Friday, September 28, 2012

In a Monastery Garden

The sky was bluer than blue. The motor car was whiter than white, polished within an inch of its life. Picnic packed, 'Sat Nav' set, membership cards in hand and we were off!

'Olga from the Volga', as we fondly think of the disembodied, throaty voice which barks directions from our friend's smartphone, proved essential as she navigated us deep into a wooded wilderness. And then, miraculously, a clearing in front of an impressive stone portal emerged. The Camaldolese Monastery at Majk was our destination and we had arrived.

statue of Saint Romuald outside of the main gate of the Camaldolese Monastery, Majk

the bell tower is now all that remains of the original church at the Camaldolese Monastery 

Founded in 1733, the Monastery's short life was dissolved by Hapsburg order in 1781 when it became an Esterházy residence. The Camaldoli hermits were an austere and reclusive order following the teachings of Saint Romuald, an offshoot of the Benedictines. Shrouded by woodland the Monastery buildings today remain remarkably intact and do, to some degree, retain their 'otherwordly' atmosphere that must have been evident when bearded monks dressed in long white robes walked silently in the grounds.

an interior view of one of the private chapels to be found in each monk's dwelling place

an example of a coat of arms affixed to the gable end of each one of the several cottages

Patronised by a number of noble families, a grandiose church, Baroque cloisters, a library, refectory and seventeen monks' cottages were built on this site. Each cottage, bearing a bas relief of the coat of arms of its patron, consists of four rooms including a private chapel. There monks could be isolated in prayer, except for when sharing meals under the vaulted ceiling of the refectory with its frescoed depiction of The Last Supper and scenes from the long life of Saint Romuald.

the refectory currently undergoing restoration and closed to 'Foreigners' - discrimination?!!

European Union money is in evidence here and restoration activity intense but, strangely, we found it all rather soulless. A bell tower, the surviving monument of the church, emitted piped music on the quarter hour and, as it struck 12.30pm, we made our escape.

monks'cottages, blandly restored with painted cement, line a path within the gardens

Perhaps its remote location saved the Monastery from the worst ravages of foreign occupation and nationalisation. And, remarkably, an Esterházy, the grandmother of the celebrated contemporary writer, Peter Esterházy, was permitted to live in cottage number 13 until the mid 1950s.

245 comments:

  1. Hello Jane and Lance. I'm so sorry it's been an age since I've visited. I know that I should make a comment about the monastery, but honestly, I'm still laughing over Olga from the Volga! My GPS here as a variety of voices to choose from including an ocker Aussie talking about chip stealing seagulls, but I bet he's not as good as Olga :)

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    1. No apologies, Kerry, are expected or indeed necessary. The Blogosphere is not, thankfully, a compulsory part of any of our lives - nor should it be. Besides, we do know that you have been having a wonderfully exciting time with your photographic course which does, indeed, sound really interesting and worthwhile.

      We fear that we too readily give private nicknames to all manner of things [sometimes people too!!] so Olga is by no means on her own.

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  2. I have a husband who argues with the sat nav, perhaps Olga's authoritative tones would calm him down. As ever a fascinating glimpse into another world, perhaps the piped music was a bit too much though.

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    1. Happily, Susan, Olga only features in our lives when our friends are kind enough to bow to some new whim on our part and transport us in their motor car!

      Believe us, the piped music was dreadful - and extended on the hour!

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  3. Good Morning , Dears Jane and Lance
    I have missed many posts ! You had an interesting day .This Monastery looks so tranquil and secluded .Don't use any more or be open to the visitors ?
    Olympia

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    1. Sometimes, Olympia, as we all find, there are other things in life!! The Monastery is no longer a religious centre but, or so we understand, the cottages are available as holiday rentals.

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  4. Hello Jane and Lance, I do like the ruin of the bell tower; I wonder if any the the original bells survive. The cottages, minus the heraldic devices, kind of remind me of those at a summer campground. I'm not sure if this was worth a trip all by itself, although the company you travel with and the sense of adventure can make any occasion worthwhile. Was there anything else to visit in the vicinity?
    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. We suspect, Jim, that the answer to that is no. It seemed to us that there was, very sadly, little about the whole Monastery that we saw which could be said to be original. But that said, the library and refectory are undergoing restoration - prohibited to foreigners(!!) - and they, in time, may merit a return visit.

      Yes, later that day we did visit a rather wonderful house, although in poor condition on account of its having been used as a mental hospital following the nationalisation of all property after the Second World War, and about which we might, since we took pictures, write a post.

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  5. Hi Jane and Lance, you certainly see parts of this world other people would miss, you are very adventuresome... we should all be more like this;)

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    1. We do very much enjoy discovering new places in Hungary, Launna, and we could so easily not have seen this except for the kindness of friends who drove us there in their motor car.

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  6. The monks cottages look interesting,even with their bland restoration. I've never seen an arrangement like that before. I also love the no foreigners bit...would that be a creative translation or does it really mean that ? I do like the way the US immigration people noe call non Americans "visitors" rather than aliens. Anyway, a fascinating spot...I'm glad Olga found the way.

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    1. The restoration we did feel, Janice, had not been well done and we do rather hope that when work is complete on the refectory and library it will be to a more sympathetic standard.

      We really think that the warning to foreigners is another example of the meaning having been lost in translation. But it amused us!

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  7. That was a very blue sky indeed. I can see what you mean about it looking soulless, especially in that last picture, which is such a shame.
    We watched an oil tanker start driving into the woods near here on Monday, the driver was following his sat nav regardless! One of the rangers had to chase after him, because he would have reached a point where he wouldn't have made it back up the hill again. Common sense should have given the driver a clue, so I suspect he had none!

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    1. Yes, it really was a wonderful day, Tracey, with blue skies and warm sunshine and all just three weeks ago.

      Our view of 'Sat Nav' is that it can be, as in the case you describe here, exceedingly unreliable. In fact we were not entirely convinced that 'Olga' really knew the way exactly as we had one or two false starts.

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  8. Hello Jane and Lance,

    How are you? I love your pictures of this wonderful monastry garden. Everything loks so sereen and peaceful.

    Thanks for sharring an have a great weekend.
    Jérôme

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    1. Everything is absolutely fine with us, Jérome, as we trust it is with you. We are so pleased to see that you have surfaced from work and have so much enjoyed your latest post.

      Kellemes hétvégét.

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  9. 'Foreigners' are the only people we allow into our construction areas these days.

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    1. That strikes us as very wise! But most likely they are the only ones prepared to do any work.

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    2. And that, of course, is a great sadness.

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    1. It was indeed a lovely day out but of course we saw it all at its best in warm sunshine.

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  11. What an extraordinary pilgrimage. I have a great weakness for religious establishments, they have such astonishing auras. There is such an overwhelming serenity in these photos Jane and Lance. I wonder what's your next destination :)?

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    1. We do agree with you about the atmosphere to be found in such places, Petronela, although in this particular instance, as we have said, it was all inclined to be a little soulless.

      Where next? That will much depend on where the mood takes us!

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  12. Hello Jane and Lance:
    We live in a new world now where regulated strata have been knocked sideways.
    What is a monk, or a prince, we may wonder. What is this thing, accepting your lot?
    I'd like to see the Camaldolese monastery at Majk restored and celebrated, without too much cementification.
    Perhaps it's only from out of a speedy white car we may now be able to understand the struggles of the past, and what those struggles have brought to us.
    I take it Olga was a mother superior in another life?

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    1. Alas, Faisal, we really believe that there will never be monks again at Majk which, for our part, we feel to be such a great pity. But, strangely, when they left, they must also have taken some of the spirit of the place with them for we felt very little of it, if any.

      Later, but still within earshot of the 'piped' music, we ate our picnic on a bank beside a lake, possibly a former carp pool, and felt much more at peace and at one with Nature.

      Now, that is such an interesting thought about Olga. She certainly had the authority!

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  13. Hello Jane and Lance

    Your opening image of The Camaldolese Monastery with its shadows on what was clearly a beautiful sunny day is superb. The image of the interior chapel is also worthy. Do you suppose that it is soulless because of the modern method of fixing up rather than restoring? Sometimes restorers do not dance with the original architect.

    I am sure your picnic and the drive proved to be a memorable day.

    Fondest wishes

    Helenxx

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    1. It was a glorious September day, Helen, and less than three weeks ago. We too loved the individual chapel, possibly the only one remaining, for although small it had a greatness, yet simplicity with its single prayer stool, about it which appealed to us greatly.

      Yes, you have possibly discerned here that which at the time we failed to see, namely the whole place has been 'fixed up' rather than sympathetically restored.

      The picnic beside the lake was fun and it is always a treat for us to be in a motor car.

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  14. You guys really do have the MOST gorgeous photos of your adventures!

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    1. Taken, we assure you, Kellie, with the most basic of cameras. And you do not see the rejects!!

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  15. Like everyone else Olga The Volga made me smile. We named our satnav Henry The Navigator and that name has a long story behind it. The sky is indeed very blue and dreamy but even in your wonderful photographs I can see that the location has a kind of abandoned sorrow about it. It is always sad when the spirit of a place or a building has been confined or exorcised. One can only hope that one day nature returns and even ruins would be better than this contrived existence. x

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    1. We do so love it when people give names to otherwise functional pieces of machinery. It really does serve to humanise them. Could there possibly be a post behind the naming of Henry?

      Yes, it is very strange but there was, as you so aptly put it, a kind of 'abandoned sorrow' about the entire place and perhaps something of the original spirit would return if it were to be left to the ravages of time and Mother Nature.

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  16. I wish those monks still existed, would have made the place more charming and less desolate. From the looks of the bell tower, the church must have been quite impressive. If only walls could talk, we could glean some information about the lives and times of these gentle monks.

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    1. We are certain that if the walls could talk there would indeed be some most intriguing tales to hear about this most secretive of orders. The church in its day would have been very impressive and there are pictures inside the bell tower of highly decorative furnishings which were ripped out of the original church and have now been tracked down to other churches throughout Hungary.

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  17. Do you think it would seem more soulful if accompanied by Ketelbey's piece of the same name? I think it might just...
    Axxx

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    1. Well, that would certainly be an altogether better alternative than the dreadfully tinny tones which emanated from the bell tower at quarter hourly intervals!!!

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  18. Good morning Jane and Lance,
    I think that you chose a most beautiful place to visit. The monastery of Camoldolese looks such a calm place.
    One can imagine the monks in their little cottages, being called to prayers and tending their gardens . I do not know of the Hungarian saints. St Romauld ,i must read about.
    The monks being an offshoot of the Benadictines.
    It's a shame that all these lovely buildings were just left. Here we have lots of them too.
    I hope that one day it will be restored and be back to what it was.
    a super post.
    must tell you.. Olga lost her way!! She is here with me today. She comes twice a week.
    ): ):
    happy weekend to you both.
    val

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    1. From what we can make out St Romuald founded the order in Italy first but the monks were forced out by Papal Decree and found themselves spread across Europe. The Camaldolese Order is still alive in Poland today.It would appear that the Benedictine life was felt to be too comfortable and, hence, the silence, fasting and rigorous prayer routine of the Camaldolese monks.

      We are quite confident that this whole site will be renovated and so shall return one day.

      Say hello to Olga for us!!

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  19. I had my first chuckle of the morning with your caption on discrimination. Indeed, should only the native-born be allowed to traipse over mounds of construction!?

    I like very much the idea of an otherwordliness pervading the atmosphere at the mere recollection of bearded monks in airy white robes. I think I will probably have some suggestion of this image 'haunting' me all day. Bit like a song one can't get out of their head?

    As for Olga, can she boil an egg? All would agree this is the material point, no?

    Have a beautiful weekend, my dear Jane + Lance!

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    1. We trust that the use of the word 'foreigner' is merely an accident of translation......

      Yes, the idea of the be-robed monks silently wandering the confines of the monastery does give one pause for thought. Haunting indeed!

      Our friends' smartphones seem intelligent enough to be able to do almost anything. Boiling an egg we are confident would pose no difficulty....a soufflé might just be a little challenging!!!!

      Wishing you a happy weekend too!!!

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  20. Thank you for sharing this, I am fascinated by monasteries, and have a weakness for the sparse, pared back spaces that many provide. I wish cloisters/quads were a normal part of domestic architecture here, I think they often provide beautiful indoor/outdoor places in a home? Belinda

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    1. That is a most intriguing point, Belinda, about the inclusion of cloisters/arcades within normal, domestic architecture. We agree that these kinds of areas, when well executed, can give a wonderfully peaceful and relaxing ambience. And, of course, they are so beautifully practical at offering welcome shade on hot days.

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    2. Exactly so! And, conversely, some protection when the weather is uncertain but time outdoors desired? I would love to visit Morrocco to see how their famous use of courtyards in residential situations works so well. England spectacularly fails to offer a constant supply of warm evenings to enjoy the outdoor space, but the covered, warmer areas would be lovely on days when the weather is uncertain? I would personally love the outdoor central area to grow herbs and flowers a bit like the monastical apothecary gardens, imagine the lovely aromas of herbs on warm evenings?! You have got me thinking...:)

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    3. We too would be fascinated to visit Morocco as, indeed, we should the whole of North Africa. And then there is Iran with all of those original, courtyard gardens dating back over many centuries. Yes, to enclose such spaces with fresh herbs would be particularly wonderful, not least for the scent.

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  21. It sounds as if the restoration might be like some of the early to mid twentieth century restorations of paintings. It might have to be undone in the future and a more authentic restoration planned.

    Haha, Olga from the Volga is a wonderful sat nav voice name. Ours at present, and we change the voices at times, is Karen. I like some English accents, but none of the ones loaded onto the device.

    I'll have a closer look at the photos now.

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    1. The restoration to date has been focussed on the cottages, possibly as the monastery is now used as a retreat, and does appear to have been a somewhat rushed job. However, the Baroque refectory and cloisters are very fine architecturally and so we do hope that they will be renovated more sympathetically. We shall return and see.

      We rather like to give names to a number of devices and gadgets......it humanises them we feel!

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  22. Seems odd putting a sign up in English, badly translated at that. Perhaps you and your ilk are the only types who would want to trespass.

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    1. We have to say that on the day of our visit, the monastery was not overrun with 'foreigners'!!! Indeed, it appeals to us greatly to venture where no other 'foreigner' would. Come to that, apart from our friends, few Hungarians do either!!!

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  23. I want a sign like that for my office. It shall read HELENLANDIA - Foreigners are Forbidden to Enter. Can I get Olga from the Volga to bark it out for the doorbell? Love the sites as always.

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    1. We should regard such a sign, dearest Helen, as a challenge rather than a boundary and would be sorely tempted to trespass and explore Helenlandia in great detail!!! Indeed, rather like walking through the wardrobe into Narnia, we are sure that we should never be the same again!!!

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  24. Thanks so much for sharing this visit with us. I have just had a lovely day out. Take care Diane

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    1. It is wonderful to be able to travel together virtually, isn't it, Diane!

      Happy weekend!

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  25. What a strange life that Peter Esterházy must have lead there, all on his own in cottage no. 13! This bit of your entirely interesting post was it that really set my inner caleidoscope (or brewing kettle) in motion. Thank you!

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    1. It was Peter Esterházy's grandmother who lived in one of the monk's cottages, not Peter himself, but it must, as you say, have been a strange life to have been living there in such a remote location. Definitely the stuff of fiction!!!

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  26. Yes, those voices on the phone... much better than what I used to do without them... copy directions and balance them on the steering wheel while driving. No wonder I got lost all the time!

    Thing is, sometimes I'd find wonderful things when I went off course.. like your monastery. Love the location and the place... terribly peaceful.

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    1. So many of the places we are interested to see are way off any beaten track and our friends are brilliant at sorting out how to get there. With, on occasions, just tracks instead of properly made up roads, 'Olga' has been a godsend!!!

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  27. Beautiful clear blue skies dominate in all your lovely photos and what a delightful day it looks like you had.

    The sign made me chuckle out loud, I suppose the locals can wander in at will during the renovations, or perhaps that care more about foreigners and don't want them hurt, but locals, well....

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    1. These clear blue skies are, for us, one of the wonders of living in Hungary. We have only rarely known such azure blue above our heads in Blighty!

      As European Union money is being spent at the monastery on its renovation, perhaps the sign is a recognition of some Health and Safety requirements being needed on building sites. We have to say that we do not witness very much regard to H and S on any of the building sites throughout Budapest. Occasionally, we do see signs saying 'Beware falling masonry. Please walk on the other side of the road'!!!!

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  28. Hello dear friends!
    You make the best out of a lovely sunny day : )
    ( I am going to read a bit about your Esterhazy and his mom soon!)

    lots of love

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    1. The Esterházys are indeed a fascinating family whose fortunes are threaded throughout Hungarian history. They do merit a closer look, we think.

      Happy weekend!

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  29. I loved your comment about Olga from the Volga. We have Tootsie. She pronounces the names of streets in such an amusing way and provides entertainment for us on our trips. We could change it to one without an accent but it would not be as much fun.

    Like you, the canned music, would have annoyed me also. Rather than adding something to the environment you are in, it takes away. We are all in need of more quiet in this world.

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    1. Oh, how right you are about the need for more quiet in the world. Indeed, as the monastery was a place in which the strictest control of silence was made it seemed singularly inappropriate to have tunes which could have come from an ice cream van playing every fifteen minutes.

      We like the sound of Tootsie and do agree that to have a voice with a rather strange accent adds interest to the proceedings.Simple pleasures!!!

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  30. It looks very peaceful though and such a blue sky that day too! Ha Ha ;)) Olga made me laugh and reminded me of a book my children loved, http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tales-Olga-Polga-Michael-Bond/dp/0192754955 the Guinea-Pig with the wild imagination!!

    Jane

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    1. It was in fact less than three weeks ago, Jane, and for most of the last several days we have had very similar weather. Even as we write this the windows are open wide!

      Thank you so much for giving an 'Olga' link which we shall certainly follow up.

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  31. Your sense of adventure and curiosity gave you all a fine excursion to a very unusual place. It is odd to see what is now being done at the monastery. The work does not seem very sympathetic.

    I wonder if some sort of garden might enhance the holiday cottage environment.

    The first blast of the recorded music would have put me off immediately. It would have signaled time to find a good picnic spot.

    I rarely find myself in a car and have had only one SAT NAV experience, traveling with friends to a country garden location. This experience showed that arrival can sometimes be more of a pleasure than the journey.

    Best wishes!

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    1. Very sadly the restoration to date is not at all sympathetic, Frances. We can only hope that the work on the refectory and library, which we were forbidden to see, will be rather more sensitively done.

      Absolutely. A Monastery garden, planted in a traditional manner, would improve the overall environment enormously. Unfortunately, there is little money here to execute such projects in the first place and then none to maintain them.

      We are with you entirely when it comes to 'Sat Nav' or indeed anything similar, including iPads and Smartphones [are they the same?]. We too rarely travel in a motor car as we do not own one and would for choice, and where possible, prefer to journey by train.

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  32. There's just something more spiritual in a garden like this. I could sit for days and days

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    1. Normally we should agree, Gina, but in this case we found the whole place lacking in any real atmosphere.

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  33. I love the beautiful way you write your posts as much as the content Jane and Lance. So descriptive - we could almost be walking with you. (If only! I am confined indoors with a severe episode of Sciatica - thank goodness for the internet that I am able to have some company and it doesn't matter what shape I am in - quite literally!)

    "Foreigners are prohibited" Straight to the point! I like that! Does that mean if you are a native you are permitted I wonder?

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    1. This is exceptionally kind of you and very much appreciated. And how lovely to hear from you, returned from your foray across the Atlantic, about which we shall hope to hear, but now struck down, for which we are so very sorry. And so very painful too. Take care.

      Yes, we loved the sign - open to any amount of interpretation. And very odd to find it in English, and there.

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  34. The sky is bluer than blue and somehow I found your post of a monastery quite poignant and appropriate to me this morning. Ha. I like that part of the tower is left, and cottage number 13, hope Esterhazy wasn't superstitious.

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    1. We are of course so pleased, Linda, that unintentionally this post has been appropriate to you today. Yes, we too wondered about Number 13. We also wonder what became of her?!!

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  35. Dear Jane and Lance,
    You certainly both get around and to the most interesting places. Blue skies, a shiny clean car and Olga to help you on your way. A pretty Monastry but, I hope that it is restored sympathetically. I hope that there was a lovely little restaurant included in the days festivities !!
    Our ' Olga' we name Tabitha as she is so posh and so very polite !! Very refreshing in this day and age ! XXXX

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    1. The Monastery was, as you may well imagine, dearest Jackie, just one point of call in a hectic day. Picnic lunch by a fishing lake, a mansion [post to follow],a long walk around a second lake, a school and dinner at a Budapest restaurant completed the picture!!!!

      Tabitha sounds very upper crust, but nothing less would be appropriate for you, style maven Jackie!!!

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  36. Oh Jane and Lance....what a spectacular visit you are sharing with us today. It is so very wonderful that old places such as this are still around and being cared for, although, somewhat haphazardly. BTW......our girl is named "Mona".

    xo

    Jo

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    1. At least, Jo, the monastery buildings have been kept in one piece, just about, which cannot, sadly, be said for many important buildings in Hungary. We too hope that the renovations will be sympathetic as the surroundings are truly lovely.

      Mona, we have to say,seems the most appropriate name yet!!!

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  37. Hello Lance and Jane, this pristine church is quite lovely, I do not know too much about this Saint. Your photos, as always, are just superb. I like the name Olga from Volga! I named my GPS "Wanda", as she makes me 'wander' around quite a bit. xo

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    1. Saint Romuald was a new find for us too. We rather like identifying saints with their attributes, just as worshippers many centuries ago would have done.

      Thank you for your kind comment about the photographs. It is a very basic camera and we get lucky sometimes. Your 'Wanda' and Jo's 'Mona' sound like a pair of heavenly twins.

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  38. It looks like such a 'spiritual' place and it sad to hear that the 'soul' has been taken from it. It intrigues me the importance of 'being' there -- that je ne sais quoi of 'moment' and 'place'. Somehow though it is reassuring to know that 'presence' still has an important place in our lives after so much virtual reality...

    On a lighter note, my husband takes great delight in flummoxing our Lady of the Sat Nav. He loves to set a route and then take little known short-cuts that have her murmuring, 'recalculating' -- the result being a certain air of self-satisfaction at having duped the poor woman!!!

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    1. The Monastery is indeed curious since, as you say, for a place which has witnessed centuries of prayer, silence and self-sacrifice, it now appears somewhat lacking in any spiritual atmosphere at all. That said, the surroundings, including a nearby medieval fishing lake,are truly lovely, totally unspoilt and very much lending themselves to peaceful contemplation.

      We must admit to being perplexed by your husband's behaviour in relation to Lady Sat Nav. What is a girl to do in these circumstances, we wonder?!!!

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    2. I reach over and turn the sound off!!

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  39. What a quaint place still... Beautiful and filled with history. Its a bit unsettling though, the discrimination as you put it, especially coming from Canada, where you would never see a sign like this... what a strange world this is.

    Hugs,

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    1. Certainly an historical site, Kasia, and one so tucked away in the countryside. We did find the sign slightly bewildering, particularly written in English in such a remote spot.

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  40. What beautiful photos. I love your text...
    xo,
    nancy

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    1. Thank you, Nancy, for your kind comment. We hope that we shall welcome you back here again!

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  41. Happy weekend you two....love from me.....xxx..

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    1. Thank you, Ria, and we wish you a happy weekend too!

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  42. Piped music, indeed! In keeping with the resoration by your account.

    Your post has driven me in search of H.V.Morton's various guides to Italy in one of which I seem to remember he makes mention of the Camaldolese order, though, of course, I cannot remember in which context.
    In so small a house how is it that books can disappear!
    I do so prefer researching from books rather than than from the wretched soulless internet.

    I look forward to being introduced to the house once used as a mental institution in due course.

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    1. The piped music was dreadful, as you may imagine. We sincerely hope that the restoration will be of a much higher standard.

      The Camaldolese Order has its ancient foundations in Italy although we are somewhat hazy about the exact details. However, the Order did intrigue us and we now realise that we were very close to a Camaldolese Monastery when we stayed in Krakóv and this still functions today.

      The Esterházy Kastély was worth, we felt, a post of its own....

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  43. I can see what you mean by the "bland" restoration. Too bad, but at least it's not being completely abandoned. The tower and partial wall are still very elegant. I assume the use of the word "foreigners" was simply a translation problem. But, if not, I'm glad you behaved, although maybe you wouldn't be considered foreign.

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    1. We only obeyed the 'Keep Out' notice, Mitch, because there were workman on site. Otherwise, you can be sure that we should have trespassed and explored further. We are shameless when it comes to investigating old buildings!

      As you say, a 'bland' restoration is better than no restoration at all. And, from the evidence of the day, we felt that a return visit might make us happily surprised at what developments had been achieved.

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  44. Those were luxurious homes for a monk! The private chapel is lovely, and I'm sure the cottages were a wonderful environment for contemplation and prayer. I'm sorry that it had such short life as a monastery.

    Jen

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    1. Yes, Jen, its life as a monastery was incredibly short and that is rather sad. The monks' cottages had the potential to be absolutely charming, each set within its own small kitchen garden. The private chapel was beautiful and did have a contemplative atmosphere.

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  45. Ahhhh, this was WONDERFUL. Like having a great feast under an arbor of grapes and fragrant roses.

    Thank you! I discovered you through Pondside. You've helped make this a perfect morning.

    All joys,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

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    1. Thank you Sharon for your kind comment. And now, we have been able to discover your wonderful blog.

      We hope that you will be tempted to return and continue to enjoy what we write.

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  46. Dear Jane and Lance,
    I do enjoying visiting through your blog the old buildings you discover in Hungary. What a shame that you were disappointed with this one. Glad you found somewhere nice for your picnic.
    Sarah x

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    1. Oh, but Sarah, half of the fun is in finding these hidden places, some of which inevitably are more interesting than others. But, on all the trips that our friends have been kind enough to take us on we have always found something to intrigue. The picnic spot by the lake was so pretty and, of course, made even more memorable by a gloriously sunny day.

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  47. Greetings Jane and Lance. I think the term " foreigners" got lost in translation :) it (probably) was supposed to mean; people other than the construction workers stay away.

    Monasteries fascinate me, I find these a symbol of history, mystery,piety, meditation, conspiracies, power struggles..... A number of times I get an urge of staying at a monastery for meditation, who knows :)

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    1. We agree about the sign. Perhaps 'Google Translate' is to blame!!!!

      We are interested to read that you find monasteries fascinating places too. They are, as you say, such an intriguing and heady mix of the pious and the power and one cannot help but be drawn into finding out more. Indeed, we feel that we have barely scratched the surface of knowing about the Camaldolese, a most secretive of holy orders.

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  48. What a beautiful day and setting. I really enjoy these tours that you take us on.
    Love the funny sign. It brings up all sorts of questions. Are foreigners clumsy so they are not allowed in construction sites ? or just not smart to stay away. What I think since it was in English, is it they just meant to say no admittance to tourists and used the wrong word.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. We are so pleased, Gayle, that you enjoy 'travelling' with us. It is one of the joys of the Blogosphere we find that one can circumnavigate the world in an afternoon!

      We are sure that you are right about the confusing sign, but it made us smile!

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  49. Dear Jane and Lance, I can sympathize with your disappointment with the restoration of this lovely old monastry. I always feel a little sad when lovely old buildings are altered. The modern taste to gut buildings and make them modern inside but old outside leave me a bit cold. I understand the need to make buildings compatible with modern life, but do we all need to live in warehouses or airport hangers? What is wrong with dining rooms and sitting rooms etc?
    I loved the gorgeous soft fresco pinks in the old building, so peaceful. I am sure your trip was not in vain, as you will no doubt have found some delightful little watering hole somewhere! Lots of love, Linda x

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    1. Like you, Linda, we are disappointed when restoration seems to take out the heart and soul of a place. But, in this case, we were at least relieved that the Monastery was being saved from total destruction. And, the private chapel was delightful. One really could imagine it as a place of silent prayer.

      This visit was but a part of the day. More to come!

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  50. Soulless, maybe, but the place still has a fascinating history. Restoration is wonderful but, sometimes, I find that certain ruins speak volumes and, once restored, seem to lose their unique voice. Perhaps it all depends on the restorers.

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    1. You are absolutely right, Loree, the Camaldolese Monastery and its monks do have a fascinating if rather secretive history. We feel that we have opened up Pandora's Box and that there are lots more treasures yet to be found.

      How beautifully you put that 'ruins speak volumes', they do for us too!

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  51. What an odd sign! Does that mean that locals are free to wander in risk life and limb??
    What a shame the ruined bell tower was "improved" with tinny music. By the looks of it you had absolutely glorious weather.

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    1. Believe us, we should have all risked life and limb if we had not been overlooked by construction workers. It adds to the excitement, we find, to go where one is 'not allowed'!!!

      The bell tower was delightful, made even more so with its pastel shades against the azure blue of the sky. But yes, the piped music was no asset!

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  52. Dear Jane and Lance,

    This sounds like an interesting place although the way the monastic building looks today one could be misgiven for thinking they were soulless but then perhaps it is the newness of the roughcast.

    They seem to me to have been somewhat like the Carthusians and the pictures reminded me a little of the ruins of Mount Grace Priory in Yorkshire.

    I have to say that the piped music would put me off. I would prefer to hear the sounds of nature instead. I hope you had a lovely picnic there!

    SatNav is a mystery to me. We had it on our recent trip to Monschau - an authoritative young German male voice directing us hither and thither despite our best attempts to turn him off!
    Bye for now
    Kirk

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    1. The plaster render of the monks' cottages was so white that it really did not feel very sympathetic to this ancient religious site. The stone walls of the refectory, cloisters and other buildings which were in the process of renovation looked far more in keeping.

      We know little of the Carthusians or Mount Grace priory but you have now encouraged us to look into this a little deeper.

      The authoritative German would not be to our liking, but Monschau is a most beautiful town of which we have fond memories from some twenty or more years ago now when we last visited with our German friends.

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  53. Jane and Lance... I was immediately taken in by the lonesome bell tower. Still standing tall and proud. It seems to be a place one would walk in humble silence.

    Yes we have a name for our GPS as well, but I probably shouldn't post it. I suppose it could be misconstrued. She can be very demanding and rude when we travel an uncharted route or miss a turn. Have a wonderful weekend.

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    1. The Bell Tower is very impressive and it looked so incredibly beautiful set against the blue sky.Unfortunately, the music which emanated from it did not encourage one to 'walk in humble silence'!!

      Now you have us intrigued by the 'naughty' name of your sat nav. These voices certainly do seem to raise their pitch every time one takes a wrong turn. And, as for persistently disobeying instructions, well....

      Jó hétvégét!!

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  54. I do so love coming along with you on these trips to such interesting places, both historically and architecturally. And indeed the sign was most amusing and lost in translation.(trespassers perhaps) :)

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    1. We are pleased that you have enjoyed travelling with us a we do with you, dear Rose. Indeed, it does make the world a smaller place!

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  55. Jane and Lance, i love discovering new places in Hungary with you. You paint the picture so well.

    My sister's sat nav sounds like the queen, so we feel we travel with her and as we switch it on, we always say: "let's see what the queen says!"

    I am jealous of the blue skies you enjoyed. I was in Foy, Ross on Wye for the last five days, and we mostly had grey skies!

    Have a lovely and relaxing weekend.

    Red

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    1. Sometimes we think that we could work for the Budapest Tourist Board, but that is quite another story and one which we should probably not get started!!!

      Gosh, being directed by the Queen...we hope that you are always good subjects in her presence!

      We are sorry about the leaden skies over Ross on Wye. We continue, luckily, to enjoy glorious weather here in Budapest. Temperatures have dipped and mornings have a chill but the sunny days and clear blue skies are so beautiful!

      Jó hétvégét!!

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  56. Olga must undoubtedly be preferable to Basil Fawlty. I wonder whether you would have found the Monastery under his direction. He certainly wouldn't have put up with the 'no foreigners' sign!

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    1. One can just imagine, Gaynor, Basil Fawlty putting up the 'Foreigners Keep Out' sign!

      No, Olga is definitely the one for us!

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  57. Dearest Jane and Lance, Piped music . . . I would want to escape too. It seems such an insult to the rather austere sense of the place. Intriguing entrance you give us into your lovely outing . . . 'Sat Nav' ( I looked that up and find it is like our GPS) membership cards? some sort of id? I would guess in Hungry you have to travel with some identification . . . it is all so behind the 'curtain' sort of feeling. I intend to study up on all things Hungarian . . . especially Budapest! (Any suggestions?)

    This spot like so many you discover sounds quite special and your words offer delightful detailed interest and history as always . . . on a par with a gentleman named Hugh. I would guess having ones coat of arms on cottages inhabited by monks would assure a regular flow of prayer for said families. I confess to not knowing Peter's work but wonder if his grandmother ever heard chanting or saw flashes of long white robes floating about.

    Your photos are wonderful but the first one especially is outstanding with the mysterious shadows . . . very ghost like indeed!

    As for the sign written to an english speaking audience . . . well, my country is not innocent of prejudice towards what some like to call 'aliens' . . . somehow foreigners does not sound so bad and perhaps it was english speaking peoples who got into trouble or perhaps it is mostly directed towards Americans who mostly cannot speak but one language . . . sad to be amongst that mostly lot. Just maybe though those that placed it got a good deal on the signs at some closing out sale. Not to mention that perhaps some english speaking person may have sued for tripping on some material or other in the construction site or . . . But really it is too bad they do not seem to care about the safety of their own.

    As always a delight to visit you. I always, always click away with new knowledge and inspiration.

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    1. The membership cards, dearest Carol, are the yearly passes which our friends were kind enough to give to us as Christmas presents.These give us free entry into all the sites under the guardianship of the Hungarian National Trust. The places covered by the pass are scattered throughout Hungary and so visiting them all is something of an expedition.

      We have only a passing knowledge of Peter Esterházy's work but were most intrigued to learn about his grandmother having stayed in one of the monk's cottages right up until the 1950s. Somehow that seemed to connect the ancient with the present in a most unexpected and curious way!

      As European Money is being used to part fund the restoration of the Camaldolese Monastery, we are sure that the putting up of warning signs is part of the requirements. In these days of a 'suing culture', it is probably necessary. Although, we should not think the chances of a 'foreigner' making a claim on the Hungarian Authorities would be settled this century!!!

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  58. How beautiful and calm it all is...

    xx,
    J
    www.abentpieceofwire.com

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    1. Yes, there is a natural beauty to the surroundings which is very peaceful indeed.

      Thank you for visiting, we hope that we shall welcome you here again.

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  59. Greetings foster parents :)
    While I think the bell tower is beautiful, I probably wouldn't make a trip to visit this historic site. Especially being so remote. Hmmmm, not sure what to make of that sign. Maybe they meant "tourists are prohibited to enter the construction area." I hope so.
    Have a great weekend ~
    Loi

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    1. A visit to this site alone is most probably not worth the effort at the moment. However, that could be different once the renovations are complete. However, the Esterházy Kastély which we visited later in the day more than made up for any initial disappointments.

      We thought that the sign was a classic case of 'lost in translation' and it did amuse us!

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  60. Hello Jane and Lance, a very good-Saturday-morning to you from here. Monasteries are the most intriguing of places, I feel, and as I was reading your post, I couldn't help but wander away to the Buddhist monasteries of our country. Have you been to one? I'm sure, you'll love it.
    How perfectly peaceful the monks' cottages look and I can only imagine the calm the enshrouding woodland must reverberate.

    PS. 'Olga from Volga' certainly kick-started my weekend!

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    1. No, Suman, we have never visited a Buddhist monastery but would dearly love to do so. The Camaldolese Monastery was intriguing but, surprisingly, not a place where we felt totally at ease. This we did find strange in comparison with other religious sites which we have visited in the past.

      The wooded countryside all around is very pretty and unspoilt. The Monastery is tucked into it out of sight and we really can imagine that this could once again become a delightful place of refuge away from the busy world.

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  61. The old tower with it's pink and white facade is quite pretty..but the rendered bright white cottages do seem out of place.

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    1. Yes, Carol, the contrast between the bell tower and the cottages was too stark for our liking and did create an unbalance and a somewhat disquieting feel.

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  62. Looks like a lovely place to visit on a fine day. I always enjoy visiting old churches and castles and abbeys even if there are just ruins left.

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    1. Old buildings definitely have a mystique for us too. As you say, even ruins can tell a story!

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  63. Hello Jane and Lance,
    Interesting you would say it was soulless, I was thinking how cold it looked from the interior shot. I feel your chosen word was correct. I wonder what their definition of "foreigner" is? If, as you say, monies are coming from the EU would they not consider that foreign money. Therefore, foreign money is ok, just not the people it's coming from! How very dare they :-)
    Di
    xxxx

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    1. Although we love all things here, Dianne, including, of course, the people, there are times when we become aware that the Hungarian approach to foreigners is not always as welcoming as it could be and that there still persists within the culture a mistrust of people who come in from outside. But slowly the barriers are being broken down.

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  64. I found this post so fascinating that I did further research on Majk and Oroszlány. It is remarkable how remoteness (then) saved so many of these treasures from being ravaged by invaders, politicians and town-planners, though not from time.

    I get the sense from your ending that unsympathetic restoration (plus easy availability in our times) is taking its toll on what was once a true sanctuary, lost in time.

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    1. You are absolutely correct, Joanna, that the remoteness of the Monastery at Majk did save it from wanton pillage. Indeed, we suspect that when occupied by foreign forces there may well have been a degree of superstition about the wholesale destruction of a religious site.

      The evidence of restoration to date leaves one rather cold for its lack of sensitivity.

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  65. It sounds delightful. And what a beautiful deep blue sky!

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    1. It was a lovely and interesting day out made even more enjoyable on account of the wonderful September weather.

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  66. I can almost picture the monks coming out of their cottages when the bell tower summoned them to prayer. Beautiful blue skies in those shots. We have rain today.

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    1. We too think that it must have been wonderful in the days of the monks - so solitary and very peaceful.

      Another glorious autumn day here - bad luck about the rain!

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  67. Hello, Jane and Lance,

    I can't recall ever seeing a monastery where each monk had a separate cottage (which is the only way I'd join!), and yet the views you've shown reveal that even in that ammenity there was a rather austere arrangement. I would have liked to have designed the cabins in a circle!

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    1. We rather think that the arrangement of the separate monks' cottages is unique since we too have never heard or seen of such an example anywhere else. Perhaps a circle grouping would have encouraged interaction....and that would never have done!!

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    2. You're right, of course! What was I thinking?!

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    3. But it would have been such fun occasionally to break the rules!

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  68. You are the chosen ones, Sookie has spoken! Stop by and look :-)
    Di
    xxxx

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    1. Yippee!!! We are dancing a happy dance!!! We shall be in touch in the 'real' world soon.Thank you soooooo much!

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  69. It looks to be a beautiful place, but such strange discrimination made me smile!

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    1. The setting is wonderful but somehow the overall feeling is rather lacking in spirit. So strange for a religious site.

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  70. You had me from the first words - picnic, blue sky and polished car. Our guide on such adventures is Sheila, of the Australian accent. We keep her on because we love to hear the frustration in her voice as she despairs of our unwillingness to follow her directions and cries 'Recalculating!'
    Now to the monastery - such a beautiful history. One hopes that EU money and a desire to restore will not wipe out what was saved by the remoteness of the location.

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    1. Sheila sounds as if she is a woman who is to be obeyed. What adventurers you are that you dare to stray from the straight and narrow path which Sheila indicates to you!

      Yes, our hope too is that EU money will restore this significant place to a standard fitting its illustrious past.

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  71. Our sat nav is named Gladys, Jane and Lance, as she sounds very nannyish, as she gives us directions, especially when we ignore them. :-)

    Having a deep and longstanding passion for ecclesiastical and monastic architecture and history, I found this post truly fascinating. I have of course heard of the Camaldoli, but this is the first time I've seen pictures of one of their monasteries. Their way of life and buildings bear a strong resemblance to those of the Carthusians, though this foundation is much smaller than the Charterhouse at Parkminster.

    I do agree with you that the restoration seems bland and soulless. I noticed this with some of the religious buildings in Prague, which had been thoroughly restored but which are no longer used for their original purpose, so that the spirit has departed. Sometimes ruins can be so much more evocative.

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    1. We laughed at the thought of 'Gladys'and could well imagine her leading one up the garden path!!!

      The Camaldoli are a most fascinating order we think and should now like to visit the Monastery at Krakóv which is still functioning. As you say, when the buildings are no longer used for their original purpose, the spirit of the place seems to disappear. We totally agree that ruins in the case of religious buildings can be far more moving.

      We have scant knowledge of the Carthusians but as we have now been pointed in their direction by a few of our readers we are now most interested to find out more.

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  72. loving the idea of a community of hermits.

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    1. In a hectic world, it certainly has an appeal!

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  73. Still a lovely and very interesting place...another it seems for the National Trust to get involved with, if only they would go abroad once in a while. Such a pretty day though...I hope Olga was able to enjoy it as well.
    xo J~

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    1. Fortunately, Jessica, the Hungarian National Trust is involved with the Camaldolese Monastery and, with the assistance of EU funds, is overseeing a major restoration project there. We hope to make a future visit and witness the developments.

      It was a glorious day!

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  74. Hello Jane and Lance,
    Bluer than blue and whiter than white. I shall be keeping this comment refreshingly short. I could but echo the other comments. So, quite simply, thank you for another delightful visit into your fascinating and cultural life. I wonder if they would make an exception and allow a foreign and oh so famous Jack Russell dog to enter the construction area.
    I bid thee good day.
    Gary

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    1. Could they stop such an intrepid trespasser? Unfortunately, there were far too many construction workers about on the day of our visit otherwise we should all have been tempted to 'slip under the wire'!!!!

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  75. Dear Jane and Lance,
    What a nice tour on a picture-perfect day! The blue, blue sky is so impressive. Coat of arms affixed to the gable end of each cottage reminded me of Japanese “kamon”, heritage emblems used to identify a family. It is mostly made up of floral or bird patterns and is attached to the formal kimono (Japanese garments) and to the wall above entrance door. After Meiji Restoration (1868), not only those who are entitled to have but also many people came to have “kamon”. You’d think it interesting that there is a “kamon” which people without “kamon” can use because it is thought to be courteous to wear formal kimono with "kamon" on a special occasion.

    I can relate to how you felt to hear the piped music from the bell tower. While a priest of the temple rings a bell at most temples, some sound of a temple bell is recorded sound and is emitted automatically, which is not atmospheric at all.

    Yoko

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    1. The 'kamon' sounds to be a very similar device to a coat of arms in the way that they represent a certain family and how each of the parts of the 'kamon' have a particular significance. Thank you, Yoko, for explaining all of this as it is all very interesting.

      Yes, we can well see the parallels between the piped music and the recorded bell. Perhaps it is not just the sound but also the fact that it has no reference to the human hand that makes it soulless?

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  76. HHHMMMmmm... maybe no one else wanted the unlucky #13 - so they didn't mind letting it out, perhaps to a 'foreigner'?? It's interesting you describe it as 'soulless' - one would assume that's the opposite of the impression they were trying to create!!

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    1. We never thought about the unlucky thirteen! Still, we believe that the grandmother lived to a ripe old age, so perhaps not so unlucky after all!

      As the site is now used as a retreat, we agree that a place of spirituality and soulfulness would be exactly what one might wish to create. In our eyes at least, this has not been entirely successful.

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  77. Dear Jane and Lance,
    so beautiful photographs, and I just imagined the sandals of the monks shuffling over old stones a long time ago, hearing even a faint sound of Gregorian Chorals - and then came your anti-climax: "we escape".
    How come? What did they change? Destroy? Do they follow only the "labora" now and forget the "ora"? Must be - as you use the word "soulless".

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    1. Yes, Brigitta, there is all the promise of a wonderfully spiritual place but, sadly, it did not work for us. Perhaps the rather brash renovations of the cottages did not help. Interestingly, we found it easier to recreate in our minds the atmosphere of the Monastery as it might have been from old photographs rather than from the actual buildings. Quite the reverse of what we are used to.

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  78. If walls could talk! That partial one surely would have some tales.
    I like the sound of your vehicle and the skies that day!

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    1. Indeed!

      The vehicle belongs to our friends and is a very splendid new one of which they are rightly proud. When they very kindly drive us anywhere it always looks as sparkling a a new pin!

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  79. what a divine blue-sky day........looks fascinating.....could be worse, could be holiday lets!!

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    1. Well, funny you should mention holiday lets.......The cottages can be rented out for retreats!!

      The day was indeed most beautiful!

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  80. I wonder why we find monasteries so fascinating. I've done my share of scrambling over the ruins of many English ones and enjoyed imagining the monks using the 'night stairs' etc, but also there seems to be a sense of abiding peace which clings like an aura to these places. Here in Lanzarote there are many 'hermitages' and they seem to pervade that same feeling of calm. This looks like an interesting one even if the notices were unwelcoming!

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    1. That is a good question, Marilyn. Perhaps it is imagining lives being led in such different ways from our own that captivates the imagination? Whatever, they never fail to interest or intrigue we find.

      We are fascinated to learn of hermitages in Lanzarote and in such numbers. We shall have to investigate this further for ourselves. Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention.

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  81. My dear Jane and Lance,

    Thank you so much for a delightful tour of the mysterious Camaldolese Monastery. Not very far away from where I live, there is a place called Pluscarden Abbey (it's a Benedictine monastery dating from 1230 AD near Inverness, still use as a monastery as its original purpose). I visited there a couple of years ago.

    It's so peaceful and heavenly to be there even for a few hours (to escape from the frantic pace of city life). When I was there, I heard the most soaring, full-thorated Gregorian chants pouring out from the chapel and the sound of the bells filling in the dark corridors. One of the most mystical experiences in my life. Every since I read the writer, Patrick Leigh Fermor's experience of his short stay at Fontenelle Abbey in the book called "A Time To Keep Silence", I've always been fascinated by the monasteries.

    I hope you enjoyed your picnic outing. One thing that I've always worried is how the architects could get away building something so blend and uninspiring ("soulless", as you put it) near the old and time-honoured classical building. Perhaps, I'm old-fashioned but I cringe everytime I saw the way some of the old buildings (including a lot of national trust properties) have been updated so that they all look the same. I would rather like to look at the peeling original frescos on the walls or faded old wallpapers.

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    1. We have never heard of Pluscarden Abbey but it does sound to be a most wonderful place. And, coupled with the Gregorian chanting, how could one not have been entranced and transported into a higher plane. We are sure that we should have loved it all too.

      We very much like the writings of Patrick Leigh Fermor and friends of ours were neighbours of his when they lived in Greece. They used to see each other reasonably frequently and tell us of the marvellous capacity he had to tell stories of his travels.

      Unsympathetic restoration is indeed the bane of the modern world but, we have to say, on the other hand, there are so many wonderfully inspiring modern buildings and fine renovations that we also admire.Like you, peeling plaster, ruins, falling stucco and the odd bit of mould we actually rather like. More of this in our next post on the Esterházy Kastély which we saw on the same day. Now that you would have loved.....we know!!!

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  82. You have another convert here eager to visit Hungary!
    A wonderful site indeed.
    I feel a grand tour of Eastern Europe and Germany coming on.
    My husband's family came from Bohemia many moons ago and my birth mother from Breslau (now Wroclaw). Also need to visit Berlin.

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    1. Elizabeth, how splendid to embark on a Grand Tour of Europe, particularly visiting those countries which make up the east for they contain so very many lesser known delights and, for you and your husband, associations.

      And for our part we need, desperately, to consider the New World!!

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  83. Hello dear Jane and Lance!
    What a lovely outing you had...your descriptions and photos truly relay the peaceful quality of the monastery..I can almost hear the birds and breeze in the trees...(hopefully there was a nice breeze!)
    I wonder if the "foreigners" sign was simply translated incorrectly? Outsiders perhaps :) Your caption made me giggle...

    I thank you so much for visiting me and sharing in my new cooking adventure...your kind words are very appreciated!
    This was a fun challenge because I do not consider myself a good cook by any means...perhaps these cooking challenges may help with that :)!
    It did feel as if I was sharing a virtual meal with dear blog friends...
    Wishing you a most wonderful week!
    Much love,
    - Irina

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    1. The Monastery was, of course, well hidden from any major settlements, Irina, so did have about it a very peaceful atmosphere and the setting, with a lake, which we think was formerly a carp pool for the monks, was very attractive and unspoilt.

      We were somewhat mystified, and amused, by the sign which was, we are sure, a poor translation. But why there was a need to put up anything in English we have no idea as the place is hardly overrun with foreign visitors.

      Your cookery 'challenge' we think to be a wonderful idea and we were, and will continue to be, most interested. You have an excellent guiding hand and your soup really did look to be just as in France.

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  84. Dear Jane and Lance,
    As I sit at my desk, it's Sunday morning, Gregorian chants courtesy of satellite radio echo through my sunroom, and I'm transported to an exquisite Monastery and garden.... delightful. Thank you!

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    1. Oh how wonderful your Sunday morning sounds to be, Erika. If only Gregorian chants had been in the air instead of piped music, then the ambiance at the Monastery would have been quite different!

      Thank you so much for signing up as our latest follower. We were delighted to make your acquaintance through Mark's wonderful blog and look forward to your future posts.

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  85. Stunning photos, but where are all the people? It seems rather deserted. The blue sky makes me think of Arizona. Love Olga from the Volga! A friend's husband always buys Renaults. When he got the first model with GPS, she told me he was disappointed it wasn't a woman with a sexy French accent. I told this to a work colleague/friend, a French woman, when I noticed her GPS was a woman's voice. She said it came with a man's voice, but she had trouble having a man tell here what to do, so she figured out how to change it! I don't know which story amused me more!

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    1. It was deserted of visitors, just four more other people than ourselves,but the construction site was a hive of activity.We hope to see the results of their labours on a subsequent visit.

      There do seem to be a whole United Nations of voices on these various GPS systems and choosing one is, we now realise, significant if one is to obey and not question when following!!!

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  86. I enjoyed this photo journey to the monastery and am glad much of it survives. I believe you said only the bell tower remains of the original church; that is sad to contemplate. I recently read how many monasteries in England were torn down in the time of Henry VIII, and horrible to think but many priceless books were burned! Can you tell I am a librarian?
    I am glad you persevered to find the monastery way out in the countryside.

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    1. Yes, you are absolutely correct that only the tower of the church remains which is, as you say, a great pity. Many of the original fittings, altars, etc., are said to have been moved to other churches throughout Hungary but the evidence for this is scanty.

      The thought of destroying any books we find quite shocking, as indeed you most certainly must.

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  87. Just sight of that sky is uplifting after the rain we've endured here. And the mellow colours of the monastery are offset beautifully by it. But piped music instead of real bells? Eugh! Surely better to settle for birdsong or silence.

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    1. We have, Annie, had the most glorious summer and September proved to be a beautiful month with warm sunshine and blue skies, so very different from the dreadful weather of Britain these last few months.

      We too could not understand the thinking behind the very obviously piped music.

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  88. I am still laughing over Olga from the Volga and think that I need to find Cherie de Paris although the sound of that is almost tawdry by comparison.

    Your photos are lovely beginning with the entrance, but it is painful to think that the soul and character of this monastery is being "ruined" (pun intended) by misguided restoration. I will take the shabbiness of the monastery in its current state to a sacred place made clean of its spirit. The piped music may be an indication of what is to come.

    Awaiting your next discoveries and I tune in much like I would to a weekly radio program.

    Bises,
    Genie



    The piped

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    1. Indeed, you must of course equip yourself with a Cherie de Paris although, on reflection, we suspect that you know that city rather well and then there are, if needs be, old fashioned street maps should you find yourself lost.

      The unsympathetic restoration is a great sadness, something which we see all too often throughout Hungary where the balance between necessary, essential work, carried out with care, and wholesale renewal after a fashion, is an ever widening gap and in danger of being lost altogether.

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  89. Hi Jane and Lance,

    What a fascinating monastery! And the story behind it, too... I love the bell tower and can imagine the beautiful chime the bells would make. Magical. It makes me realise that our "old" buildings are not really that old at all.

    Thank you for visiting my blog and for your kind comments.

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    1. The Monastery and its history we found absolutely fascinating, Tammy. What was such a disappointment was the lack of any real atmosphere about the place. We can well imagine that the original bells in the bell tower would have made a wonderful sound over the surrounding countryside but the recorded tunes which were in place of them did not, in our view, add anything at all.

      We are so pleased to have found your most interesting blog and look forward to many happy returns!

      Delete
  90. HOW ON EARTH, did I miss this post? I have you on my blog roll but some how, this did not show up!!!!

    I am captivated by YOUR world Jane and Lance! I have been to Europe once, and spent 3 months in France and Italy, but that is simply not enough time to learn all that I wish. This is a magnificent post filled with structures that speak centuries of living....

    AND THANK YOU for coming to visit my poetic post, sharing what I am learning as an artist....struggles indeed, victories, I HOPE, to follow.

    BE WELL! Anita

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    1. We must have slipped under the Blogger radar, Anita!!! However, we are delighted that you have arrived, even if our post did not!!

      Europe is, in our view too, a continent full of riches which one lifetime is insufficient to experience. However, what is wonderful to know is that there are always new treasures to be discovered and one can see so much vicariously through the blogs of others.

      We do indeed need to cherish the artists of the world, including yourself, Anita, since it is through such talented individuals that we learn more about the world and ourselves. This all serves to fuel the soul!

      Delete
  91. Piped music is never a good sound in such places... it always seems to destroy atmosphere. I wonder why they chose it?
    Sx

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    1. We have the awful feeling that the piped music probably just is and nobody can now remember why or when it happened!!! You are absolutely right that it serves to destroy the very atmosphere that, presumably, the intention was that it should create!!!

      Delete
  92. It strikes me as incredibly insensitive for the Hapsburgs to dissolve a monkish order, simply to make the complex into an Esterházy residence. I cannot even imagine what the Esterházy family could do with a fine church, impressive cloisters, a professional library, a generous refectory and seventeen monks' cottages!!

    No wonder there is a sad, soulless feeling now.

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    1. Quite so, dearest Helen! However, the Esterházys seem to have been able to find uses for a number of mansions, castles and, yes, a monastery in their time. It does make one's head spin with the thought of it all.

      And then, in the late 1950s the whole monastery complex was nationalised by the Communist government. It is, therefore, amazing that anything at all remains of the original monastery buildings. But, somehow it has survived.......in part!!!

      Delete
  93. This and the last post will be my first stops on my tardy answer/comment list---I FEEL remiss, but just scamper around after to-do and gotta tend to. We've been doing a bit of battening and clearing-out and readying for the COLD to come.

    (I got my asked for Power Washer for my Big Bad Birthdy last month).

    I SO look forward to your posts, and will be back soon to enjoy and answer. Moire non,

    rachel

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    1. Dearest Rachel it sounds as if you have got your hands full with the power washer [whatever that may be]to be concerned about leaving comments on blogs. There is no such time with us for being late to the party....we welcome people at any hour of the day or night!!!!

      See you soon. We hope that your week has started well!!

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  94. love your blog..love all the pictures!

    following you..hope you'll do the same :)
    Maybe you have time to view my new post!

    Don't forget to join my Miracas giveaway!
    Love
    Surabhi :)

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment. We have visited your blog and returned the compliment of following. We wish you well in your target for 250 followers!!

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  95. Dear Jane and Lance
    Your pirouettes around Eastern Europe are a true wonderment - blue sky, monastery, peaceful thoughts. I am practically meditating in my sewing room even now!
    Your lives and travels are simply enchanting (are you quite sure you are not from a different time?)
    Best wishes
    Jenny

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    1. There are many days, Jenny, when we do believe that we rightly belong in a different century. Indeed, one glance around our apartment and you would be convinced!!

      We love the idea of 'pirouetting' around Europe and shall think of that phrase whenever we are on our travels. We are never, however, to be found in a sewing room as we have not yet mastered the art of threading a needle!!

      Thank you so much for your kind and generous comment. We have been touched by your words.

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  96. Hi Jane and Lance,

    Your descriptions are always so lively that I can see the two of you sitting in the car with the voice of Olga in the background. You chose a beautiful day for your outing. The monastery looks a bit desolate. It has a beautiful statue in front of it though and the interior of the chapel looks sweet too.

    Wish you a lovely new week!

    Love,

    Madelief x

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    1. If we had been there with you, dearest Madelief, we can easily see that we should be fighting between ourselves about who should bring the statue home!!!It was one of the best things about the Monastery which otherwise, as you rightly say, was somewhat desolate.

      The day, however, was glorious and there were other adventures to be had. More of this in our next post.

      Hoping that your week is going well!

      Delete

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