Kalocsa, Hungary 6/28/15

Kalocsa wood

Beware blood suckers!

One day I will remember in time that the more lush and inviting the scene, the more ravenous mosquitos it’s likely to harbor.   Fortunately the blood suckers left us alone as long as Steve and I didn’t stray from this country lane I’ve been yearning for.  A lot of the houses were small, and they all seemed old.  One building had what looked like a straw roof.  Young storks peered down from huge nests on rooftops or electrical poles.  Flowers grew in most yards, along with a variety of fruit:  raspberries grapes, apples, pears, plums, peaches, and some sort of plum-shaped fruit that seemed too big to be a plum.  There were also several mulberry trees loaded with heavenly berries.  The road ended at what looked like a fishing camp.  Fishing boats littered the river, so fish must be plentiful here, well-fed on mosquitos no doubt.

The Folklore Workshop we attended later in the day was a great sampling–if somewhat half-baked.  Local women

Kalocsa building

Straw roof

encouraged us to sit with them and embroidery or paint eggs, but they didn’t speak English and made no effort to teach us stitches or strokes.  I’ve read that the Hungarian language is incomprehensible, and maybe these women were as discouraged as I at the prospect of learning even a few words.  Outside, young men demonstrated their whip-snapping prowess, and I wished for some background on its usage.  Then there was the meat.  I tried a bite of the sausage they offered.  It was cold and mushy, apparently raw.  I passed on what looked like raw bacon, but I enjoyed the story this meat inspired from one of the other guests.  Steak tartar was originally made by putting a chunk of meat between the horse and saddle so after a long ride the pounded flesh was tender and seasoned with sweat. Yum!

Being gluten-free I avoided the beer and strudel and the opportunity to roll out some sort of specialty bread.  My memories of the workshop would no doubt have been sweeter had I been able to craft a loaf to be delivered to the ship fully baked.  It’s not Kalocsa’s fault that I’m ill equipped to enjoy their finest.

About breathtakebyways

Ann Williams’ travel articles have appeared in publications all over the country including The Washington Post, Roads to Adventure, and Jack and Jill. Between researching and writing books, she specializes in creative lectures.