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42 miles – Sunday, September 11
I crawled from the tent, automatically inspecting the sky. I smiled. Another sunshine filled, crisp morning. Too tired the evening before, Andy and I strolled at 6 a.m. through the vast dewy grounds, not only to stretch our legs, but also investigate the campground/swimming park. As we’ve discovered, swimming is a favorite sport. This area housed 4 huge in-ground pools.
|Danube River view from vineyards.|
|View from Esztergom|
I immediately liked Esztergom; the name itself is exotic, easily identified as of Eastern European origin. A fortress loomed above the city with green domed church. The need to keep moving often monopolizes our thoughts, so this time we resolved to wander and observe.
We walked the outer walls, stopping for red roof views that patchwork Esztergom’s dwellings. Across the now very wide Danube, in Slovakia, another puzzle of quilted houses spread for an equally stunning vista. A barge moves slowly upriver while a white tour boat moves faster. We lingered, mesmerized by the panorama. The calm and quiet Danube, at this height, stretched eastward toward Budapest, somewhere on that distant horizon.
|St. Stephen's Basilica. Photo credit: Wikipedia|
Eventually we stepped inside St. Stephen’s church, largest edifice and tallest building in Hungary. Grey and red marble adorn the walls, ceilings, even the crypt. It’s more airy compared with older, gothic style edifices. I appreciate the English translation at the entrance; we are often left on our own to imagine a site’s significance. Several churches were built and burned, until the recent 1850s completion of the current structure. As with all churches, there is that peace among muffled footsteps. A whisper. I gaze upward into a vast void. Faithfull to no particular religion, I’ve come to appreciate the solitude, the grandeur of any theological space.