14 August 2012

CRF: Hungary

"CRF" is not a crime show you've never heard of, it stands for "Cutting Room Floor." Below are some of our favorite pics that never made the blog. We figured we'd reminisce a little while we're home for a visit. (Back in Europe August 20th).
Kalocsa is a small town with a lot going for it. Its claims to fame are varied and fascinating. It is the "paprika capital of Hungary," was the Holy See for one of the country's four archbishops and is the birthplace of some of the most celebrated and iconic Hungarian folk art. So, in one short day trip, we visited a museum dedicated to the national spice, saw the skeleton of Saint Pious all dressed up with no where to go and marveled at the colorful Kalocsa floral patterns at the Károly Viski Museum.
The Hungarian Great Plain or "Puszta" is the land of the cowboy. We went to see the csikósok at work (and play) in a fantastically entertaining and slightly bizarre horse show in Bugac. Here, a donkey sits in the stable mentally preparing for his part in the show alongside the majestic horses. Needless to say, he was the butt of a few jokes.
Just a simple lunch at a simple roadside eatery. Eggs, potato, sausage. Of course, there was paprika involved.
Hungary is a land-locked country with plenty of water. Aside from lakes like Balaton and Baja, there are over one thousand thermal springs that feed into baths and spas, indoor and out. Above, a woman relaxes on flotation noodles in the indoor section of the bath at Lake Hévíz. People had traveled from all over Europe to soak in the curative waters of Hévíz for hours. The pungent smell of sulfur and bobbing swimming capped heads made us think of hard boiling eggs. The regular bathers were no doubt more accustomed to the smell.
Eger was a really lovely city in which we camped for days.  It was our first stop in Hungary and, our first real days of summer in 2011.  We couldn't wait to see everything come to life once again after our long, cold, Slavic winter.  Sure, spring is great, but nothing quite beats green grass, flash showers, children trading backpacks for ice cream cones, overflowing market stands.  Watermelon
A cemetery in Eger. Last names first and plenty of flowers.
We can't remember exactly where we took this picture, but it was most likely in Eger - either from the top of the northernmost Turkish minaret in the world or up in Eger Castle. 
About 20 kilometers south of Kalocsa, we turned off at Hajós. The village has the largest concentration of wine cellars in Europe, around 1300 in just a blip of a town. Out of season (we were there in late June) the pincék were all shuttered. Only the faint smell of fermented grape hinted at the bustle of activity that would once again begin in a few months.
A summer concert in Eger's park draws an excited but demure crowd.
Just a small town corner store we past on our way to the horse show in Bugac. It was a sleepy town in that familiar way, somewhere between one long stretch of flat road and another.

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