Extended Family Day Trip

Trip Start Jul 28, 2007
Trip End Sep 02, 2007

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Flag of Hungary  ,
Sunday, August 19, 2007

Another family day trip (or so I thought!).  We started the day heading for Eger, in the wine region of Hungary.  Eger is the home of the castle where the Hungarians defeated the Ottomans.  It is steeped in history, terribly interesting to Hungarians, and has no English translations.  Attila translated the tour through the underground bunkers as best he could, but his interpretation of what is interesting and mine are completely different.  Nonetheless, we toured the bunkers, saw a bunch of old cannons and cannonballs, and the mine-detecting technology of the era (a drum with peas on top... if the enemy was digging a tunnel nearby, the peas would bounce).

Thouroughly baked in the heat from the sun bouncing off the castle stones, we walked down to Dobo Square where we had some marvelous goulash and schnitzel.  We tried to go to the Market Hall, but it was closed for the long weekend (August 20 is a national holiday in honour of St. Istvan, the king who brought Christianity to the Hungarians).

After a brief tour of Eger, we loaded back in the car for the drive to Aggtelek National Park.  It was a longer drive than we anticipated, and we feared that the park would be closed once we got there, but all was well... except the tour into the caves involved many stairs and a slippery walkway so Attila's mom had to wait outside.  The tour was quite interesting (though again, entirely in Hungarian).  Deep inside the cave system is a huge concert hall -- you would not believe the accoustics in there!  They have seats set up in the cavern, and a light system to accent different structures in the cave to go with the music.  Very cool.

With the prospect of a two-hour drive home, Attila decided it would be better to rent a cabin for the evening.  That meant we had to find a place to buy toiletries... not an easy task!  However, we managed to find almost everything we needed and hunkered down for the night.

In the morning, we drove to Miskolc, where there is another cave system.  The difference is that these caves have a natural hot spring, so there is a huge thermal bath complex.  It was nice, but being that it was a national holiday, it was PACKED with tourists.  We got nice and pruney in the hot water, and piled back into the car.

We had originally planned to stop in Budapest to watch the fireworks, but after seeing how many people had the same idea, we decided to head home.  On the way we stopped at a Virkocsarda (a country-inn type restaurant).  We had a wonderful meal and watched a private fireworks display as a huge thunderstorm rolled in.  We were thankful to be indoors and not out in the middle of Budapest getting drenched.
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