Wednesday, September 20, 2006

four-hundred thirteen

Four-hundred thirteen…that’s the number of steps I climbed today.  I also walked down all of them.  With these people: 
  left to right: Cory, Kyla, Christina, Ryan, and me
Why, you may ask?  Well, let me get to that.

This morning, those of us who are taking Italian Renaissance Art got up around 5:00 so that we could take the 7:00 bus to a town called Esztergom, which is about an hour and a half north of Budapest.  In Esztergom is the Christian Museum, which is the best collection of 14th century art in Central Europe.  Our Art professor is the curator at this museum, so she was giving us a guided tour as one of our classes.  So we spent three hours looking at paintings and learning fascinating histories about them.  There is so much more than meets the eye.  Many of the paintings are only pieces of what were once larger paintings that were broken up and sold when churches closed.  Therefore, the story behind many paintings is no longer complete.  It was such an incredible experience to go through the museum with a woman who knows so much about its contents.
After the museum, those of us who didn’t have another class today went out for lunch and then did some sightseeing in Esztergom, since we were there anyway.  The town is small, so the only things we saw were the castle ruins and cathedral, which every town in Hungary has. 
  disregard Cory and Nate goofing off, behind them are the Cathedral on the right and the castle ruins on the left
The castle used to house the King of Hungary, and the town of Esztergom was the seat of the Archbishop in Hungary for many centuries, too.  Unfortunately, the original cathedral was ruined when the Turks invaded in the 12th century, so the cathedral we saw was built in the 18th century.  It was still gorgeous, and it houses the skull of Saint Istvan, who was the first king of Hungary.  Very nice. 
  Saint Istvan - he’s seen better days
My day was basically complete after having seen the skull, but we decided to climb up to the cupola to see the city anyway.  That is where the 413 stairs come in - there were that many steps going up to the top.  And just as many coming back down.  The view was beautiful, though, and we even saw a rainbow while up there. 
  If you look really closely at the middle of the picture, you can see the rainbow
We spent a bit of time just looking at the area from the different sides of the cupola before coming down and getting on the bus to come back to Budapest to pack for our four-day excursion to Transylvania planned for this weekend.  By weekend I mean Thursday through Sunday, and we’re taking advantage of the whole weekend.  We leave tomorrow (Thursday) morning at 6:30, and we will return at midnight on Sunday.  More on that story later.  Probably after it happens.

Posted by Emily MacLeod on 09/20 at 03:40 PM
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