I had a wonderful day trip to a UNESCO Heritage Village, Hollókó, Hungary, in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains on the Slovakian Border. It was a fairly long drive, but the countryside was magnificent, with fields stretching into the distance and a view of the foothills.
When we arrived in Hollókó, we were greeted by a group of women dressed in traditional embroidered clothing, who served us a piece of Hungarian Cheesecake, and shot of palinka (the national Hungarian alcoholic drink, with at least 37% alcohol content, and made of plum, peach, pear or cherry.)
They sang a couple of folk songs for us, then danced a simple step dance around the square.
They even dressed one of our group up as a “bride” for one of their dances, and many of us joined in.
Following the performance, we had a walking tour of the town, which is very hilly, with cobblestone streets, but which earns its UNESCO designation due to the preservation of the medieval nature of the houses and streets. The post office had a delightful little museum – and anyone over 5′ tall had to duck to get into the front room.
Once we made it back up the hill, we were driven to a more modern part of town, and given a wonderful home-hosted meal. About 46 of the 120 passengers went on this excursion, and we were split into groups of 11-12 for the lunch. (Each home served the same meal.)
My group was with a delightful woman named Margaret, who immediately adopted all of us.
Our lunch started with another shot of palinka (of course!) We were then served a delicious chicken noodle soup, with homemade angel-hair noodles and large slices of vegetables and chicken in a delicious broth, and then a succulent chicken paprikash served on home-made spaetzle, served with home-made wine. We finished with apple and cherry strudels.
The house was quite modern, as I said, but the kitchen was very small, and the stove top seemed quite inadequate to the wonderful meal Margaret served us.
Today was the end of the first portion of the cruise (Bonn to Budapest), and we lost 42 passengers, and took on 38 new ones for the cruise from Budapest to the Black Sea.
The day ended with another repositioning, back to the city center, during which the captain took us on a full harbor tour to have another look at the night lights of Budapest again.