Subject: Re: everybody is going somewhere
Anne, Glad to hear you enjoyed your visit to Budapest. I couldn't remember when you were going and had been meaning to post an additional bit about visiting Szoborpark (Statue Park). It is an austere non-landscaped site with a collection of Communist Era statues. It is located in a suburb outside of Budapest. As Soviet hegemony declined at the end of the eighties and the various eastern European countries' communist governments fell the memorials and statues of this period were collected and for the most part destroyed. However, mainly through the efforts of a man named Akos Eleod Junior, a park was designed containing a number of Soviet-influenced statues and memorials, e.g. Lenin. I found this park really moving emotionally. Quite poignant. Perhaps it was the weather (a gray somber day that eventually had us fleeing the park under a cold pelting autumn rain) or maybe the faces of the middle-aged Hungarians who had lived their whole lives under the Communist system now finding their government pensions didn't amount to much in the new era. I'd imagine there were alot of bureaucrats that were left in the lurch when the communist government fell.

Driving from Colorado Springs to Ouray at that time will involve mountainous winter driving. This calls for patience and preparation. A 4WD vehicle with snow tires is optimum. Looking at a map I see only one major mountain pass between Colorado Springs and Ouray. That's Monarch Pass at 11312 ft. elevation on US 50. That is way up there in elevation. I do believe they keep it open throughout the winter but during storms it will be slow going and they may close it for short periods. I on the other hand come from the south on US 550 over Coal Bank Hill Pass(10640 ft.), Molas Divide(10910 ft.), and Red Mountain Pass(11,008 ft.). This highway runs through the most avalanche-prone mountains in the Rockies. Beautiful but treacherous. Your route is much less avalanche-prone, I believe.

I'd say it is well worth the effort to see this region in the winter. Absolutely spectacular! To be able to sit in the hot springs at Ouray and look out at the surrounding mountains frosted with fresh snow is quite an experience.

John Rule San Diego, CA