Category Archives: Hungary


It has been very hot here in Eastern Europe which has flattened my energy. I’m therefore thinking of doing this tour in April 2017 rather than in the summer. I’m told that wouldn’t be a problem.

The big news here is migrash catastrof (sp?) migrants-refugees catastrophe (Hungarian from the taxi driver who was furious about it.) When I passed through the main station in Budapest earlier this morning it was apparent the number of refugees had doubled. There were serious demonstrations yesterday that closed train stations and delayed trains. I was lucky to have Nora to advise me so that I have had no problems.

There are police everywhere at the stations with their riot helmets hanging from their belts but they don’t seem tense. It’s hard for me to tell if it’s the Hungarians rioting or the refugees. What I saw last week was the refugees but they seemed to be cheering on their new-found leaders rather then being angry. I don’t think it was the same yesterday.

Hungarians are very angry that the refugees are stuck in their country and they have to provide for them. They are given free train tickets to Germany but the surrounding countries won’t let them pass through. I just passed through a minor station with yet another bunch of refugees surrounded in even greater numbers by police. Yet I got the impression the police were there to protect the refugees as much as to prevent them just taking off into the fields. Some Muslim women and their children were quite heavily escorted to toilets that had been set up for them.

Of course the press is here in force, interviewing – probably politicians or talking heads.

Nora believes the government is making more of it than they need to, to distract people from the economic and social problems in the country.

Funny – when my taxi driver heard I was from Canada his immediate response was “Ah, Trudeau!” And he didn’t mean Justin 🙂

His father made a huge impact: No one has heard of Stephen Harper.

Back in Miskolc, the European Union has paid for a new and beautiful tram system, restoring the opera house and rebuilding a castle. They are all impressive and while I do wonder at such expenditures it is evident that it is restoring cultural pride which is so necessary after communism. Who am I to judge? But I’m constantly seeing the refugees …

Budapest to Sofia: Well, Budapest to Belgrade was a lovely train trip – except that it was an hour and half late. Nothing unusual about that, but a bit worrisome when I had an overnight train connection, but it all worked out.

Hungary and Romania

Hungarians are different to Romanians. The last decades since the 1956 crackdown have been more benevolent than in Romania.

There is disbelief about the suffering of anthroposophists in Romania and incorrect beliefs about their own country. Nora was convinced Lake Balaton was only for wealthy tourists and full of ugly resorts. Eva had told me that was only true of some parts and much of it was very beautiful. Eva believed that Miskolc was only an industrial city and couldn’t have a lovely Waldorf school in lovely surroundings. The truth is that the industrial aspect of Miskolc has long since gone and only the ruins of factories remain.

With ‘freedom’ the oligarchs left, industry closed down and a high proportion of the population lost their jobs.

These are just two examples of mistaken beliefs about their own country and their neighbors, which brings a bit more understanding about what seems like confused beliefs of the population in Ukraine.

Romania is worried; Hungary doesn’t seem to be. I suppose much of it depends on previous experience of communism.

I’m having quite a grand time in Miskolc with Nora Kunos, a Waldorf school parent who can organize a few days of traditional Hungarian activities and sites for us to visit when we come.

A highlight for me was being asked to speak to a Grade 12 class who were about to have an English class. They were respectful, curious about Canada in general and BC in particular, and had good questions. They delighted in bear stories and wanted to know about the Inuit. I so enjoy working with Waldorf high school students. It was good meeting some teachers and it was apparent that I passed The Test – whatever that was. Nora gave me a good report next day and a message of welcome.