We met Elders Mason and Paas while there and had a delightful lunch with them. We enjoyed serving with Elder Mason in Pécs a few months ago. Elder Paas is from Estonia. He is the only member of his family in the Church and is a very dedicated missionary. Norm and the Elders are standing in front of a Trinity Column. Every city of any consequence in Hungary has a Trinity Column to commemorate the deliverance from a plague during medieval times. This one is very grand and imposing.
After visiting the Veszprém Branch House, which is a very lovely spacious building, we drove to Tihany on the Balaton Lake. This is the famous Abbey of Tihany. The original abbey was built in 1055 by King Andrew I for the Benedictine monks. It is situated on a peninsula that juts out into the beautiful blue water of the lake. The Abbey has important historical significance in Hungary. The deed of the foundation of the abbey contains the first written record of the Hungarian language. The Abbey was also the last refuge of the last king of Hungary, King Károly IV. He and his wife Queen Zita retreated here after their second attempt to regain the throne in 1921. They were under house arrest here for a month or so and finally exiled to England. The room they stayed in is furnished in the period and gives the account of their time there.
All that remains of the original Gothic structure is the crypt containing the tomb of King Andrew. The columns are large and rough hewn and a small window gives some light. The original building survived the Turkish invasion only to be blown up in the early eighteenth century by order of the Hapsburg Emperor -- such a shame! We were able to see some of the old relics on display including this one holding the hat! The Benedictine monks are back in the monastery now. While we were there the bells rang calling them to their prayers and we had the pleasure of hearing them sing their very old chants. There was also a fascinating display of photography taken during the Soviet occupation that gives a wonderful pictorial account of the lives of the people of the area during that period of time. As you can tell, this excursion brought out the history buff in me and I thoroughly enjoyed our our mini vacation.