A beautiful mistake

By Emilee Hines Cantieri
This item appears on page 18 of the January 2021 issue.

While on a multicountry tour in 2014, our group was staying at a hotel in Budapest. It was a Sunday morning, and since my husband, Jerry Liedl, and I had some free time, our guide said we might want to visit St. Stephen’s Basilica.

She gave us directions, and the two of us set off, but after a few blocks, our way was barricaded for what we later discovered was a marathon run. We turned aside but confronted several other blocked streets. Finally, we saw in the distance a red dome with a cross on top.

“That must be the basilica,” we thought, so we headed in that direction.

Soon we crossed a street to a busy courtyard around a building that had not only one cross but three. We sat on a stone bench and watched people walking back and forth, but few seemed to be going inside the building. This was Palm Sunday, a day when churches are usually teeming with worshipers.

We finally realized that we were not looking at the basilica. It was the Hungarian Parliament Building, one of the most beautiful structures in Europe.

Back with the group that evening, our riverboat moved slowly past the parliament building, which was dazzling with lights — a sight that will always be in my memory as one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

Hendersonville, NC