Once in Eger we took off for a tour of the castle and. learned about Hungary's occupation by the Ottoman Turks and how the Hungarians bravely fought the Turkish invasion
. They won this battle, but a few years later the Turks finally occupied Hungary. They did have a pretty interesting weapon. They used wine barrels (this area has been one of the wine growing areas of Hungary for hundreds of years), pots filled with oil, and guns built into the center of this giant wheel type contraption. They lit the oil and this heated up the guns which shot bullets at the Turks as the Hungarians rolled it down the hill toward the attacking Turks. There is video clip (but it is a little dark).
Since this is a wine region, we had to learn about this important economic activity by participating in a wine tasking evening. It was very educational! I learned I like the white wine better and that there are enough wine cellars in this area to reach 140 km.
The really slow bus driver finally got us on the road today, but the road to the village we planned to see was closed, so an hour detour made this a long day. The village we stopped at was a UNESCO Heritage Site with folk art and old buildings. The coolest thing was on the way back to Budapest we were so close to the Slovakia border, we crossed over. Now I have been to Slovakia.
A couple days of lecture this week then we are off on another road trip to a city called Pec on Thursday.
Saturday was one of the most interesting days – from the geographic perspective. We visited the hortobagy – which is a National Park. We went on a wagon ride and learned about the Hungarian plains and how the people lived and worked. Saw a demonstration of the horsemanship of the gulashs (cowboys). There is a video clip of the guy standing on the back of two horses. These horses were really trained. They were trained to lie down in the tall grasses if outlaw type people were approaching. They were also trained to sit like a dog. Life on the plains was very difficult—much of Hungary lived in this agrarian way up until communism came in after World War II. After visiting the hortobagy we headed to Eger.