Today we bid goodbye to Kolosvar and began our journey to Okland. On the way, we stopped in Torda to see where the Edict of Torda was signed. We Unitarians are quite proud of the Edict of Torda.
We stopped in Marosvasarhely (you will note that the link uses the Romanian name, though references the Hungarian. Interestingly, 2002 was the first year in which Romanians outnumbered Hungarians in this city, though they were close in number in 1992.) In this city, we first visited the City Fortress, mentioned in the above link, then after lunch, the Palace of Culture. This, aside from being a lovely place where we heard a pianist practicing in the main hall (until his cell phone rang,) was also the site of our tour guide, Eva’s first date with her now-husband. It is also known for its Hall of Mirrors which is apparently very hard to portray on the Internet. The Hall of Mirrors does have mirrors on one side, but on the other is a series of stained glass windows that portray various fables from Hungarian history. If you click through the above link, you can see some of the stained glass, though alas, not the stars that I fell in love with. It was fun to go to the hall of mirrors, because we got to hear the recorded tour. It was a little hard to understand, but it was humorous to shuffle down the hall hearing about the various fables. This link also has some good pictures.
After the Palace of Culture we got back on the bus and arrived in Korond, which was a place to buy authentic Hungarian handcrafts. We bypassed the place we had stopped in 2005, with Eva remaking that they had started selling non-authentic items. In Korond (“I’ve been there!” Matt told me when I got home) we got to see a family of potters throw cups, as well as their workshop. I bought a few mugs with the traditional designs on them.
This is the gate leading into the courtyard. The gate is the traditional carved wooden gate. This one also sports a few decorated plates. Behind the gate is the shop and the workspace as well as, I think, the family home. Note the satellite dish next to the traditional gate.
We journeyed on to Okland, arriving in the afternoon. Okland is a Unitarian village of about 400 people. When googling around for information about the village, I found this article which is great because these are the exact same people we stayed with. There is even a picture of Eva, our guide, and Levente, her husband, the minister.
I had been feeling a bit homesick all day, this being the first time I was not in the US on the 4th of July. I may have not been the only one. Eva cleverly planned an American-style celebration and we sang patriotic songs. At one point Levente came in waving the flag. I was most astounded that they would have a US flag. We had watermelon and spit the seeds and there were even sparklers. And marshmallows. It was a great end to the day.