathedral which was very pretty inside, but taking hikes in the countryside brought me much closer to the Lord. We are definitely going back to Garmisch again! Here is a picture of the family in the German countryside. Once again, I posted many more pictures on my Facebook page. Jeff is an awesome photographer!

- The second place we visited was Austria, near Salzburg. We visited Salzburg and saw some of the places that the Sound of Music was based on. It was an absolutely wonderful trip!!! As we were driving back into Hungary from Austria, though, we knew we were headed home. We are so happy to call Papa, Hungary our home.

- We celebrated Sarah Catherine's 3rd birthday on May 9th. She had a party with some friends and got to open some wonderful presents from all her family back in the US. She is such a sweet, beautiful, funny, lovable little girl. Our family is absolutely blessed by her every day!

- We planted a garden and a bunch of flowers in the backyard. Our yard will not compare, though, to many of the beautiful gardens that our neighbors have. They do love their flowers in Papa...and so do I!