Wednesday, 29 April 2015

First Week in Hungary!

Having arrived at my brother's home and after a couple of days rest we decided to visit the nearby town of Godollo.
Count Antal Grassalkovich began to build his Palatial Residence here in 1741 and the family retained the property till the 1850s.

It was sold and eventually purchased by the Hungarian Government in 1867 and gifted to Francis Joseph and Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Sisi) at their coronation and used as the Royal Summer Residence.
From the 1920s it was the residence of Governor Miklos Horthy.

During the 2nd World War the building was pillaged by both the Nazis and the Red Army. After the war Soviet Troops were stationed in part of the building and the rest was used as a social welfare facility. Following the departure of the troops in 1990 work began on the restoration of the property to its former glory. It still is a work in progress.
Entrance to the royal palace.
Count Grassalkovich assisted in the building of over 30 Churches during his lifetime.
A Capuchin Church on the way to Aszod has been a place of Pilgrimage since a workman dug up an Ivory Statuette of the Virgin Mary (13th century origin) during its construction in 1759.

Now the Church is part of "Mary's Road" a Pilgrim track from Austria through Hungary to Transylvania 1400 km. long (approx. 60 days walk).
Signage for walking track.
The track has two extensions, one to Croatia, one to Poland.
After a short walk on Mary's Road it was time to stop for lunch, following the road to Aszod we stopped at the Malackert restaurant. I do not plan to be a food critic but this restaurant deserves 10 out of 10. A very good day.

Fantastic soup (camera too slow).

Roast piglet and duck (cooked as a whole and
served) with mash potato and red cabbage.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Just Days to Departure!

Finally! Only a few days to my departure. I am eager to leave but not as well prepared as I wanted to be I had a number of setbacks and had to undergo a medical procedure to bridge the gap between casual walks of 2-3 hours, and 4 hours plus walks with a backpack for 3-4 "consecutive" days.

Today is my fourth day, I will be walking up (Yarra) river to Dights Falls. At Macrobertson's Bridge I take the Yarra Boulevard, from there the Capital City trail-bike/walk path continues.

On the opposite side of the river there are some excellent properties with boat-ramps, a rare sight.
Yarra River home with a boat ramp.
In Melbourne, very few properties have direct access to the water, there is usually a road,walk-bike path or parkland take up the water frontage. Going toward Dights Falls I pass a number of schools, the Collingwood Children's Farm and Farmer's Market.
Melbourne University, Burnley Campus
The Fall itself is a bit disappointing, it is fenced off so the closest I can get is about one hundred meters.

Taking the same road back I completed the 22km. trip in four and a half hours, I am very pleased with this outcome.

Yarra River Falls
I had some concerns about the weight of the maps I will need but, problem solved, my son decided to get a new Sony mobile so I inherited his nearly new iPhone 5 with GPS. I hope Google will guide me in the right direction during my travels.

My next posting will be from HUNGARY!

Sunday, 5 April 2015

From Queen Victoria to the Australian Grand Prix

Following on from Alexandra Gardens, the home of Moomba, I reach Queen Victoria Gardens, there a statue of the Monarch is gazing over Melbourne City with approval.

Nearby landscaped artificial lakes surrounded by benches and large shady trees, welcome the wary visitors.

Relaxing on one of the benches, I can hear the noise of traffic from St Kilda Road, Melbourne’s nicest Boulevard. Heading south, as I reach the road, the Victorian Art Centre with its mini Eiffel Tower and the National Gallery of Victoria lay on the right side of the road followed by the Victorian College of the Arts part of Melbourne University and Victoria Barracks built in 1872 as accommodation for the British Imperial Garrison, it is one of the remaining old buildings on the right side of St. Kilda Road. Most of the rest are apartments, office blocks and Hotels built from the 1960’s on.

The left side of the road hardly changed since the 1960’s. The whole area is covered by parks, the largest is Kings Domain, located in it is the Sydney Myer Music Bowl, a very popular summertime venue for all sorts of events including the annual free Carols by Candlelight concert, held on Christmas Eve.

Further South is the Government House, the home of Victoria’s Government General (The Queens representative in Victoria) and the Old Melbourne Observatory.

Further South still, and clearly visible from St Kilda Road, is the Shrine of Remembrance opened in 1934 as a memorial to the men and women of Victoria who served in World War 1 and now to all Australians who served in war.

To the East the Botanic gardens definitely worth a visit but not today. Today I am turning west to Albert Road and Albert Park home of the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix. Yes, I know, the Grand Prix is over and dusted and Daniel Ricciardo did not win but Albert Park is a Melbourne landmark with the Sport and Aquatic Centre, a public Golf course, a Lake suitable for sailing, two dozen plus Cricket, football and various sport grounds, picnic areas, bike and walk paths.

The new shading the old but only from the sun.
Exactly the sort of place the inner city suburbs surrounding it needs for a life style few Cities can offer.

Have a look on Google Maps, Melbourne. It is better than not seeing at all.