Saturday, July 3, 1993

1993 Hungary: Farm Country (7/3/1993)

Saturday, July 3, 1993
Kent and I left just after 9:00 to go shopping, leaving Brynne still asleep. We took the tram to what I thought was the Pesti Vigadó, but it was the Gresham-palota/Gresham Palace, home of an English insurance company, named for the financier Sir Thomas Gresham who founded the Royal [Stock] Exchange in London. We walked down to the Vigadó, a concert hall and ballroom started in 1858 that took seven years to build. Its façade was very ornamented in Art Nouveau style. Walked behind it to the large Vörösmarty tér with a statue of poet Mihály Vörösmarty, carved in Carrara marble. The pedestal supposedly contains a coin left by a beggar beneath the inscription. We went to the Swiss Emile Gerbeaud Confectionary (here since 1870), but it was closed. Walked down the pedestrian street of Váci utca, and unknowingly passed the corner of Türr István utca with a white line in the pavement marking the site of a medieval wall, pulled down in 1789.
Váci utca/street, a pedestrian street
We missed seeing the art nouveau decoration at #9, the Philanthia Flower Shop (under renovation?). Passed the Taverna Grill, fast food opened in 1985 that was a teenage hangout until McDonald’s moved in nearby. We saw the Antikvárium, a second-hand bookshop with an owl sign. Plans for this building were done by the architect of Parliament, and a bookstore has been here for over 100 years, since 1877. Philosopher György Lukács visited the shop daily in his last years. We went into a folk art shop to browse, along with some other shops, and picked up a few souvenirs. We took a tram back to the Ls’ apartment and readied to leave for the Puszta/Plains. Tom was off today, and we left at 11:30, driving out of Budapest on Rte-50. Saw a MAN company just before leaving the city limits. Also commuter trains. Then we were in flat countryside with aspens/poplars in large bunches, apple orchards, fields, vineyards, sunflower fields. There were isolated farm sites. Lots of agriculture and horse-breeding in this area. At Kilometer Marker 63 we took the next right, which turned into a dirt road. At the end to the left was a stable where they have shows of horsemanship. Saw a tour bus leaving followed by a csikós/horseman wearing traditional flowing dark blue garb. It was very dry, and suddenly the wind whipped up the sand around us, and as suddenly it died. We walked over to a well-kept grassy area that had carved wooden poles, carved benches, an old well, and whitewashed buildings with thatched roofs. Stopped at the restaurant where they spoke only German. We thought the show was at 12:30, but apparently today, or whenever there is a tour bus, it is at 11:00! So we missed the show, but we wandered around to see Hungarian cattle, donkeys, sheep, and lots of horses, including a stable full. We left to drive a bit farther south to Tanyacsárda, a farmhouse restaurant to have lunch. We were seated outside under a tree. Beers, mineral water, and Brynne brought juice. Kent ordered soup with liver dumplings and the rest of us had goulash, but this time the goulash was not a soup. Our entrées were accompanied by a sweet shredded pink/red cabbage. I had goulash as my entrée, Brynne had fried catfish and parsley potatoes, Kent had goose liver, Tom had Fogash, and Dot had mushrooms. We had some gypsy musicians, but they left to greet a wedding party, so we still heard much of the music. Kent managed to grab the lunch bill, leaving 3,000 Forints. We went to a museum of whitewashed thatched buildings of a typical tanya/farm that developed in the 16-17C. Horseherd is csikós and cowherd is gulyás. (Goulash was a traditional stew prepared by herdsmen, so the name comes from gulyás.) The horsemanship shows include the betyar/highwayman. We paid 30 Forints/adult to peek into the buildings; one a home with beds covered by a pile of several featherbeds, also wooden shoes, etc. There were farm tools next to the barn, a stable, and a wooden wagon. Huge mulberry trees in the compound.
Tanyacsárda Farm with a székely/carved wooden pole
Crane well
Magyar Szürke/Hungarian Gray Cattle
Thatched roof
Horses and a crane well
Horses, Brynne and Kent
Brynne and Kent
Swallow nests
Thatched roof and broom
Wine press and vineyard
Returned to the car and headed south to find a road to the right through the plains that would take us to Rte-50, then right again to head home, arriving about 17:00. Kent took Brynne to the playground, and I caught up on the journal. The Ls went out for the evening, so we had ham sandwiches and Brynne had ham and cold kohlrabi for a light dinner. We have been looking through the many photo albums of the Ls.
Next: Lake Balaton.

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