Our day began bright and early, meeting up downstairs at 7:40 to journey over to a town north of Budapest called Szentendre. With a rush of excitement, we were greeted with a "Sorry if I'm walking to fast, but please catch up" by our Program Director and menu translator. I swear...every 3 steps I take is equivalent to her one step.
We made a series of connections from the 61 BKV to the beginning of the Red Metro line on the Buda side of town, until the 2nd stop at Batthyány tér, where we took the Helyiérdekű Vasút (HÉV) trains to Szentendre.
We arrived at a quaint and quiet train station with a few people meandering around. Our next connection was on a van taxi to Skanzen Múzeum, which is an open-air Museum which hosts the setting of a bygone era of Hungarian village life in different regions of the country. Our taxi there was quite adventuresome with our lovely driver running two red lights.
When we got off the taxi with approximately 15 minutes to spare, we were met with a large group of many old women and men who were awaiting their own 9:30 time slot for their own tour into the Museum. We met with our tour guide here and he led us into the Museum. There was even an xbox game set up where you could move around a 3D model of the area. All the descriptions were in Magyarul, however.
All the buildings and structures were either transported over from the specific region of Hungary, or they were rebuilt as replicas, with either genuine or replicated parts/furniture included inside. It was interesting to understand how people lived in a much simpler time period and the materials they used and with such efficiency they used them with. Many of the stories which our tour guide relayed to us were also quite interesting, such as the one about how children needed to run their feet under a cow's urine in order to keep warm during the biting cold winters. It truly put things into perspective, especially for those of us who have grown up as city dwellers in a very much accommodating society.
This particular image to the left is of a windmill, which had a rotating top and two entrances on either side of the base building, compensating for the prevention of death by windmill blade should it have been rotated to swoop over one of the entrances. The technology of that time is quite remarkable and very impressive.
Further touring brought us to a bygone farm, with the famous Mangalica pigs that I had never seen before. Curly haired pigs...they are like the Bichon Frisé of pigs. Their description labeled them as "lard pigs", having much more fat than the normal babe we see in America, and as such more...tasty? Hairy Bacon anyone...???
Here are some very happy people on the taxi.
We took the bus from Szentendre to Pilisszentlászló, a small village and our Social Enterprise destination north east of Szentendre. When we arrived, we were greeted by Andras Lang who spoke with us about the Waldorf school there. A lively character with a lot to say, he showed us around in the school and introduced us to how the Waldorf School system works.
The inspiring Waldorf schools were started in Germany and uses an artistic method approach to teach children important life skills emphasizing imagination in children. They learn interesting and fundamental life skills through the implementation of "creating their own books" through drawing and other forms. As such, they don't have textbooks from greedy textbook makers that make you pay hundreds of dollars for books that come out with new editions each year with minimal updates; and instead, they make their own. They learn to build houses and grow vegetables, rather than learning mathematics and literature.
This particular Waldorf school started out with only 8 children and now, have grown to almost 200, with over 140 involved families. Because of the success and incredible growth of the school, they have been forced to expand and have begun building a new school in order to accommodate all the children. Another result has been the influx of hundreds of families into the village, which have as well had other results of increased village prices in common commodities.
Our day included some heavy duty fence building for their school and Andras stuffed us into his van and drove us to their building site. We were greeted first with a hearty lunch which started out as potatos/meat stew and nice toasty bread, but then they brought foccacia bread biscuits which were so crunchy on the outside and warm and fluffy on the side. Then from their amazing last century stone oven, they popped out amazing homemade pizza that was too hard to resist and pretty much made us all gain about 10 kilos in only one sitting. I'm still trying to work it off :p
The beautiful view with someone deliberately trying to block it :(
Amazing Stone Oven-fresh Pizza
After we loosened up our belts to make way for our newly increased belly sizes, we strolled up the hill, avoiding trees being dragged down the hill, for our very important task of compacting dirt around fence posts. It was very tough.
Afterwards, Andras stuffed our fatter bodies into his van again and took us to meet with Anna. She is a supporter of the Waldorf school and had started her own social entrepreneurial ventures with an Art Therapy center, catered towards helping disadvantaged children. We first note the magnificent view atop the hill and looking down at the village, and then we see a few children, finished with their therapy sessions and about to go home. She tells us about her history and realizations with her own child and her passionate speech shows us her dedication and devotion to the children in the village, whom she refers to as the future. Her therapies help children through many forms of artistic media such as drawing, painting, dancing and drama, to name some.
Our journey ended here as we had glazed through many inspirational stories and coming abouts from the hard work and determination of the parents and teachers in the small village. Even through our massive work contributed to their fence building and the enduring of roasting in the sun all day, it was a most fruitful venture and enlightening experience for everyone.
Excuse my wordiness.