Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Adventures in Eger-land

Eger: A fairytale setting.

My friend Christie came for an overnight visit so that the three of us could go explore another town in Hungary. Around noon we set off for a town called Eger that is roughly an hour and fifteen minutes away from Szerencs. The train ride there was an adventure, with a change of trains in some unprouncable town in the middle of nowhere. Here is the snazzy conductor who helped us find the right train. Don't you just love his cap?!

When we arrived in Eger we hopped on a bus that took us toward the Centrum. Nearly every town in Hungary has one of these, and it simply refers to the city center, which is usually also the downtown. This is the site that greeted us as we stepped off the bus (see photo #2). Fall trees and a beautiful building in the background.

We headed toward the buildings and stopped to snap a few photos before descending down a steep flight of stairs in front of the building in photo #3. At the bottom there was a door built into the side of the hill and a sign advertising tours of the underground wine catacombs. Of course we had to go!

It was about a 30 minute tour spoken only in Hungarian of underground tunnels that were creepy enough to film Saw VI in. The walls were all wet and in some areas little bridges had been built to keep our feet out of the mud and standing water. The guide gave us a printed sheet in English that explained everything we were being shown.

After emerging from the chilly wine tunnels it was time to head down the cobblestone streets of Eger in search of some Forros Must, (proncounced: fourosh moosht), which is a mulled hot rose wine. It smelled divine and tasted like a mixture of nail polish remover and robitussin. NOT delicious. At least it warmed our hands!

Next we hoofed it up the hills of Eger to view the castle. This was one of the prettiest castles I have seen so far in Hungary. They are all preserved so well. This one was especially interesting because they had people dressed in costume roaming the grounds brandishing weapons and playing instruments. The costumed wanderers were kind enough to pose with us in pictures and even let Christie blow on their horn. It was very Narnia.

For dinner we went to a Hungarian restaurant that had finnom ennivalo (delicious food!) We ordered baked brie with cranberry garnish, greek salad, lamb goulash, baked eggplant with spicy mushrooms and peach chicken. It was quite delicious!

On the train back to Szerencs we had a random man with a flashlight help us find our way in the schedule. People are so happy to help! On our second train we made friends with a cute Hungarian guy named Janos (Jannie for short "Yannie"). He is also an English teacher and he lives in the same town as Christie. Now we have a new buddy!

The next day it was pumpkin carving time. We walked into town and visited all of the grocery stores to try to find a pumpkin (turk in Hungarian). Not a single pumpkin was to be found. Then the little neighbor girl that we had with us told us that her grandfather has pumpkins and he would give us one. Her grandfather lives right next door and his menagerie of animals wakes us every morning. Goats, roosters, chickens, rabbits, dogs and cats. Oh my!

So we went to the "farm" and selected a pumpkin. Perfect size, perfect shape, perfect color....gray? Yes. Not a single orange pumpkin in the plot. Instead it was a ghostly gray color unlike anything I have seen before. Odd.

At home I selected our longest dull knife (our knives are so dull they might as well be spoons) and went to work hacking away at the pumpkin. It turned out soooo cute! We put a candle in it and put it in the bathroom with the light off so that we could see how well it glowed. Adorable!

After that it was time for Christie to head back to her own town. Great trip

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