On The Way

The last morning our excursion led us to Szentendre (Saint Andrew), a picturesque artist’s village in the Danube bend. Our guide was a young man who happily told us about the historical buildings and sites as we traveled out of the city of Budapest.  We crossed over the Chain Bridge and headed north past diverse residential areas of Budapest – from elegant, historic uptown Budapest to Soviet style housing blocks. Further out into the country we passed Roman ruins.  I was lucky to get a few shots of them from the bus window.

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Apartment buildings in the city.
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Elegant buildings uptown.
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Apartment blocks from the Communist days.
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More graffiti seen on the road to Szentendre
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Colorful apartment blocks on the edge of the city.
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Roman Ruins along the road to Szentendre
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Roman Ruins.

Our ride took about 40 minutes.  The bus pulled up into the parking lot and we all clambered out. There was a huge sign and a map of the village and a funny little car with advertising. We walked in a group down the path.  We made one stop for the guide to explain how to get back to the bus and what time we needed to be there.

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We ambled through the charming cobblestone streets – trying to listen to the guide and take photos at the same time.  As usual, we were straggling at the end of the line.  As we all came to the center of the village,  the guide stopped to talked to us about the museum we were about to enter.  It was called the Margit Kovacs Ceramic Museum and housed the collection of the artist and her husband. The museum commemorated Amos Ire, her husband, who disappeared during the Second World War. The museum itself is located in a two-story middle-class dwelling. The body of Anna Margit lies buried in the courtyard.

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Margit Kovacs was a Hungarian ceramist and sculptor. Her main themes were country folk, family life, and bible stories. Her work is varied but many of her pieces evoke human sentimentality. She won international awards all over Europe and was very popular in Hungary. The Communist regime awarded her the Distinguished Artist Award in 1959.

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Relief sculpture at the entrance to the museum.

We entered the museum and the Margit Kovac’s art work was very interesting, but sadly we were not allowed to take photos.  Our time was limited, consequently, Shawn and I both agreed that we would rather meander along the narrow cobblestone streets and see the galleries,  shops and discover the local artists on our own.  More than an hour was to be spent at the museum, not giving us much time to explore the main street.  We discovered a door leading out to the side street, so we made a hasty exit. I am glad we did, as it was our only opportunity to shop.  We had traveled early in the morning so the streets were relatively empty. Here are some of the sights we saw along the main street.

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Well-preserved colorful houses built in the Balkan style as the area was originally settled by Serb refugees.
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We saw this sculpture near the Margit Museum.
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Annunciation Church – Serbian Orthodox church in the town square.
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Buildings and memorial cross in the main square.
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Looking down the main street.
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Cute kitty having a sit-down.

Szentendre ‘s creative energy extends to true handmade crafts. Blue-dying is a centuries- old tradition in Hungary. Unfortunately, there are only six blue-dying workshops still operating in the country. This charming shop, owned by the Kovacs family, sells beautiful blue textiles that are created with a resist-dyeing method where the white fabric is first printed with a resist paste, using wooden motif blocks. The fabric is then immersed in a special solution that works much faster than the original indigo blue dye.  The printed areas resist the dye and come out white, resulting in a delicately patterned blue fabric.

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A variety of blue-dyed clothes, bags, and aprons are featured in this charming shop.
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Motif blocks used in the dyeing process.
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Close-up view of the lovely blue-dyed clothes.
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Side street down to the Danube.

We had a great time wandering in and out of the little shops and up and down the narrow cobbled streets. We were happy for the opportunity to take photos of this delightful community of artists.  We were also excited to do some shopping and buy a few Hungarian gifts and treasures.

 

 

 

 

 

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