Saturday, August 25, 2012

Trip to Auschwitz

Visiting Auschwitz is something that has been on our list since we moved here. Last Friday afternoon, we loaded up a 10 passenger rental van and headed to Poland with my parents. 7 hours later, we arrived in Oswiecim, Poland. We stayed in a lovely hotel that I would highly recommend to anyone - the Hotel Galicja. It was such a contrast to the horror of Auschwitz, just 5 minutes away. 
Saturday morning, we visited Auschwitz. For those with kids, I would recommend getting there early.  From 8 to 10, you do not have to take a guided tour. Obviously, I wouldn't want the kids to participate in a guided tour, so it worked out perfectly for us. 
I struggled taking the kids at all, but thankfully they young enough to not really pay attention. Cade and Logan are pretty oblivious. With Chelsea, we just explained it at the highest level.  Auschwitz is divided into barracks, with exhibits in each one. Because we were early, it was pretty empty. We were able to let the kids run around outside the barracks while we took turns going in. There were a few exhibits that were fine for the kids to go into, so one of us would scope it out before taking the kids in. 

So horrible, such a tragedy. Standing there, seeing where the people arrived on the rail cars, seeing the pictures and the luggage and the kids clothes...the horror is unfathomable. One in 10 victims was Hungarian, so that added another dimension of understanding for us.
So many thoughts as we were there - wondering what did the people of that town think about what was going on there? How many risked their lives and their families lives to help? It was easy to stand there and think, where were the Christians? Where was the Church? Why did they do nothing? But, it also made me think about today - what do we ignore thinking we can make no difference?

Such a powerful experience. So glad we went.

Friday, August 24, 2012

In the Wild

Our last few weeks have been wild! In the past 2 weeks, my parents came, we went to Poland, and school started. So much to blog about! But, I hate going out of order, so I must back up 2 weeks. We ventured out into the wild and visited the Budakeszi Wildlife Park. 
In the usual Hungarian randomness, the parking lot was at least a kilometer away from the entrance. But, if you paid 300 forint (about $1.50), you could park right by the entrance. We didn't want the big kids to get tried of walking before we had even entered the park, so we sprung for the good parking.
The park is sort of like a zoo, but I think the goal is to show animals native to Hungary. 
The highlight was the petting zoo, where they ask you to sit on a bench and wait for the animals to approach you. We bought food, and we all loved the deer.
Throughout the park, there are signs by each animal indicating whether or not you can feed that animal.

Reindeer, okay to feed. 
No feeding the bears. Only feed bears at the other wildlife park. 

There was a nice, but rickety, tower we climbed near the bears. At the top, we were rewarded with a nice view of the Hungarian countryside. We took a quick picture and then headed down.

We only made it through half of the park before we all had had enough. It was a fun family outing, and I would recommend it!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

And They're Off!

Last weekend we packed up the bikes and took a trip to the traffic park. For my Budapest friends, it is in city park right next to the Transportation Museum. 
The sign has seen better days, but it is a map of the park. The park is a giant bike path for kids. It is full of Hungarian traffic signs, including a stop light, railroad crossing, and a roundabout. 
So cute and perfect for the kids!
It is fairly large and not something I could have done by myself with all the kids. Larry chased Chelsea and I kept up with Cade while pushing the stroller. Everyone got a workout!
 Big sis leads the way, but quickly leaves Cade behind. She was flying!

Chelsea takes on the roundabout.
 Logans usual pose.

Another fun day for all!