Photographer's Note

The last three pictures I showed here were quite old, from Ireland in 1968. This is more recent, from Hungary in 1969.

This is Sopron, near the Austrian border. In those days a pretty but rather rundown city. It looks considerably nicer now, which you can see from this photo of the same place from Wikipedia.

Inthe summer of 1969 I had spent several weeks in Italy. In northern Italy I met a Swedish friend with a car and we travelled home through Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria and West Germany. We were denied visas to go through Czechoslovakia because we were students, and students were of course known trouble-makers and we made our application on the anniversary of the Warzaw pact's invasion of Czechoslovakia. Not a very good timing.

It was with some apprehension we crossed through the "Iron Curtain" into the "Eastern bloc", but we had a good time in Hungary, staying with the parents and friends of a Hungarian friend of mine living in Sweden.

The few photos I took in Budapest are too bad to be shown here, but I will show two or three pictures from the ancient city of Sopron, very close to the Austrian border, only 70 km from Vienna. We thought at the time that it was a very pretty place. Looking at my pictures now I am amazed to see it so run down, which we didn't really notice then.

The history of Sopron goes back to Roman times, when it was called Scarbantia. From around the 12th century it was known as an important Hungarian town. In more recent times it suffered bombings during WWII. In 1989 this was where the Hungarian authorities first opened the border to let East German refugees cross into Austria, which paved the way for the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Today the restored medieval and Renaissance buildings make Sopron an important tourist destination. According to Wikipedia the city also boasts of hundreds of good and cheap dental clinics which are supposed to attract patients from all over the world.

I have scanned this from an Agfacolor CT18 slide.

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Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7621 W: 422 N: 15038] (69488)
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