Six Senses Friday VII: Budapest

Castle Hill District Folk Art Festival

- row after row of artisan stands on Castle Hill where continuing and reinterpreted folk art traditions are shown and sold  by artisans at the Folk Art Festival
- bustling city streets
- green Buda hills studded with houses, castles and museums from across the Danube
- a Latvian woman make an intricate paper cut in front of my eyes
- a dramatic sunset outside my room last night from the balcony where I am staying in Budapest

- my housemate in Budapest rehearsing on his trumpet every morning and evening...instead of finding it intrusive or distracting I really enjoy the sounds
- airplanes flying low, taking off and landing over the neighborhood where I am staying
- an expressive and strong old woman folk singer's song
- Liszt's Piano concertos,  inspired to listen to his music after seeing an exhibit on him at Budapest's Ethnographic Museum

- my friend's homegrown, homemade plum preserves
- juicy watermelon and peaches as I enjoy eating fresh fruits of the summer season
- gulping down fresh squeezed lemon, lime, orange aid with mint...refreshing while spending the day out under the hot sun
- marzipan torte

Szechenyi Thermal Bath

- sulfur coming from the water of the thermal baths I visited this week
- funky city smells as I walk through metro stations and over street grates
- suntan lotion
- plum cake and fresh bread baking in my friend's oven

- antique embroidered table clothes and linens
- peeling blanched tomatoes as I make a tomato soup for my friend from the many tomatoes coming in from her garden
- hands in the dirt, weeding a garden

Danube and the Buda side of Budapest

- the sun beating down on my head mid-day as I walk around Budapest
- annoyance that I can't find the bus stop that would bring me really close to the house where I'm staying. Instead I take the tram which makes for a longer walk...but hey, a little more exercise won't kill me!
- speeding through tunnels underground on the Metro
- inspired by my young, trumpet playing housemate... he wakes up and practices for an hour and practices for an hour before going to sleep then plays a couple more hours at school. Makes me want to get back to my piano playing and regular vocal warm-ups.
- about ready to come home and get back to the drawing board...literally.

Great Market Hall, Budapest

Dahony Street Synagogue

Six Senses Friday: Hungary VI

- The land of my ancestors. My Repas cousins and I walked through the small village of Harskut where our Great, Great Grandmother and Great, Great, Great Grandmother are buried. I know that other relations...Hutwagner's and Rausch's must be resting there beneath the ground as well.
- Rolling green hills, fields and forests of the Hungarian countryside surrounding Harskut, Vesprem and Vanyarc, the towns and villages where may family and friends live
- Rows and rows of grapevines with fruit maturing and ripening...Hungary has a rich wine culture.
- Tears of happiness shared between my cousins and me
- Connections and differences between these two countries, Poland and Hungary 
- Hungarian embroidery, costumes, pottery, jewelry, and other historical and cultural objects at the museum in Vesprem and the small museum in Harskut.

- Thunder crashing, dark sky, flashing lightening as the bus drives through a storm in mountainous Slovakia. It felt fitting to be in a storm like this in Slovakia...a dark, romantic, Gothic experience... if only I was on a stage coach.
- Dogs barking, the sound echoing between the hills and through the valley of my friend's village. It seems that everyone has a dog here. The sound of companionship.
- My cousin's husband playing the accordion for the family under his grape arbor in the evening in the countryside, the moon peaking out between clouds. He taught me some songs and we all sang together.
- My friend's partner sharing even more music with me this week...the songs are making an impression as I wake up humming some of them.

Vesprem, Hungary: a view from the medieval tower of the old town rooftops and streets

- Many Hungarian wines... White wine made from the grapes at my cousin's husbands vineyard. Wines from my other cousin's father's wine cellar. He sent me off with three bottles of good Hungarian wines to try!
- so many amazing home cooked foods in Vesprem made by my cousin's thing she made was Beigli a rolled sweet bread with poppy seeds and nuts...I grew up with another version my grandmother made called Kalach or what she called Lachen.
- fresh handmade noodles or dumplings...the best!
- A homemade meal prepared by a woman who lives in Osku near my cousins village who has an outdoor oven which was built by her husband. This couple runs a rustic bed and breakfast and cooks fabulous meals for quests.
- As seen in the picture bellow... a supper at my cousin's home. Home smoked ham and bacon served and eaten with a knife on wooden plates. Fresh bread, whole tomatoes, peppers and fruit and homemade white wine accompanied this treat.

- thyme growing in a garden
- duck roasting in the oven as I write this post
- different bouquets of Hungarian wines
- smoke in the valley in the village where I am staying
- red roses blooming outside the house in Budapest where I will be staying this week

Hungarian Folk dancers in costume during a performance I saw on Thursday night

- A sense of true friendship and connection with my Hungarian relatives after spending two and a half days with them earlier this week.
- Thankful for the beautiful hospitality of my relatives and friends.
- A sense of wonder that my time in Poland this summer is in the past yet I can still evoke the feeling of the place, the people and my experience there.
- Interested that Hungary has a whole different feeling which is just as meaningful as Poland's feel, just different.
- Love that I can remember a place by it's feeling, the whole of a place, it's soul perhaps?... this way of connecting with a place... an indescribable feeling that each place has it's own soul which is palpable.
- excited to see a live performance of authentic Hungarian folk dances performed by skilled dancers wearing beautiful costumes and bringing such exuberance to the stage with live musicians playing fiddles, accordions, and a hammered dulcimer like instrument, with such beautiful and discordant harmonies.

"Kevin" the kitten ...the new family member

- My cousins and I found a stray kitten crying out loudly for help in the bushes of Vesprem as we took a night walk. I picked it up and began petting it and kissing it's soft, furry head. As I carried it home to my cousin's flat it is warm and vibrating with purring. My cousin will give it a home as we all fell in love him quickly.
- warm, clean sheets and blankets covering me as I fall asleep very tired every night after long, full days
- the ground and gravestone of my great, great grandmothers in the village where my grandfather's family is from

Six Senses Friday: Krakow V

- blue skies and fluffy white's been awhile
- a beautiful and serene secret garden courtyard where I sat while the rain stayed away long enough for me to eat my soup and toasted sandwich.
- wax dripping from lit candles and creating abstract, organic sculpted pieces on the table holding the candelabra
- night visions, lighting, architecture... Krakow when the sun goes down
- a man levitating(!) ...I'm still trying to figure out how he does this feat!

- flute, two male voices singing in harmony, an acoustic guitar performing Ukrainian, Russian and Polish folk songs.
- bells chiming from a Baroque Church as the morning sun shines
- pigeons, crows and other city birds making a racket up in the trees on the Planty every evening as the sun descends
- rain pounding the buildings and pavement for this weeks late afternoon down pours
- a stadium where a soccer game is taking place, down the ways from my dorm, erupting in cheers

- a sweet pea bouquet at a flower stand in the city square
- incense burning in a church
- a cool, old, damp smell coming from the stone of a gothic cathedral in Kazimierz
- poppy seeds wrapped into a breakfast roll, reminding me of my grandmother and the bread she makes

- many a sample of fruit and herb infused vodka's and liquor's at a specialty shop
- quarters of fresh fig topping a salad
- honey beer in a cold ceramic mug
- chocolate covered ginger cookie

- silk of a hand painted scarf
- linen dresses in a shop
- hands of new friends in greeting
- my cousin Marta's long, blond hair 

- meditative as I kneel to pray at the Franciscan Church
- anxious as I try to use my time wisely and well my last days in Krakow
- like there are so many doors in Krakow I haven't walked through yet and that I will be back here someday
- reflecting on the themes of identity and authenticity
- a deep appreciation of soulful expression

Six Senses Friday: Krakow IV

This past Wednesday I spent an hour or so at an open air market, Stary Kleparz, in Krakow where there is an abundance of fresh produce, cheese, sausages, meat, bread and baked goods, clothing and household items. When I'm in places like this I can't help but get out my camera and take photos of the cornucopia of abundance, beautiful color combinations and textures mingling in piles on tables and being presented in windows. I thought I'd share photos from the market with you as I post my weekly "Six Senses" update.
- I had the wonderful opportunity to meet more of my relatives in Korczyna last Sunday.
- a small bouquet of flowers adding color to my dorm room, picked from my relatives gardens...three zinnias and a rose
- ancient symbols and motifs found on very old architectural and archeological items ... and the thread of these symbols in Polish peasant art
- I walked around the Jan Matejko Fine Arts Academy on a quiet morning among the sculptures and sculptural casts and sensed the energy of artists who studied and created in that building.
- Polish being spoken all around me at the table in my cousin's home while Lukasz tries to keep up with the translating.
- an evening of live music played by  Kwartet Jorgi (a polish band with roots elements) a bag pipe like instrument, wooden flutes played along side a tenor sax, acoustic guitar and hand percussion... hearing dissonant harmonies and a lot of improvisational elements
- my 8 year old cousin, Marta, quietly humming Leonard Cohen's song, "Hallelujah" as we took in the view from atop Mt. Tarnica
- strong wind blowing, humming and resonating against and through a metal cross on the top of Mt. Tarnica
- fresh mountain air
- wildflowers in blossom as honey bees busy themselves with their work
- a warm kitchen filled with scents of delicious, cooking food
- the fruity and sweet bouquet of my cousin Roman's homemade wine
- a cigarette being smoked inside a cafe at night
- Cousin Roman's delicious homemade wine
- Cousin Paulina's fresh, delicious homemade doughnuts
- Warm beer with ginger and clove on a cool rainy night in Cafe Camelot
- Cousin Kinga's homemade kremówka papieska a cream cake/pastry which was apparently Pope John Paul the II's favorite Polish pastry
- strawberries on white rice with fresh sweet cream poured on top
- kissing cheeks and exchanging warm hugs with my growing family
- running my hand over tall grasses with full seed heads as I hike up Tarnica
- pen to paper as I begin to sketch designs found on Pisanka eggs at the Ethnographic Museum
- the petals of a freshly cut rose
- sadness at the sense of closing as my program at Jagiellonian University winds up... classes are ending and new friends and acquaintances are leaving
- very interested in the language of symbols
- tired of the cool, gray, rainy days
- tipsy after an evening of visiting and talking over lots beer and pizza at Cousin Paulina's and Lukasz's flat
- pleasantly overwhelmed by the generosity and warmth of my family here in Poland and also by my family and friends at home who have been so supportive and enthusiastic about me coming here to Poland this summer
- like I am learning so much about Poland, the culture, the country, society...  Poland is such a complex, beautiful and complicated place with such a rich and at times very painful history. I hope to do some more writing here on my blog to share with you my deeper sense of this place.

Six Senses Friday: Krakow III

* The images I am posting this week are reflective of a more contemporary Krakow. City streets, apartment buildings with balconies full of geraniums, surrounded by green walkways and parks, Communist era architecture, views of the river... Like I've been saying Krakow has many historic, beautiful and nostalgic sites while the contemporary world exist right along side.*

- a crane or stork landing in a field surrounded by warm, end of the day light
- a man on his tractor, mowing hay with a little boy on his lap, on a green, hilly field
- Stanislaw Wispianski's art work in the museum dedicated to resonates with me.
- lightening flashing through a steel gray sky
- a young couple on a bus ride, falling in love
- Polish film, "Man of Marble" (1977), by Andrzej Wajda, dealing with the complexity of Communist era Poland. "The director communicates two opposing truth's: First, that Stallinism was a disaster and second, that the people who believed in it- and whom it consequently crushed- were driven by an honest spirit of idealism."

- Alexander's album "Alexander" has become my musical soundtrack (obsession) this month. I listen to it almost every day. Thank you, Beth Marie and Digger!
- young adults in my dorm partying at the outdoor bar not far from my room's window
- a cheering crowd at a nearby stadium
- gentle, rhythmic rain falling 

- freshly cut lavender
- dark bitter, sweet chocolate
- the scent of perfume on people as I ride the trams
- smoked sheep and cows milk cheese I bought and ate from Zakopane, made in a beautiful, decorative mold 

- the best, thick hot chocolate I've ever had with fresh whipped cream.
- the cafeteria food is no longer interesting me
- Apple cake and tea at an authentic and original Art Nouveau cafe, Michlik's Pastry Shop, "Zielony Balonik"...(The Green Balloon)
- herbed vodka while sitting at a rooftop table along the Vistula River, watching the sun go down

- an ornamentaly carved wooden fence post outside a Zakopane building
- prickly grass against my bare legs as I sit in the sun, reading along the river
- picking up a handful of lavender after it was trimmed at a city park and rubbing it between my fingers to release it's sent
- velvety orange-blushed apricot skin before I eat the fruit

- inspired by the decorative wood work in Zakopane
- very supported by my family, professors, and the people I've met at the Ethnographic Museum. Everyone has been so gracious and helpful. I hope to give back to them and to others the way they have given to me...
- very curious
- thoughtful and reflective
- the stirring and push of change as my time in Poland saturates me with new experiences, information, artistic, cultural and social perspectives.

Six Senses Friday: Krakow II

Drive back to Krakow from Korczyna

- ...that summer feeling.
- sweat on my skin
- some familiarity now with this new city
- excitement about connecting with the ethnographic museum and spending time there
- my heart growing and expanding with good feelings as I make connections with family, people and this place

beautiful music

- an accordion player on a side street playing beautiful music down off of Wawel Hill
- air vibrating over my head as a pigeon takes off right in front of and over me
- church bells awaking me on Sunday morning after a good night's sleep in the parish house where my cousin, the priest, lives
- singing and chanting beginning early Sunday mass
- fellow students in my Polish language class trying to wrap their brains and tongues around this new and difficult language

Church bells at Cousin Karol's parish

- fresh laundry hanging on the line on my balcony to dry
- heated dish of kielbasa in the cafeteria
- fresh dill picked from my cousin's garden
- black currents steeping in hot water
- clean and refreshed after cool showers in the evening

great cafe where I ate a great salad

- many delicious, homemade meals prepared by my family and shared with me during my two days in Korczyna 
- compote, fresh black currant and cherry juice... fruit picked right from the tree..
- delicious salad with melon, asparagus, proscuitto, cheese, olives, lettuce, arugula and sun-dried tomatoes
- eating bread and feeling ok after mostly avoiding it back in the states

mineral water from an ancient spring at the Paulite Church "On the Rock"

- roots of trees as I walk up a path to visit rock formations near Korczyna
- rough limestone forming a beautiful, historic castle
- cool mineral water from an ancient pagan spring that is now a part of a beautiful Baroque Paulite Church in Kazimierz
- ripe sour cherries hanging from the branches of a tree

formal gardens at Pieskowa Skal/a Castle

Six Senses Friday: Krakow

My first week's synopsis of sensory experiences...  a bit delayed as I try to get into the groove of my schedule and time spent with family...

- the arm of Cape Cod twinkling on the Atlantic right after take off
- a watermelon carved to look like a rose in a dessert shop in the town square
- wild, loose plants and gardens tucked away everywhere...along streets, in courtyards, on balconies
- limestone and brick building the city up in layers
- sun rise as we head east, four hours into my flight which took off at 8:20pm...a very short night indeed
- a break in the rain after arriving and laying my eyes on the beautiful sight of Market Square
- Romanesque and Gothic architecture showing it self in the structures and places we are visiting in Krakow

- jet engines as planes and people fly off
- soft sz, cz, s, z, rhythmically sounding in the Polish language all around me
- my newly met relatives Paulina, Renata and Mariusz laughing as they pet a friendly poodle in the park
- traffic of the city bustling outside my dormitory
- a single trumpet calling the time from the tower of the Church of Saint Mary in the Old Quarter in Krakow

- moments of nervousness as I figure out new routines and situations like navigating around on buses and trams
- very tired from the busyness of the program and from adjusting to being in a new place
- wet clothes clinging to my body as I walk during classes on a rainy day
- my heart welling with the love I am feeling for this place
- invigorated and stimulated by what I'm learning and experiencing

- a distinguishable sent as I step into the air at Munich Airport to board my plane to smelled like Europe
- rain, wet earth, snails and worms during the rains last week
- chicken being fried by my newly  met relative as she graciously cooked me lunch on Thursday
- foreign perfumes and detergents on clothes and people

- Sweet Cream and Pistachio Gelato
- cafeteria food, which is not too bad but definitely more processed than I usually eat
- lots of cabbage dishes, red, green, with bell pepper, warm, cold
- simple potatoes boiled, covered with butter and fresh dill
- golumpki, pierogi, potato pancakes

- blisters on my feet as a result of all the walking around town
- feel my feet hitting uneven sidewalks and coblestone
- wet, heavy clothes and book sack after a day spent out in the rain
- my hands around a cold glass of beer on a warm afternoon
- hands connecting in greeting as I meet more and more of my Polish relatives