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Journal

Last few days in Hungary

Moira Schneider

Sunday saw us up early and back into Pecs to the Matkets again but these markets are open to anyone to exhibit ther than dealers.....so as we arrived it was such a bustle as many were scrambling for their spots, there were a few arguments but most were just about their business setting up.  It was already warm and we knew that by lunch time when it finished, it would be very hot and most vendors were totally exposed to the elements.  We wandered around and again it never ceased to amaze me how Maud spied things amidst  what looked like a maze of things. She moved fast whereas I was lingering looking. We did find some great and unusual things,  one thing that stuck with me was a wire fold down basket which turned out to be a fishermans basket.......

We stopped for morning tea where we had a couple of days ago, but this time there were more food stalls & little lines but we were served fairly quickly. Again we went for our spicy apple turnover and sweet tea.   Time to go and so as we drove off we decided to stop by a little grocery store to get some fresh provisions for lunch.  

Come Monday we were to drive to the other side of Mohacs where we were to catch the car ferry across the Danube and drive roughly for 45 minutes down the side roads to get to the Indigo Dyer.  We meet the Dyer  and Maud catches up with the widow of the Dyer who had done it all his life having followed in his father's footsteps....while they chatted the young man keeping the business going took me on a tour of how the dyeing is done including the little museum and shop.  It was fascinating and so labor intensive....we had a great time there having spent almost 2hrs.  Maud left a large pile of Hungarian sackcloth and sackcloth fabrics to be dyed with some  having hand  printed patterns using 100 year old print blocks.  I was able to purchase some dear little table cloths to bring home for my girls and friends, along with a piece of dyed & printe. Having been so long we then then drove back to be in time to catch the ferry back.  On the way back past lots of farms we passed a number of army trucks and police cars.  There was an increase in the patrols due to being so close to the Serbian Border which has been closed to refugees.  

 

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Approaching the Car Ferry

On board crossing the Danube

On board crossing the Danube

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The blue of this motor bike caught my eye but it is quite old but kept well

 

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On the drive back to the ferry

 

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There were so many farms left abandoned along the way....

 

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Crops that's are harvest d by corporations.  

 

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Some of the fabrics drying at the dyers. 

 

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The dyeing vat... 

 

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Markets in Mohacs on Saturday ...

Moira Schneider

We were up early again to drive into Mohacs for the Saturday Markets but not as early as previous mornings. There was a bustle around these markets, which comprised mostly fruit, vegetables and flowers, with the outer stalls having a mix of products. What struck me again was the way people were dressed: as if it was 30 or more years ago. Most vendors were not well off by any means. Even the stalls were not stacked high. We meandered around & bought some things & an bought especially large watermelon again. This time though Maud was thinking to share with her neighbours.  Maud also scored a couple of things to take home for her upcoming winter fairs - including hand knitted socks.  

After the markets we went to the town square to find a bakery that Maud knew of. They had some nice things, but again nothing like the array & choice of breads I saw in the UK, or even home here. We found a dear little cafe that sold Elderflower Lemonade which we had as it was so warm, then decided on an iced coffee too.  We meandered home for a lazy afternoon till we were then to go to watch a festival of Clothes Washing on the edge of the Danube on the outskirts of Mohacs.   

We found our way back to where the Festival was & waited patiently for the procession to arrive. It was most impressive with an all male band all dressed in native costume.   It lasted a good half an hour. As it finished the procession went back up to a large marque where there was a concert of traditional Hungarian Dancing starting from the smallest children up to the adults. This lasted for 3 hours, finishing with families sharing dinner together before a ball got underway with more dancing. Maud has been to many of such festivals, with the ball going till 2am in the morning. We stayed for the first part but not the ball, as we were to be up early on the Sunday morning to go to the Sunday Markets in Pecs.  

 

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An array of produce.  

 

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The whole market area is very old ... 

 

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The little cafe where we had our drinks in the paved Main Street that is closed off.  

 

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Main Street Mall.  

 

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Some of the old office buildings.  

 

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As we leave the town.  

 

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Coming back into Maud's village for lunch before returning to Mohacs for the afternoon. 

The procession can be seen coming - this photo was slightly blurred as I had to switch to using my iPad which I discovered doesn't have the same stabilising unit in it as my iPhone.....

The procession can be seen coming - this photo was slightly blurred as I had to switch to using my iPad which I discovered doesn't have the same stabilising unit in it as my iPhone.....

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Families were part of this event.. 

 

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Pots of Hungarian Goulash bubbling away for the family dinners

 

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As we left the festival we went into the Mall in the town centre again for dinner & near us was a statue.... one of many I saw as we drove past fields & throughout villages depicting biblical scenes. 

Up Early for the Markets in Pecs...

Moira Schneider

After a long day on Wednesday, we were to rise early to get to the markets in Pecs (about 30 kms away) by 5.30am.  Pecs is the biggest Romanian town outside of Budapest.  Well we managed to be up early enough for showers & strong hot coffee.  Off we went, passing the most amazing views as we drove along. I did not know what to expect after the wonderful markets and fairs in the U.K.  As we drove into Pecs I was overwhelmed at what I saw - apartment housing like boxes everywhere and bland colourings, a mix of cars in terms of age, lots of buses with people queuing at bus stops at that early hour.  The shops we passed were more like boxed containers..... it has been a very slow crawl economically after the communist era ended, as it was there for so long and its effects are hard to shake off.  There has been progress but once there is poverty it is hard to recover from it.

We arrived at the markets and Maud had the right money for the parking fee as there is order to the way it's all run. We found a spot as close as possible to the exhibitors as we were expecting to be carrying quite a few things.  

Again I was not prepared for what I saw - there were many ordinary people among the dealers rolling out their rugs and mats to sell their wares on - virtually anything, whether it worked or not. There were old wares, electrical goods, paintings, clothing and a lot looked like it was junk: anything to make a little bit of money.  We wandered around the walkways  and Maud spied a number of things she would come back to, but she first went to one of the ladies she knew that she buys Hungarian hand-made skirts and shirts from. These are sought after as the skirts are colourful with scalloped edging. The shirts are almost like painting smocks.  

After some time of choosing we moved back to where there were a number of exhibitors selling particular Hungarian pottery..... the number of pots purchased grew and after filling a large French basket full, as well as carrying some individually, we needed to take them back to the car. We went back again and Maud found a number of different bits and pieces - her eyes are well trained to see things amidst the maze of goods. I was scouting for some sacks (I scored two lovely soft ones from the lady with the skirts and shorts) and then I spied a small brass statue with a holy water crucible attached. It would have been used at the font door of a home. (There is a large population of Catholics in Hungary). I had already seen many Jesus statues in the middle of nowhere - along roads butting onto the fields - these were quite tall and often elaborate. 

As we had been up so early we needed a coffee, so off we went to some little stalls selling an array of food. We stayed with simple food, coffee, and cold, sweet tea. Next to the stall where we bought the food and drinks the vendor was selling lots of deep fried foods that Hungarians just love, but it was very rich.  

We went back to purchase more goodies but not before we went to the ladies toilets - this was a sight to behold. There was a lady in a little kiosk all set out with her books, radio etc and she took the money we had to pay, giving us a ticket off an old fashioned roll of tickets (a bit like tickets used to go into movies, many years ago) so we might use the ladies. It was her job to keep the Ladies toilets clean, and you could see how important her position was. 

After we were laden up, we drove back to the house and on the way stopped for fresh bread and a few yummies.   The day was fairly lazy and in the afternoon I went for a walk around the little village. 

Day breaking as we began the short drive to Pecs.   These photos were taken through the car window. 

Day breaking as we began the short drive to Pecs.   These photos were taken through the car window. 

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Just entering Pecs.  

 

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We arrived to see many people setting up.

 

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A mixed array of goods.  

 

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This stall is where we purchased quite a lot of clothing & linen.  

 

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Very neatly arranged !! 

 

 

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Amidst much there were old old paintings: some as is & some restored ... 

 

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Our simple morning tea - almost like an apple turnover .. 

 

Sorting through mounds of old linen  

Sorting through mounds of old linen  

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An old Mill had been restored & is now a local supermarket where we stopped for fresh bread.  

 

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This very tiny chapel was next door to the mill where it is used only on special occasions. We saw many of these and there was one at the end of Maud's street. The day before we left, there happened to be a special Mass, & so I was able to go along and experience the mass - all in Hungarian.  

 

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Some of the rambly farm homes along Maud's street.  

 

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There are a number of German residents as well, with more recently built homes.  

 

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This is an example of the Jesus monuments/statues that I mentioned - just randomly placed. 

 

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This is the little chapel at the end of Maud's street.  

 

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You can see how old some of these buildings are and there are old barns beside them.  

 

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On reflection if there was more time to get out the paints and brushes - there is such a richness to capture on canvas.  

Off to Hungary ... Wednesday 28th June 17

Moira Schneider

I was up at 5.30am to get ready & be at the Luton Airport to meet Maud to fly with her to Hungary.  As we approached the airport the traffic was at a snail's crawl & Maud messaged that she was jammed in it too. Finally my niece Liesel was able to get into the lane to drive through & drop me off. I felt ridiculous in summer clothing & sandals as it was sprinkling & cool but I knew that when I stepped off the plane at the other end it was going to be nearly 40 degrees. I was reassured as I entered the airport & joined the que with Maud as many were dressed like I was. We had connected well & wasn't long before they were calling all those going to Budapest to get out of the queue & follow the attendant to a new desk. I had planned on taking just a cabin bag but Maud had asked me to take my large case as I was to take some things back for her. After checking in we scrambled with all the others to get through security, and buy some food before boarding as we were flying Wizz Airlines which is a low cost airline.   We had no time for anything but to then jump into the queue to board the plane. After about 2 hrs flight we arrive in Budapest. We went to pick up a hire car Maud had booked, & on arriving at the desk she was welcomed as a regular customer. Off we set with no sightseeing in Budapest, but straight to Maud's home in Nagynyarad, some 2.5 hours drive south of Budapest. We were able to do most of the journey on a fast motorway which goes from one end of Hungary to the other, coming near to the  Serbian Border. 

Oh: and it is 39.9 degrees as we travel. We stop a short distance from Maud's village to pick up some food & a huge watermelon !!

I didn't know what to expect about anything on this trip but as we got to Maud's home, I immediately knew why she was eager to get there as soon as possible - it is totally dreamy.  It is large, old &  rambly, with original chicken coops, pig pens, barns of different sizes, and an underground cellar. It was originally a working farm, and there are still a couple of fields at the back that neighbours use, along with the frontage that used to be large vegetable gardens with the road going through it, but is now just an area of grass. 

 

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Through the window on the drive .. 

 

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One of the large tunnels we drive through. 

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Would you believe it's a Tesco store (there are a number of them throughout Hungary but they are not as polished as back in the UK. They are like oversized sea containers. Here there is a currency exchange kiosk, so we can change our money. 

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In the heat this man sells his watermelon to Maud, outside Tesco!!! 

 

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While Maud is buying the watermelon, I hear a guy pull up on his motorcycle. The noise has made me turn around - it is very old but kept in good working order. It is an early Hungarian motorcycle. Many of the cars are still in use from the communist era: they have survived as VW produced reconditioned engines for them...

 

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Looking the length of Maud's home ... you can see the layers of  original brickwork...

 

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The gorgeous old verandah with tiles all the way until they meet the old boards outside the barn.... also printing done with rollers on the outside walls. We took an old table & chairs outside & ate all our meals outside... we also took an old cane lounge out with Maud's popular Indigo dyed cushions. We sat & unpicked cross stitch together into the evening on the cane lounge ..

 

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As the sun sets on our first night: it has its own beauty.