A few weeks ago, I did something I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to do – fly to Europe, and visit Hungary, the birthplace of my grandparents. My daughter and I spent two weeks in Budapest, with a day trip to Vienna, Austria and another day trip to Bratislava, Slovakia thrown in for good measure.
If you ever get a chance to visit another country, especially another continent, I highly recommend it. The experience was amazing. I loved hearing the Hungarian language again. My grandmother and mother spoke it, but the only times I would hear a lot of it would be at Christmas when we visited my grandmother’s church and ate dinner at the church hall. I also kicked myself for never learning more than a couple of words like kicsit (little), lánya (girl), and köszönöm (thank you).
Coming from the United States, a young country by European standards, I marveled at the centuries old churches, medieval castles and even Roman ruins! I also learned much about Hungary’s dark history. The country was on the losing side of two world wars, and was controlled by the Soviet Union after World War II until 1991.
One of the sites we visited in Budapest was the House of Terror Museum. The building in which the museum resides was used both by the Nazi Party and after the war, by the Communists. The museum details how both the Nazis and the Communist Party interrogated, tortured and killed thousands of Hungarians in the basement of the building. This video gives a good overview of the museum: