Monday, May 01, 2006

Eger az amikkal (Eger with the Americans)

Actually, there were three Americans (myself, Chad and Mike) and one Hungarian (that would be Juli). But people were easily confused by such a multi-national group of young people, because 1) everyone thought Juli was American; 2) our landlady Zsuzsa (pictured below) thought I was Hungarian; 3) a ticket-taker thought Mike was Hungarian because he has a perfect “igen.”

So the original plan was to leave Saturday, early afternoon. Due to some serious hangovers from the night before (not me this time), we didn’t leave until quarter after 5. We made it to Eger in good time and headed to Egerszalok, to the Kohári Pincészet where the Americans stayed last February. Unfortunately, they and everywhere else in Egerszalok were full, so we headed back down the road to Demjén. We ended up at the Pap Vendégház, which was 10 times better than Kohári. For 7000 Ft each, we stayed in our own house for two nights. Two bedrooms, a bathroom and a second toilet, a small but full kitchen, big dining room, two porches (indoor and outdoor), amazing breakfast both days, wine and snacks both evenings, and wine and food for the road. I highly recommend it.

Sunday morning, we headed to Eger. After looking around the Cathedral (above), we walked up to the Castle. Our 1000 Ft all-entrance tickets turned out to not include entrance to some of the best places, like the archery or the wax museum. So we contented ourselves with walking the walls, taking lots of photos, eating gyros, visiting some of the smaller exhibitions (including the Torture Museum, gruesome) and sitting in the sun (below).

Our third and final stop in Eger was the Minaret. I like this picture (below) because Mike looks like he’s having fun and I look terrified. Hm, tastes like irony. Chad took the photo, and Juli had already abandoned us and gone back down.

After the Minaret, we were all ready to sit down and relax somewhere. What better place than Szépasszonyvölgy, the Valley of the Beautiful Women. At the beginning of the night (still afternoon), I got out my green notebook and decided that I was going to keep a list of things to blog about. Well, you can imagine how that went: as the night went on, I got drunker, the list got less understandable, the handwriting got less readable. I may have drunk-dialed or drunk-sms-ed people... sorry. Anyway, the list ended up with 14 entries, which are in italic in the paragraph after the picture.

Confronted with dozens of wine cellars, each with a number, we asked each other if we had any lucky numbers: 22, 8, 7, and 5. No dice - we were already past the single digits, and 22 was closed, sad. We settled at #20, Marci Pincéje, where we sampled some wine while being entertained by loud Brits taking photos, and a parade made up of two drunken men who hired the house band to walk behind them and play music. After following the parade a bit, we tried #14, the Kiss cellar, but it was smelly, so we left. At #31, Sándor Pincéje, we had a private performance by the house band there. After they played Jacques Offenbach’s Galop Infernal (Can-Can), Mike and I had a long discussion about Moulin Rouge; to downplay his knowledge of it, he proclaimed, “I drank myself gay.” At dinner, Juli spent a good time on the phone with her brother Csaba, during which time Chad cut up her food for her, and stole the phone to tell Csaba how we’d “had some wine, eating some food, feeding some cats...” The final entry on the list, nearly illegible, is “That guy’s due for an eclision.” I don’t really remember what this means. Maybe we almost hit a pedestrian?

I do remember the drive back to Demjén, and how we subsequently sat around our rooms watching MTV and trying to make a dent in the jug of wine we bought. Not successfully.

This morning, Monday, we all slept late and took a long time getting ready. Zsuzsa, our hostess/landlady, stopped by hourly to see if we had left yet. Shortly before noon, we made it back to Eger and visited the Lyceum, where we saw the Specula Observatory and it’s camera obscura, which is basically a series of mirrors which project a live image of Eger onto a white table in a darkened room. Trust me, it’s amazing. We also visited the Lyceum’s Library, which was equally impressive.

And that’s about it. After a brief McDonalds stop (disgusting waste of money), we were on the road home. We made it back to Szolnok in the rain about 4. And here I am. Home sweet home. Next entry: the House Wars.

ps- thanks to Mike for being our photographer this weekend. Nice job.


indiana said...

You know, there was a McDonalds in Managua, Nicaragua, and the fries were cassava, not potato, until a mandate from McDonalds corporate indicated "You may not sell hamburgers unless they are made with meat, specifically beef." The Managua outfit couln't comply and changed its name to Donald's. Okay, this is true, but the exact wording of the letter is my own embellishement.

indiana said...

Oh, yeah, when are you gonna be in the great MN and for how long? I'm 95% sure I'm summering in Mary Ann's basement again (how can I, despite quantatitve evidence of my abilities, be such a loser?), so perhaps we could rendevous. We could invite Jenny, but I have no idea when her summmer stuff is (class, field work, I got too excited about seeing her in a week and a half to care about details).

indiana said...

Ok, one more. What is an eclision? And at first i thought it said "feeling some cats" which is funnier; generally upkeep of the feline companions isn't something I consider newsworthy, then again, ask a couple of people who were unfortunate to be in my time zone last finals about the things I did think were worth calling and expressing. I'll admit, my worst by far was a metaphor in which winning at traditional computer solitaire (the kind with the four aces at the top) would mean "uncovering something"... I know, that time I don't even think my concern for my condition was 100% induced by "med/psych student syndrome"--you know reading about it and then thinking you have it.