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Martonvasar to Sopron

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July 2-4

Written August 1

Dear Friends and Families,


Our Hungary adventure had to end at some point. On our last day near Budapest, Marianne's cousin Tibor ("Tibi") and his wife Klare ("Klari") hosted us at their house in the suburb of Martonvasar. After a pleasant breakfast on the patio, we walked over to the neighboring park where we saw a Beethoven Museum. After that, it was a few pictures in the park and down the road to Sopron, on the Hungary-Austria border.

Breakfast patio. The picture doesn't do it justice, but the setting was most pleasant.
The scene on the way to the Beethoven Museum park.
This was the first kindergarten. Not the first in Hungary, the first anywhere!
Terez Brunszwick (1775-1861) was the founder of the kindergarten and the movement to have schools for very young children.
The Beethoven Museum itself was in a grand old home in a beautiful park. Inside was a collection of memorabilia, including instruments, sheet music and even the mask made of the composer's face when he died. (Apparently a common practice in those days.)
Finally, it was a couple pictures of the two happy couples
And then down the road again.    


Our last Hungarian stop was Sopron, on the far Western side of the country, a stone's throw from Austria. Here we found a very pleasant hotel (Hotel Wollner) in the old town. Sopron itself was pretty enough on this Sunday, with the required towers, churches and a square, but it was on Monday, when people returned to work, that it felt like a lively little place, worthy of a return visit. But even on Sunday, we found a museum of Hungarian mining, a special treat for an engineer. We were the only guests so we were given a private tour through the old displays and learned that, after thousands of years in operations, there are no longer any active mines in Hungary. Globalization and environmental laws have made them all uneconomic.


Hotel Wollner, a nicely restored old building where we stayed and where we had Sunday dinner in the courtyard.
Sopron itself was quiet on Sunday, but had a small, old city center. Some of the buildings have been restored and some await fixing and these reminded us of our old neighborhood in Kiev.
Apparently there is a history of digging around Sopron. Looking in this "construction site", we could see layers of old stonework, maybe going back to Roman times? The other digging we learned about was at the mining museum.
Finding anything? A nice example of Socialist Realism, a style we developed a taste for in Kiev. This is a map of the hundreds of underground mines in the area. Mining started in the Roman times but has ended in the mid-90's.
Even the mining displays were old, with many of the small models over 100-years old.
Our other tour was this art museum, small, nice setting, but as quiet as the rest of Sunday Sopron. This horse and non-functional cart dominated the gallery courtyard.  
Our final discovery in Sopron was the local wine. We managed to get rid of the last of our Forints on two or three boxes of the local specialty.   And then it was down the road, across a couple borders to our next stop, Passau, Germany. But that's another story.


Take care and, if you are in the neighborhood, do visit Sopron, especially the mining museum!


John and Marianne


Websites for Sopron:

-- Tourist Information: http://www.sopron.hu

-- Culture Information: http://www.prokultura.hu

-- Wine Information: http://www.soproniborvidek.hu

-- Hotel: http://www.wollner.hu

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