Transportation in Hungary

This post is in response to something Connor showed me on his iPhone…. the six ways to get around in Hungary.  He was chiding us for not being hip to the public transportation here (at that time).  But in my quest to make this posting, I discovered a few more than six ways to get around Budapest!

IMG_0889In certain areas of the city there are the “electric buses” – not sure what else to call them.. We never traveled on one of these..

IMG_0880This is what I call the “fancy villamos” – surface train.  These newest models are where the tourist go and I assume the are the latest models.  Others are older.

IMG_0882Of course, everywhere has normal buses.  This is one of the newer ones and there are others that are double long with a accordion middle section that hooks the two parts together.  We took one of these regular buses a few times – to the Buda Castle area with the senior missionaries on a little trip and up to Buda Hills with the YSA.

IMG_0932These little trains are called Gyermekvasút or the Children’s Railway.  This is a delightful small gauge train that caters to children.  There were many grandparents and grandchildren or parents and children on this ride through the Buda Hills, including Janos Hegy or Janos Mountain.  The cost is not covered in the regular public transportation fees.  The cost was 700 forinths each (about $3.50) for our trip from one end to the other end.  Children sold us the tickets and were the ticket checkers in our trip. Here is the boy that was checking our tickets on our trip.

IMG_0915They also stood saluting when we passed through the various stops. Here are two that we saw along the way.  I am not sure if they get paid to do all these jobs – or they are in training – or what!  But they are very serious about their positions as train workers!  We later learned that children applied to learn how to do these jobs – and were excused from school a few times a year to do their duties.

IMG_0940Here is an usual “cogwheel” train.  In the middle of the track, there is a flat gear like strip that helps move the train on its journey.  The train is very wide and some of the trains have rooms to carry strollers and/or bicycles up and down the mountain.  We passed some trains coming up full of youth with their sport bikes.  This train goes from one area of Buda up Buda Hill – it is a steep grade up the hill.

IMG_0954Here is the inside large rooms.  This train was quite a bit wider than the children’s train.


Bicycles are used very extensively as a method of transportation in Hungary.


Here is a unique way to carry your stuff with a bike-cart.

Budapest - bike and cart

We saw this bike-car in one of the main squares in Pest.  When I asked if it was okay to take a picture, he said for a cost.  So I gave him some forints and he allowed a picture.  Pretty creative way to recycle a car!


There are several underground train lines from Budapest to the various outlying areas.  They are called The Metro.  Here is the newest version of one of the trains.

Metro Train Modern

This modern train goes on the line that is most used by tourists – therefore new and shiny! Here is a look inside.

Metro Modern 2

Here is a much older train that goes into District 8, a much poorer section of town.  I went there occasionally to do some visiting teaching with Adri to Garbrielle.  Gabrielle served her mission in America and liked to keep up her English.  Walking a mile after getting off the train through this area to get to Gabrielle’s apartment was scary to me!  The train rattled, too!  Maybe from the 1940s?

Budapest Old Metro Train

The major way that most Hungarians would get to another town would be by above ground train.  Some also used these trains to commute to their homes out in the suburbs.  We used them to go on a couple of service project to outlying areas.  There are at least 3 major train stations in Budapest.  You would pick the station depending on where you wanted to go.


And we cannot forget that Budapest is divided into two by a major river, the Danube – or as locals call it, the Duna.  And boats are used to transport people to various towns north and south of Budapest, like Szentendre.  There is also quite a commercial tourist industry of Danube River Tours up and down the river.


And there is always WALKING – which we did plenty of while we were there…  It was all fun and we learned to use public transportation a bit!


Flushing in Hungary

IMG_2398I know this is a weird posting; but since I first arrived in Hungary I have noticed some unique flushing mechanisms. One of our senior missionary friends had some reservations about the cute children pictures at the beginning and end of the post, so I delayed posting it until we were home.

Right before we left our home, the flushing mechanism of the toilet off our kitchen failed!  This happens to be a “Gucci” toilet (came with the house) and the ordinary Lowe’s or Home Depot equipment would not fix it.  A local plumber recommended just replacing the whole toilet, which seemed ridiculous to us; so we eventually found someone in Florida (thanks to the Internet) who might have the part!  Of course, we had to take pictures of the insides of the toilet tank – several times, email them to him, also pictures of the toilet tank lid, which had the toilet model number …. You get the picture.  Eventually, and for a price, we got the parts and replaced the parts.  (It would have been cheaper to just replace the toilet!!!)  Our toilets have a push mechanism but it is on the side where American toilets usually have a handle.  Sort of ackward to use!  So maybe this is why I am fascinated with the new-to-us mechanisms here.  I like them better than what we have back home!

IMG_2335So this is the kind that we had at the hotel we stayed at when we first arrived.  It is built into the wall, so I am assuming there is a tank behind the wall?  You could push either the little circle or the bigger circle… there are many variations on this theme.

IMG_2516Another style of in the wall flushing mechanism….

IMG_0229My sister in California says she has a button type flush.

IMG_0414So where is the tank on this one???

IMG_2543Another push mechanism – this is in our apartment.  Notice how thin the tank is, too!

IMG_2540This old fashioned tank was VERY high up on the wall behind the toilet and I could not find it at first. Who, in this age, would think to look up 6 feet to find a tank that high?  In this bathroom, the tub, the toilet, the bidet and the tank were all this wonderful turquoise color – height of style in the 70s??

Here is another one high up on the wall.  This one was in a restaurant.  You can tell how far up it is – I am 5’4″ and I had to really look up to get this picture!


Here is a unique style… you turn the knob/dial/faucett until the water flushes things away and then you have to turn it off?!  Prefer the push buttons..


IMG_0416I know this is not a flushing mechanism but look at this “shelf” toilet.  The hole is in the front – and there is a ledge where material is deposited… Now really, what a totally unique? design!

And the other thing that I loved was the teeny tiny sinks in many of these small bathrooms.  Here is one – at a ward building.  I put my phone on it to show the size.


A smaller than this sink was put into a shower room that was added to our apartment while we were there.  If I can find my picture, I will add it later!

And that is the end of my posting…  the little kids were on bathroom doors at a restaurant.


1956 Hungarian Revolution

1450342_189489767909825_648408635_nWe were in our early teens when this event happened.  We remember discussing it with our parents and seeing articles about it in the newspapers.  When my husband was in graduate school at University of California at Davis, he had a friend who had participated in this event and escaped Hungary.  He eventually made it to America and received his PhD at the same time as my husband.  Both our families ended up in the Washington, DC area with government jobs.  At first we tried to keep in contact, but with family pressures, church pressures, commuting pressures, we eventually lost contact with our Hungarian friend and his family.

About 6 months before our mission call, when we were still filling out Church forms, I had the distinct impression that I needed to see if we could reestablish contact with our friends.  Through Facebook, they were found.

A few months later, when we told them about our mission call, the husband said, Why on earth would your Church send you to Hungary? He felt they had rejected Democracy for Socialism, rejected God, rejected marriage, rejected having children, etc.  You can tell he was upset with his country of birth.   I replied, There are good people everywhere and we are to help them find the Lord!  Over the past two years, I have seen his interest return to his native county.  For instance, he has been studying and sharing with me that scholars have been using the original Hungarian script, called runes, to help decipher the ancient language, Sumerian. Magyar is obviously a very ancient language. There are many brilliant Hungarians (Rubik’s Cube) – too many to mention.  In fact, they have developed a system of teaching music to children that was used by the Children’s Choir of Maryland and also BYU has music professors coming over to learn this system.

If you do not know much about this “Revolution” I would suggest that you read a little book by James Mitchner, called The Bridge at Andau.

booksAs the used High School edition that we bought states, “The heroic story of the revolt by the Hungarian people that made crystal clear to the world the true face of communism.” More than 20,000 people crossed that bridge during a few weeks in 1956.   Michener happened to be in Austria at the time of this revolution.  He made his way to the border and started interviewing Hungarians.  He could not believe what they were telling him, so he kept interviewing more and more people.  Finally he realized that all the stories were the same, therefore, it must be the truth.  Note:  Parts of the book are a hard read!

1956_hungarian_revolution_tank_russiansgohomeAs in the case of many “uprisings” the youth of Hungary were very much involved!

In Budapest there is a museum dedicated to telling the true story of what happened during the communist and Nazi rule of Hungary.  It is called the Terror Haza – House of Terror.  Wikipedia:  “It contains exhibits related to the fascist and communist dictatorial regimes in 20th-century Hungary and is also a memorial to the victims of these regimes, including those detained, interrogated, tortured or killed in the building.  With regard to communism and fascism, the exhibition contains material on the nation’s relationships to Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. It also contains exhibits related to Hungarian organizations such as the fascist Arrow Cross Party and the communist ÁVH (which was similar to the Soviet Union KGB secret police). Part of the exhibition takes visitors to the basement, where they can see examples of the cells that the ÁVH used to break the will of their prisoners.”  (Picture below from Wikipedia)

House_of_Terror_in_BudapestOn Oct 23, 2013 we went downtown to the Terror Haz and this display was outside.  The panels told the stories of many of the victims of those days.  The bronze footprints on the sidewalk were also another way they remembered victims.

IMG_2432When the Nazi’s came to Hungary, it is unfortunate that a group of Hungarians were very anti-Jewish and they saw their opportunity to have power.  The Nazi’s did not have to have many of their troops in the country because those Hungarians did their bidding so easily.

Shoes_Danube_Promenade_IMGP1297The Shoes on the Danube (Wikipedia) – A memorial “to honor the Jews who were killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen in Budapest during World War II.”  Jews were forced to remove their valuable shoes and then were taken to a low bridge that crossed the Danube about here, chained to each other.  Then the first one was shot, dragging the rest into the Danube to be drowned.  The shoes here are bronzed.  The low bridge was destroyed during WWII and not replaced.

When the Russians came to Hungary, the Hungarians at first thought they would be their saviors.  They quickly learned that one evil system of government was replaced with another.  The Communists ruled 40 years in Hungary.

2The Communist had a logo which they inserted into the middle of the Hungarian flag.  After becoming free from Soviet domination in1989, Hungarians celebrate October 23 annually and many fly the Hungarian flag with the hole in the middle, to symbolize the removal of the Soviet logo.  It is a very big holiday and there are no shops open on that day!  It is also a day where if the citizens are angry about anything, they have street meetings and demonstrations.  Missionaries are to be no where near any mass meetings and demonstrations.

It was interesting as we traveled to many places around Budapest and would see what were obvious bullet holes in the facades of buildings.  One was in a building across the street from Mamut Mall.  I am sorry that I did not take pictures, as the building facade was completely refinished just before we left.

IMG_3611(Picture taken from a blog, The Odyssey: Budapest)  This building in the Buda Castle District has been renovated since this picture – but they left the bullet holes!)

Hungary is not the only country to have had similar events occur during their Nazi and communist rule, but it was the country that we were in.  Adri, our YSA President, had great grandparents who were executed during the communist rule.  The great grandparents lived in the countryside and were told they could not use their animals for food.  When they were starving, they disobeyed and killed a pig to eat.  When the authorities found out about it, they took both parents outside and shot them.

When we visited Kiev, we toured a museum there that told the same story.  Also we heard and read about the Halodomor.  Wikipedia:  “The Holodomor (Ukrainian: Голодомор, “Extermination by hunger” or “Hunger-extermination”;[2] derived from ‘морити голодом’, “to kill by starvation” [3][4][5]) was a famine in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1932 and 1933 that killed estimated 2.5-7.5 million Ukrainians. During the famine, which is also known as the “Terror-Famine in Ukraine” and “Famine-Genocide in Ukraine”,[6][7][8] millions of citizens of the Ukrainian SSR, the majority of whom were Ukrainians, died of starvation in a peacetime catastrophe unprecedented in the history of Ukraine.[9] Since 2006, the Holodomor has been recognized by the independent Ukraine and many other countries as a genocide of the Ukrainian people by Soviet Union ruled by Stalin.

Newspaper in 1956….  They were expecting Americans and other countries to help them; but we did not…

nyh-11051956“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

George Santayana

Hungarian National Museum

I felt the need to go to this museum and see the history and artifacts of Hungary before we left Budapest.  There are many museums in Hungary and we had only seen a few.

Hungarian National Museum

Hungarian National Museum

Wikipedia:  “The Hungarian National Museum (Hungarian: Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum) was founded in 1802 and is the national museum for the history, art and archaeology of Hungary, including areas not within Hungary’s modern borders such as Transylvania. The museum is in Budapest VIII in a purpose-built Neoclassical building from 1837-47 by the architect Mihály Pollack.”

“The Hungarian National Museum has seven permanent displays. The general history of Hungary is covered in two sections: the archaeology from prehistory to the Avar period ending in 804 AD on the first (ground) floor (“On the East-West frontier”), and the history from 804 to modern times on the first floor. This display covers topics such as the age of the Arpads, the long Turkish occupation, Transylvania and royal Hungary. More modern and Contemporary history covered begins with the Rákóczi War of Independence, showing different sections of his military attire and various coins. The history section then ends with the rise and fall of the communist system in Hungary. In another hall on the second floor one can find out about the Scholar Hungarians who made the twentieth century. A room on the first floor displays the medieval Hungarian Coronation Mantle.”

The building and everything inside is beautiful!  Therefore, this posting will be mostly pictures.

Stairs leading to the exhibits

Stairs leading to the exhibits – note the ceilings!

Beautiful ceiling artwork

Beautiful ceiling artwork

At the top of the stairs and at the entrance to one of the display halls

At the top of the stairs and at the entrance to one of the display halls

Early Hungarian history includes Roman occupation.

Early Hungarian history includes Roman occupation.

Crown - see below for explanation

Crown – see below for explanation

I used Wikipedia’s picture of the crown – better than mine through glass.  “The Byzantine enamel plaques of the 11th century crown showing Constantine IX Monomachus and Empress Zoe; one of the internationally famous objects in the collection.”


Look at that long chest or trunk!

Lots of fighting equipment

Lots of fighting equipment

Lots of gold and brass

Lots of gold and brass

Ornate religious artifacts

Ornate religious artifacts

Massive Cabinets

Massive cabinets

Period clothing

Period clothing



Special seating for dignitaries?

Special seating for dignitaries?

Small men wore these armor - about 5'6"

Small men wore these armor – about 5’6″

How many hours did it take to make these beautiful carved pews?

How many hours did it take to make these beautiful carved pews?

Typical colors still seen in Hungarian pottery today

Typical colors still seen in Hungarian pottery today

Lots of blues in their pottery…

These shoes are not too different from the slides I wear today.

These shoes are not too different from the slides I wear today.

I believe these are decorative buttons.

I believe these are decorative buttons.

Belts, buckles, rings.  Just as vain then as we are today.

Belts, buckles, rings. Just as vain then as we are today.

As the ages progressed, items became more and more ornate.

As the ages progressed, items became more and more ornate.

Maps every so often noted the size of the Hungarian Empire for different time periods.

Maps every so often noted the size of the Hungarian Empire for different time periods.

Display of all the items made at the factory in the center.

Display of all the items made at the factory in the center.

Hungarian's favorite , Franz Liszt

Hungarian’s favorite , Franz Liszt

I think this was the perfect museum for us to conclude our two year mission in Hungary!

Rici and Heni’s Wedding

May 17, 2014 was Rici and Heni’s wedding.  Rici was baptized in 2012 – before we came on our mission.  His parents embraced the Gospel before he did and they are leaders in the Buda Ward.  He was not too active in our YSA until 2013, when he became extremely active and involved about the time when Levente returned from his mission. They became good friends.  He thought about going on a mission, but he had to turn in his papers before he turned 25.  About that same time he met Henrietta, a beautiful girl from Miscolc.  That was the end of the mission plans!  He was also called to be the Mission Leader in the Buda Ward, quite a demanding calling for someone so young in the Gospel.

After Panni’s baptism, Viki, Lavi, Adri, Andras and Evalin, who came up from Szeged for the wedding, and the Felsteds traveled by the metro to Pest Ward to help decorate.  Heni and Rici wanted the same colors and decorations as Livi and Zoli’s wedding, so they were recycled – in a slightly different form!  So resourceful!

The Hivatal in Budaörs is very new.

The Hivatal in Budaörs is very new and modern.  (Sister Bagozzi up front)

Some of the YSA - a large portion from Miscolc.

Some of the YSA who attended – a large portion from Miscolc.

The wedding couple arrive at the Hivatal.

The wedding couple arrive at the Hivatal.

Rici is waiting for his bride to enter the room.

Rici is waiting for his bride to enter the room.

Our side was waiting, too.

Our side was waiting, too.

Heni, brought in by her father with Rici's little sister, the flower girl.

Heni, brought in by her father with Rici’s little sister, the flower girl.

Lighting the family candle.

Lighting the family candle after being pronounced man and wife.

After wedding picture found on Heni's FB page.

After wedding picture found on Heni’s FB page.  The Miscolc YSA are extremely close.

Then we drove over to the Pest Ward Building (also known as the International Ward and also the Stake Building) for the after wedding festivities…

Beautiful couple.

Beautiful couple.

Heni found her dress at a rental shop.  It was for sale for less than to rent.  That was a wonderful blessing!!!  She had Sister Hauck add the straps to the dress – and it turned out so beautiful!

I never did find out the significance of this wedding cake...

I never did find out the significance of this wedding cake…

Rici's father talking to Heni's parents.

Rici’s father talking to Heni’s parents.

Both set of parents are members of the Church.  So Rici and Heni will be a second generation family.  Super, since the Church is only 20 years old in Hungary!

We danced a bit...

We danced a bit…

At one point they had couples come up to dance and then asked everyone married less than 1 year sit down.  Then 5 years, then 10 years… Of course, we were left at the end – having been married nearly 52 years.  Then they asked for advice!  We were put on the spot!  Elder Felsted deferred to me and I said “Stay close to Heavenly Father and your marriage will thrive!”  I think they were hoping for more but Elder Felsted did not add anything else, so that is all they got!

This was Heni’s cute going away dress…

Heni and Rici and friend.

Heni and Rici and friend.

I went to both their FB pages to get some of these pictures….

10336655_318765374946745_1631117325167204653_nAnd found this picture…


Wonderful news!!!  Another beautiful new family in Hungary.

How blessed we are to have  associated with these choice spirits of our loving Heavenly Father.

BYU Chamber Orchestra

IMG_7010The BYU Chamber Orchestra came to Hungary in May.  This is advertising flyer for the May 15th performance.  They also performed at the Gyor Ward Meeting House the following night and did a fireside performance in the Pest Stake Building on Sunday, May 18.

The Liszt Grand Hall

The Liszt Academy

The concert was a fund-raiser for several hospitals in Budapest.  Some machines were donated by a local company and the concert fees paid for these machines.  One of our local LDS men works for this company.  Also Nu-Skin of Hungary paid for the pre-concert event.  Several LDS people here in Hungary work for that company.

The Smiths, the Bagozzis and the Baughmans

The Smiths, the Bagozzis and the Baughmans

The Baughmans, the previous Mission President and his wife, were in Europe on other matters and came for this event.  The Office Couple, the Bagozzis,  worked for both Mission Presidents.  Sister Ann Madsen, was also present, having come with one of her grand-daughters.  It was a pleasure to meet her.

Kory Katseanes, Orchestra Director making some remarks

Kory Katseanes, Orchestra Director, making some remarks

Senior Missionaries in Budapest were invited to the pre-concert event, complete with dignitaries! Zoli translated and he is also employed by the medical company and was involved in the negotiations for the machines.

Of course, the building was beautiful!

In the main foyer

In the main foyer

IMG_6973IMG_6976The Liszt Academy was restored in 1990 with EU funds.

The orchestra is ready

The orchestra is ready

Right side balcony

Right side balcony

The music was beautiful and it was a very nice evening.  We were glad for this opportunity to see this wonderful BYU orchestra. One of their songs also featured a local famous Hungarian pianist and Liszt Academy professor, Kemenes András.

Timi came with her mother and grandmother.  I think they bought the very first tickets!  She had a blast hanging out with the orchestra members Saturday and Sunday and visiting Budapest sights with them.

IMG_5093Hungarians like their musicians – here is a statue of Liszt.  (The base seriously needs some repair)  Here is a close up I found online.



Marianna, 1961-2014

Marianna who lived in Buda Ward, was the housekeeper for the Mission Home and was the mother of two of our YSA women.  She had battled cancer three times in her brief life.  This last time, she waited for several months before they got around to seeing her and diagnosing her.  Since, I suppose this is a political issue, I will say no more…

Church? or Chapel? at entrance to the cemetery

Church? or Chapel? at entrance to the cemetery

We attended her funeral which, we assume, was a typical Hungarian funeral, on Wednesday, April 30, 2014.  Once a person dies, the cemetery takes the body.  There is no funeral homes, like we have in America.  Also in our religion, the family or the Relief Society President (woman) or the High Priest Group Leader (man) are accustomed to dressing the body or a family member can do this also.  In Hungary, the Relief Society President had to direct this dressing through a small window from another room.  If the body had to be moved in anyway, the window would be closed until the body was moved.

We, the Smiths, and the Bagozzis drove to the cemetery in Old Buda.  Across from the cemetery was a flower store.   Every cemetery that we have seen have many flower stores all around the cemetery. This one was no different. We each bought a single flower for her.

IMG_6564At the cemetery, there is at least one building dedicated to the “funeral.”

IMG_6562The entrance was under the green awning at the far right.  The family and some friends sat in a little room with the casket – the rest of us were standing in the foyer or entry way.  The casket was at the far end of the room. People brought in flowers – single and/or arrangements – and laid them in the center of the room in front of the casket. Some had a single flower that they kept in their hands.  At the junction of the room and the entry there was a microphone.  At the appropriate time, the Bishop conducted the meeting from the microphone.  Someone had previously passed out copies of the songbook pages. The non-LDS people really did not know to take them.  We sang an opening LDS song in Magyar. Someone said the opening prayer.  The Bishop called on a person, we assumed was a friend or relative, to speak.  Another song.  Then he spoke. Then closing song and prayer.  For us, a typical Mormon funeral.

IMG_6561Then everyone filed out and watched the attendants put the flowers all over this little hearse-like electric car.  When that was done, they put the casket into the hearse and it drove slowly to the plot where Marianna was to be buried.  We all walked down the path behind the hearse.  Here is the hearse covered with some of the flowers… and the cemetery attendants in their gray-green uniforms.

Marianne's funeralPrevious to the funeral, the plot had been prepared by digging a hole and placing the dirt all around the hole onto plastic.  There was a platform that held the casket until the grave side ceremonies were completed.  Someone was called on to bless the grave site.  Then the attendants removed the platform and lowered the casket into the ground.  At this point, many people tossed their single flowers onto the casket.  Then we all stood around and watched the attendants fill in the hole until all the dirt was used up and the plastic removed.  There was a big mound of dirt at the grave.  The the attendants placed the flowers all over and around the grave site.

Marianne's funeral 6The casket is on the platform and we had to get through the tall grass to get close.

Marianne from Smith

The marker was a simple wooden post with a name on top.  I think that the family can not afford a stone and elaborate grave, as some others have in this cemetery.  Or maybe a top of concrete will be put on later?

Another view of her grave with marker

Another view of her grave with marker

Some of the other grave sites at this cemetery.

Some of the other grave sites at this cemetery.

We have visited a few other cemeteries and most have these enclosed grave sites.

We have visited a few other cemeteries and most have these enclosed grave sites.

Marianne's Funeral 4Close up view of one of the graves showing several generations of family members buried there.

A memorial water feature in the cemetery.

A memorial water feature in the cemetery.  (The water was not on at this time.)

The cemetery was on a corner.  There were two other flower shops across the other street and probably more at other entrances.


Elder Felsted and I liked that everything was done at the cemetery.  There was no long procession of cars that drove all the way to the cemetery from Church or from the funeral home.  We liked that we actually saw the complete burial.  Different but nice tradition.

Marianna was a very sweet woman.  She had attended the temple in 2013 and received her endowments.  She took her daughter Anna, who was able to do baptisms for their dead ancestors. Anna has a form of Williams Syndrome and is not able to take care of herself.  The other daughter, Eszter, is an elementary school teacher.  Her son is a cook and she was very proud of him, too.  Her family and her church family will miss her very much.