To Andy and Karen Lee's in Warsaw, Poland!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Warsaw, Poland
We have much of the day free in Budapest before our 5:55 PM flight to Warsaw. The morning is beautiful, warmer than it's been and sunny. With the Scharpen's we set out on a walk that would takes us to the Chain Bridge across the Danube to the Buda part of Budapest. The view of the citadel was magnificent-it included buildings of the Office of the President and other government buildings. As we walked across the the Danube River we saw that it was filled with ice flows. We took the funicular car up to the hill. We had walked about two miles and were looking for something to eat and coffee and found a coffee house at the top. Then we walked around the citadel some more and then down to the Danube River bank and back across a southern suspension bridge to Pest. From there to the National Museum.
I have travelled to and through Budapest at least 20 times in my comings and going to the former Soviet Republics and had never been here before. It was fascinating. I'm glad that Jan Karlik recommended it. Bev and I only had one hour and this museum will be a MUST the next time we pass through. The most interesting part of the museum was the Historical Section that had rooms marked off in 100-year periods. What was most interesting was the geopolitical geography of the Hungarian Empire that expanded and contracted over the centuries. At its height it was united with the Austrian Empire just before World War I. It was interesting to see from the various maps how the area of Khust where we work was part of Hungary, Czechoslovakia and other governments. The Hungarians had several wars with the Turks and Ottoman Empires. It's all continually repeating story of power, taxation, control and centralizing rule over people.  
We finally had to leave the museuem to get to the airport and on to Warsaw. We parted with the Scharpens and look forward to meeting again! They have really been a joy to be with.
Bev and I walked back to the hotel and to the airport. We checked in in plenty of time. We were told that there was a baggage handlers strike and that there may be some delays. We checked in but were told that we'd have to walk over to another terminal, go through transit and back to first terminal. Easy enough. But, when we were about to board we were told that one of our pieces of baggage was "suspicious" and needed to be examined by the police. What in the world did we do? Bev and I were taken to a room where another passenger on his way to Vienna was also detained.
OK, it was our suit bag. It took a while for the police to arrive. The flight is to leave in ten minutes. The baggage person is taking his time. The policeman couldn't care less. What is so suspicious in our suit bag? They look through it. I did have a few books on the outside and a box with 5000 labels for our mailings of the Good News and other literature from Estonia next week. They take their sweet old time looking at this contraband. We're cleared. We realize that this is part of the baggage handler's strike strategy. Detain random passengers and hold up flights. We are then slowly led back to our flight and Bev and I the last to board the Hungarian plane for Warsaw, Poland.
On the other end Karen Lee is waiting for us. It's so good to see her. This is my first time in Warsaw...a city with so much history. Karen drives us to their home where we will stay until Friday morning. We meet their children Maddie and Steven. Andy Lee comes to the house after we were here an hour and we spend an enjoyable dinner and discussion at their home. I have known the Lee family since 1966 and have the highest respect for them. Who would have thunk that we would meet in Warsaw, Poland. Andy works for Ernst and Young and had just returned from a business trip in Munich, Germany.

We are grateful to have good Internet connectivity here in Poland. In fact, for much of the rest of the trip we should be able to communicate easily.
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I can't imagine being detained in a foreign country, it must be stressful. Glad you made it to your plane. :)


Hello, Again
Bev & Vic,
Your report on Budapest brought back good memories of my walk thru the city. Say hello to the family in Latvia. I forget their names. Tell them Ken and Cherie send their greetings and enjoyed our time with them in Schluchsee.


Re: Hello, Again