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To wander is to be alive.
― Roman Payne

Travel gives one a chance to look at life from a different perspective. Since I view the world through “adoption colored glasses,” I think of what I see and do as a way to escape my adoption conundrums, a means of moving beyond the lens of my own existence. A recent Viking River cruise to five countries—Hungary, Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania—truly expanded my horizons.

The trip was full of castles, fortresses, history, beautiful landscape and cultural wonders. That said, the small gem-like experiences are what I most cherish. One such gem occurred on the third day of our 10-day journey. We were in Kalocsa, Hungary. A short drive from town took us to the Bakodpuszta Equestrian Center.

Surrounded by many acres of farmland, the horse center is part of a working farm. Residents of the Hungarian Pustza (roughly translated, this means “grassland” or IMG_0086“treeless flat place.” ) IMG_0083love their horses and cherish the tradition of horsemanship. For centuries, people in this region have relied on the elegant Hungarian Warmblood breed for transportation, settlement and defending their land.

The morning was cool and overcast. Our group of twenty travelers were welcomed with shot glasses of rakia and slices of bread with pig drippings and paprika.  Thus fortified, we climbed into the bleachers that faced an oval-shaped dirt field. At one end, an oboe player serenaded us with mournful ballads. In seconds, the horses and their riders appeared, galloping around the ring. Adding to the going-back-in-time feeling, the riders were decked out in baggy royal blue trousers, capes and gallant black hats. Definitely made us feel at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. It was thrilling, heartwarming. Beauty in motion. The following photos are just a few of the highlights…

The show took me back to my 12-year-old self when I drew horses, wanted to own IMG_0118 (1)one, and was literally in love with horses. Just about everything, I’ve learned, can be part of adoption recovery. Or maybe it’s just that I’ve “recovered” enough to stop “recovering” and start living. Whatever the case, I’m grateful for that special morning.
To learn more about Hungarian horsemanship, check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVWWtOrYrDY

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Join Elaine on Mondays for reflections on adoption and life. Please comment and share your own transformative.journeys.

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