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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Day 20, April10, Kolacsa, Hungary

An overnight sailing with an early morning tour meant few photos of the Danube.  The River widened as the terrain become flatter.  8:30 AM departure found us at breakfast with Marion, my preferred waiter by 7 AM.   Marion, a Romanian, makes certain all is perfect.  Vitamin juice was very refreshing as well as the excellent coffee.  And all those pastries..... Our boat passes and guide assignments were picked up on our way back to the room.  Headsets, check.  Cameras, check.  Walking sticks, check.  Light jacket, check.  Keys to get back in the room, well maybe..

No fancy dock in a city, just a few buildings are visible as we pulled to the shore.  Even though it is Sunday, one gentleman has his souvenir shop open for visit.  We promise we will visit when we return as the guides are calling us to board the ever ready tour buses.

One thing Hubby and I notice is the electric poles are concrete A frames.  The wiring looks like something I would do.

Quickly we move into flat farmland.  It could easily be the area in which I lived as a young person. The fields were mostly black, fertile soil.  Most crops were not emerging.  Some fields did have safflower in full bloom.  The bright yellow fields added a cheery feeling to the gloomy weather.

Kolacsa is the first destination for today's tour. A town that appeared to have seen better days as the saying goes.  A city of about 17,500 souls that had two museums, The Paprika Museum and The Folk Art House were the attractions we visited,  So I figure you are thinking, 'a paprika museum?'.  I know, I did not realize that Hungary is known for paprika.  Did you know that paprika has more vitamin C than citrus fruit?  Neither did I.

We did not visit he Archbishop's Residence nor St. Mary's Cathedral.  I could have photographed St. Mary's if I had just looked that direction.  But I did not. I looked at all things paprika including burlap tow sacks and aprons.  Quite intriguing with dancing paprika on them.

Equipment used to plant, harvest and process the dried peppers.  I did get a photo of an interesting sculpture.  A few houses and architectural interest points in the neighborhood and the spring flowers needed to be captured.

Back on the bus for the short ride
over to the Folk Art House and gift shop.  A few snaps of the local homes.  

The bright blue trim of the museum was a beautiful contrast to the thatch roof and white stucco walls.  A thatched roof required inspection by Hubby.  Later research showed the stubby way trees were trimmed would produce new growth.  That new growth had been one source for thatching materials.  Once satisfied with the roofing materials, we entered into a tiled area and straight ahead was the kitchen area.  

Clothing in the 'pure' or unused room
To the left of the kitchen was a room that was unused except for very special occasions.  In the corner was a bed piled with blankets.  It was a symbol for suitors of the oldest daughter of the wealth of her family, very important for her marriage prospects.The host of the museum noted the walls were more decorated that a typical peasant home would have been.  The designs did represent the folk designs of the period.
To the right of the kitchen were the other rooms for the family.  Ceramic stoves were in different rooms for heating.  Beyond those rooms was a room filled with the needlework representative of the region.  The bottom line was the museum is a tribute to the handicraft works of the women.  It was explained the needlework and furniture painting had evolved from simple beginnings of white on white to the colorful designs on display. 

Wedding headdress
From the living areas we step into the display room filled with a beautiful array of needlework.  One area has pottery examples.  And the every present gift shop was just across the courtyard.  And the work of the items offered were beautiful.  My gift suitcase is getting awfully full but that would look so cute on great-niece ...... Then comes the call to board and the dress is left behind and my pocketbook is the same thickness.

Embroidery and cutwork combination
Onto the bus and we head for the next event, the Bakod Puszta Horsemen.  Of course there had been the brandy and rolls to welcome us.  More opportunities for crafts.  Then it was time for the show.


I grew up around horse shows that included barrel races, clowns, Tennessee walking horses and buggy races.  The exhibition we witnessed was different.  Much more emphasis on the relationship of horse and rider and the horse's training.  There were wagons being pulled at high speeds requiring one of the horsemen to hang off one side to keep the wagon upright.  The synchronized whip snaps were something that had the precision of a drill team.  The finale was a young 20 year old horseman standing on two horses with two sets of four horses in front.  He stood and guided the ten horses as they ran at breakneck speeds.  

With that the show ended, bows and applause followed.  Another sampling of local cuisine and more brandy.  Some guests choose to take the rides out into the fields and pastures.  I was good staying close in to the heaters and enjoy another savory biscuit.  
Back on the bus we head to the boat.  A few minutes with the first gift shop dude and we were back on board for lunch.  Later an afternoon Hungarian Tea.  Yummy stuff to keep ourselves stuffed!  While we could have watched another strudel making demo, we opted for a little rest.  In the evening we joined others in the lounge to hear our new program director describe growing up in Eastern Europe.  Director Lubo was in his early 40's so he watched as a teen the breakup of the Soviet Bloc and the ramifications for his homeland.  Tomorrow, April 11, we would visit in the home of a local person.  Come back to see our host.

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