Monday, September 22, 2008


This past weekend I went to the Szekszard Wine Festival. The city of Szekszard, located in Southern Hungary, is known for its wine (by the way, "sz" in Hungarian is pronounced like an "s" in English). I traveled in a minibus with about 20 people from Lugoj; a group of kids from the Lugoj Kid's Club had been invited to perform at the festival (and I was invited to tag along).

We arrived after about 6 hours, ate lunch and were shown around town by some of the locals. We were even given a private tour of the history museum--I didn't understand what the curator said, but luckily a couple people in our group spoke Hungarian and could translate into Romanian.

The official opening of the festival was held later that evening in the main town square. They had a showcase of traditional Hungarian dancing on a large stage. I was impressed how the women danced with decanters of wine on their heads, and the men clapped, stomped and slapped their boots in time. The rhythmic effect of the men stomping and pounding was quite powerful. I liked the music too, mostly violin and acoustic bass.

The next day we went to a function at the town hall. All the local officials were out, wearing cloaks (traditional costume I suppose). Speeches were given, and then an important-looking man took a glass and went over to the fountain in front of the town hall. He put his glass up to the spicket, turned it on and--get this-- out poured red wine! In fact there were two spickets on the fountain, one for red wine, the other for white. Glasses were handed out to everyone there, and we obligingly filled them. Imagine that, a wine fountain!

After that, there was a long parade down the main street. All the local wine producers were represented, along with all the schools, several organizations and many dance troupes. I was also surprised to see the mayor of Lugoj marching in the procession! Like us, he was an invited guest (probably because Szekszard and Lugoj have some economic partnerships).

Later on the second day, our kids performed. One group did a breakdance routine, the other was a rock band; they were both really good. By the time their acts were over, it was cold and we were all very hungry. We had meal tickets for one particular restaurant, which had set up a tent amidst all the wine tents. The only problem was that we had to sit outside. But I, for one, was too hungry to care; I ate despite the icy mist and stinging breeze. Luckily, the food was very good (turkey shish-kebabs, a pork cutlet, french fries and a sour cream sauce with cucumber, onion, and garlic). And, for a little added warmth, we drank hot mulled wine.

On the morning of the third day the kids performed once more. Next to the stage was a kiosk selling candies, so I took the opportunity to buy a few things. I bought some honey biscuits/cookies, some dianas cukorka candies (pronounced "deeoh-nash tzookorko," which are filled with a cough-syrup sort of liquid) and some krumplicukor (a hard white block; I was told it's a mixture of sugar and potatoes-- kind of disappointing as it turned out).

All in all, it was an interesting experience. Not only did I get to see another part of Hungary and bond with some of my fellow Lugojeans, but I also got a bottle of Szekszard wine!

See all the pictures HERE


Jack Nork said...

Glad to see the posts coming again! It's great to hear about your adventures :)

Anonymous said...

hei salut, sunt isa din formatia bluerock, super tare blogul tau, imi place foarte mult, daca ai vreo poza cu mine pozti sa imi trimiti? id-ul meu este isa_isulica, mersi mult, sper ca nu are nimic ac ti-am scris in romana, bbye

John said...

Great Great story followed by even greater pictures. You sure do have a talent son, actually, many talents! Thanks for sharing and putting us vicariously there.