Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Migrating down to the south of Hungary, we marvel at field upon field of sunflowers. What a glorious sight. We seriously want to stop, wander through the fields, and do some artwork and photography. But it’s too hot, and we’re on a schedule, and our van driver appears concerned, and a bit lost. Next stop: Baja. This exit or the next? Oops…the one we just passed…while two in the front attend to navigation,

the rest of us snooze off jet lag and heat prostration, or shoot pix left right and center—sunflowers everywhere.

We are jostled awake as the van veers off an exit and around a rotary. We see signs for Baja (sounds like ‘Goya’): 20 kilometers. A few more minutes of “sightseeing” (aka wander about lost), our driver pulls over to make a phone call. Imagine the construction workers’ reaction as 9 women and one guy spill out of the van and start doing dance, yoga, and aerobic stretches. We ask them if they have water.

A few minutes later Nate wheels up on his bike, signals, “Follow me!” and wheels off again, while we follow in the van, attentive to his shouts and hand signals.

A few blocks later we arrive at the King Arthur English School, where Nate’s father Arnold is tending a fountain in the middle of a beautiful garden. What an oasis to come into in the middle of this hot day and city. Arnold’s welcome is as large as his frame. His wife Detty is as gracious and as she is adorable. And their two chocolate labs are just dog friendly. Their story is another one of those God-sized stories I am fascinated to learn, and I will get to that story too, in a later post.

Onto Youth Island, Nate leading us on—now scootering on the bike, which has lost its chain. We drive over a low bridge over a branch of the Danube. Oh my goodness. I see beaches, flowers, Hungarians, and the lushness of the island.

The schlep continues as we lug our luggage up five small flights into our rooms, dividing up into roommates, and collapse in the almost-air-conditioned dining room for a copious, hot Hungarian meal: a plate of pasta and deep fried pork. Yep.

By afternoon we are IN the Danube, trying to bring body temps down while we wait for the second half of our team to arrive. Chuck and Gayle begin sand sculptures; Marcia and I sketch and do watercolors. Soon there is a small crowd and we are pointing, laughing, trying to bridge the language barrier. The mission has begun.

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