Fields of Sunflowers
Trip Start Jun 23, 2010
25Trip End Aug 07, 2010
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First stop was beautiful old abbey Pannonalma established in the 996's. The oldest Benedictine monestary in Hungary. The abbey has had a turbulent history with the Turks taking over the abbey in 1590 and occupying it until the mid-1600. It was badly damaged and needed restorations. Then in the 1780's the Hapsberg King abolished the monestery and the monks had to leave. In the 1800's it was re-established as an educational institute. Then during communism, it was taken by the state. The land and buidlings were returned to the monestary who now have a boys boarding school there.
What is a trip through Europe without seeing a palace? About an hour or so from the Abbey on the way to Sopron stoopped as Esterhazy Palance
Getting to the site of Pan-European picnic as an adventure in inself. The road to this site was blocked, so the bus driver decided to go off road to get to this spot on the Austria-Hungary border. Entered a dirt track with wheat stocks up to the windows. Bumped down this dirt road until the bus could go no further and we got out and walked. After walking through part of the forest and down more dirt roads, decided this wasn't getting us to the monument. Went back on the bus and back to the blocked road. The driver took down the caution tape and we headed down the road. The problem was the road had just been patched with concrete. To say the least, we left our imprint on Hungary. We did finally arrive at the spot.
The Pan-European Picnic is a little studied event that was a border opening a few months prior to the end of the Berlin Wall. This event in August led to the escape of thousands of East Germans into Austria (and eventually they went to West Germany). During this time the barbed wire and mine-filled section of the Iron Curtain was demolished.
Before finally reaching Sopron and the hotel, had the best mushroom soup ever. After a 13 hour day, treally glad to get to the hotel.