Yesterday, St. Valentine’s Day, was a beautiful day, full of hearts. And then came Sunday.
Sunday the 15th was a brilliant say so I decided to go back to Devin and take anther look at the castle. It was a beautiful four kilometre walk along the shore of the Morava river. Unfortunately the castle is under restoration and work has been stopped due to lack of funds but the outside and grounds were most impressive, both the medieval castle
but also some Roman foundations from the 4th and 5th Century AD. Devin is at the confluence of the Danube and the Morava and the castle overlooks the meeting of these waterways.
On one side is Slovakia and on the other Austria and the latter represented freedom from the oppression of communism. There is a monument commemorating the loss of 400 courages lives; the lives of people who were trying to get to the other side, to freedom. No doubt they believed in dreams and the right to happiness. As I walked along the cliff, looking down at the water and then across at the other side it all looked the same and yet … to many Slovaks the two sides were a world apart; geographically so little distance but politically, economically and socially incomparable.
On Monday I headed east to meet up with John Taylor, who is now living in Lučenec but he wanted me to get off in Zvolen. I remembered Zvolen from my trips to Levoča, when I worked in Budapest. The drive to Lučenec, a town very close to the Hungarian border, brought back many memories. Lučenec, once a very prosperous town with a significant Jewish population as evidenced by this crumbling but, nevertheless, majestic synagogue.
The building numbers among just four synagogues built by Hungarian architect Lipot Baumhorn (1860-1932), whose other structures grace Amsterdam, Brussels and Tel Aviv.
The town of Lučenec was a delight; full of many surprises which included a gift shop, THEN and NOW, run by two very amenable Dutch gentlemen.
Then it was across the border to Salgotarján, Hungary, courtesy of John Taylor. A bus ride to Budapest was immediately followed by a train ride to Békéscsaba. Then I took a two and one half hour bus ride to Pitvaros and was now at my destination in Hungary!