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broodings from the burrow

May 15, 2019

another trio of embassies
posted by soe 1:59 am

Saturday afternoon, Rudi and I headed out to take advantage of the European Union Open House and managed to fit in three embassies:


Maltese Embassy

The Maltese Embassy is nearby and opened its doors to the public. Its emphasis was on the role Malta played in 1945, when they played host to Churchill and Roosevelt as they planned the final stages of World War II, as well as on the rescue of the SS Ohio, a tanker under the British flag carrying oil to Malta for anti-Axis activities.

The Czech Republic

Czech Embassy

Next we headed uptown to the Czech Republic’s embassy, located in rolling forestland along Rock Creek Park. They were celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, which marked the end of Communism in the nation.

We went inside the chancery and got to experience augmented/virtual reality exhibits on the Communist gulags, which was very cool. We picked up some jam from a Czech baker and an English translation of Viktor Dyk’s classic folk adaptation of the story of the Pied Piper, The Ratcatcher, before heading outside so Rudi could enjoy a pilsner. We then headed up the hill to the ambassador’s grand stone residence, nestled amongst the trees.

Czech Ambassador's Residence

Czech Residence

The ambassador was busy chatting with some Czech-Americans, so we didn’t get a chance to say hello, but we did get to peer around the first floor and admire some of the treasures and artwork and old maps. Some of the most beautiful were the Bohemian crystal chandeliers and sconces, each of which was commissioned for the residence.

Czech Crystal


Unfortunately, because we were so enjoying ourselves in the Czech Republic, we did not leave ourselves enough time to get over to the Dutch embassy before the event concluded. We were feeling slightly peckish, though, and I recalled that the Hungarian embassy, which we visited in 2013, had at that time featured snacks. Since it was just across the street, we wandered over and they confirmed their event would continue on an extra half hour. So we walked out back, where they were selling a variety of Hungarian snacks, including kurtosh kalach, a type of cake cooked using a spit.

The dough is rolled thin and then wound around a wooden cylinder attached to a long handle. It’s allowed to rise for a few minutes and then is put into an oven for ten minutes or so. When it comes out, it’s rolled in cinnamon or sugar or walnuts before it’s taken off its spit. It’s then allowed to cool slightly and you can fill it with a spread.

I opted for cinnamon flavored with maple cream spread inside, while Rudi opted for plain filled with imported Nutella. Both were delicious!

Hungarian Bakers

Hungarian Treat

While we were waiting, we got to enjoy watching Hungarian folk musicians and dancers perform. This guy, in particular, was excellent! It was a great way to conclude our 2019 tour of embassies!

Hungarian Folk Dancing

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