Today was a UN holiday. That translates to, Tony and I had a day to play while Anna Grace was in school.  So play we did, with a short and sweet day trip across the border to Köszeg, Hungary. 
First, another border crossing photo set for my collection. The Köszeg/Rattersdorf frontier had all the dreariness of a former Cold War border that I have come to love. 
Köszeg charmed us. The architecture, the streets, the colors, the sights, the history, and the food (naturally)!  In the Fö ter (Main Square) stands the Sacred Heart Church.
The honor system for plants, chestnuts, fruits–you name it–was sprinkled around the town.

Köszeg had a lead role in the garrison county of Vas and was the only free royal town in the Kingdom of Hungary, dating back to the 13th century. Remarkably much of the town walls and gates still remain.

In the 17th century a school was founded and named for Jurisics Miklos, who defeated the Turks at their third invasion attempt in the 1500’s. This beautiful Gymnasium is no longer in use; the school is now an internationally-acclaimed IB boarding school tucked into the forest and mountains around the city.

 This Köszeg wine tavern is built into 14th century medieval walls.

 More beautiful architecture…

 A memorial to those who lost their lives in the Great War.

The Communist era farmer’s market, a little quiet on our visit but still picturesque.

On our way to lunch we came upon this pretty boutique, whose owner was closing shop for the mittagspause. I stopped to peek into the storefront windows when she offered to open the store for me. I was delighted!

With sincere appreciation for her generosity in re-opening the store, I am now the happy, happy owner of hand painted goulash bowls. In doing a little research this afternoon, I discovered that Korond ceramics are unique to the Hungarians who settled in Transylvania when Romania was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. With each day trip we take, I am ever awed by how culturally intertwined the peoples of Central Europe are.
At lunch I surprised even myself and ordered Zander(!), but with a slight paprika crust. Delicious.

Leaving the town afterwards we stopped to view the old synagogue, which seems to be in the throes of restoration. Köszeg’s Jewish population was rounded up in late 1944 and placed in the town’s labor camp. With the impending arrival of the Red Army in 1945, the camp’s survivors were forced into a 300km death march to Ebensee, Austria, a sub camp of Mauthausen and among the most brutal of the Nazi concentration camps. We expect there will be points of quiet humility along our travels in these parts, and the sights are always difficult to view.

So much history, so little time. Yet, so glad to have visited Hungary’s “Jewel Box.”