I should have written this post a while back but as I wanted to put a video clip up, and as Youtube is banned out here at the moment I kept putting it off. Anyway I’ll make do without the video; what was the video about? Well if a picture is worth a thousand words, how many words do you need to write to describe a video? Thousands I guess; anyway it was about horses.
I arrived in Hungary by train from Slovakia at a city called Miskolc, and then jumped on a train to the wine region Tokaj. When I arrived at the station it was chucking it down, and with no map and no command of Hungarian I was drenched by the time that I found the tourist office. There I found out that there was a wine festival on, sounded perfect, but it meant that most rooms were booked up over the weekend.
The tourist office was not allowed to book rooms for me, so off I wandered in the rain, and I eventually managed to get a room for the night, as no one seemed to speak English, I had to negotiate things in German, which added to the fun. Unfortunately I could only stay for one night as they were booked out for the weekend. This meant that I could not really do the things that I wanted to do.
Tokaj is famous for its wines, one a sweet desert wine, and the other just a sweet wine. Due to timing I could not get to tour the wine cellars, nor sample the fayre of the wine festival. So I can’t really say that much about the place.
I did manage to sample some of the local wine during a meal though 🙂 I had a Transylvanian platter; this is very much like a mixed grill, except using meats from the forest. It consisted of deer, duck, veal, boar, crackling and blood sausage atop a pile of chips and rice. It was good with Tokaj wine 🙂
The next day I got the train to Eger, an area famous for its red wine affectionately referred to as bulls blood. The area was attacked by the Ottomans in the 16th century, and the defenders were given lots of the local wine to keep their spirits up. This resulted in all the soldiers having wine stained beards. The Ottomans believed that the defenders drank bull’s blood to give them super strength. Anyway the name stuck for the wine. Again it rained, again I got drenched, and again I could not find more than a nights accommodation at a reasonable price. I’m not sure what I ate that night, I think it was a venison stew, I do know that it was washed down with bull’s blood 🙂
So I soldiered on to Budapest, I have been here before so it was nice to be in familiar surroundings, and in a place where I could speak English and not German. The last time I came I remember the city being really polluted, this did not seem to be the case this time and the air was a lot cleaner. I stumbled upon a music festival and spent a few beers watching Hungarian folk/blues/pop singers.
I next headed south to meet up with my friend Dora, and stayed at her parents in Kecskemet. They were very hospitable, and gave me some Palinka to start the day, guaranteed to put hair on ones chest! We went to a horse show near by, this was pretty wicked; Hungary has a tradition of Horsemanship, and some of their skills were amazing. I would put a video up but will have to make do with some pics.
Dora then showed me around Kecskemet, a very eclectic place with some fantastic art nouveau buildings.
Next day we headed down to the Hungarian University town of Szeged. We stayed with Dora’s sister and Husband. Szeged is a lot bigger than Kecskemet and has similar art nouveau architecture, though perhaps not quite as pretty. We wandered around the streets and toured the uni.
During this time I got to sample lots of fantastic home made Hungarian food so thanks to all, it was very nice. We also went to a restaurant and had a traditional fish soup, again this was good, but I think I am more of a borju and galuska man 🙂 I also learnt the correct way of eating paprika, so that you can eat them without worrying about the seeds. A great skill to have 🙂