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The week after our trip to Rome has been mostly a restful one, but we did get out a couple of nights and enjoy some of Szolnok’s best entertainment. On Thursday Andy, Kriszti and I went to the Szigligeti Szinhaz (theater) to watch the Hungarian adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham’s play “Home and Beauty” (Imádok Ferjhez Menni). It was a musical comedy and quite good (as much as I could understand it…I could easily get the gist, but there were a lot of jokes and song lyrics that went right over my head). I enjoyed the experience as much for the atmosphere as for the content of the play. Szigligeti is a beautiful theater, and it is fun to watch all the people watching everyone else.

On Friday night we went to the “Aba-Novák Kulturális Központ” (Szolnok’s Cultural Center) to watch the “Itt-Honi Népzenei és Néptánc Találkozó”. If you read Noémi’s recent post (Budapest part II) you know that we often play with the words Itthon (“HERE at home”) and Otthon (There at home). The title of this even is also playing with that theme and refers to local Folk Music and Folk dance performers.

The program featured folk dancers and musicians of all ages. We were able to see a friend of Andy’s dance–a boy he knew from when he went to kindergarten here. Our favorite part of the event was the finale when the Tisza Néptáncegyüttes performed. These are professional dancers and for their 65th anniversary, they came on stage together with the Tiszantul Néptánce Együttes (Tiszantul is an expression meaning “trans-Tisza” or “across the Tisza river,” but here it could also refer to the dancers who have grown too old to be in the professional troupe. At the height of the final performance there were over 100 dancers and musicians on the stage. It was really fun to watch from the front row where we were seated. If you have ever seen this kind of folk dance, you know that it has a lot in common with modern forms such as Stomp where the dance steps are like percussion. Here is a YouTube video of this same group on the same stage (different performance with fewer performers):

Tisza Neptancegyuttes

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From Eger October 2011

Noemi won’t rest until I post to the blog, so here goes. Last week I took a day-trip up to Eger, one of my favorite cities in Hungary. Eger is in the northern part of the country in the Mátra mountains that run east-west along the border between Hungary and Szlovakia. Eger is a very historic town beloved to Hungarians for it’s famous wines (the famous Hungarian “bull’s blood” for example) and for a famous battle against the Turkish invaders in which a small garrison was able to withstand a siege against a much larger force–this is chronicled in a Hungarian novel, “Egri Csillagok” (the stars of Eger, but entitled “The eclipse of the Crescent Moon,” in English). It is required reading for elementary school children here and our Niece, Boglarka, was reading it this summer.

From October 10, 2011

I drove up through the flatlands of the Alföld (the Hungarian great plains), through numerous villages where life seems less touched by modernization than in the cities. Instead of driving straight to Eger, however, I took a detour into the mountains to explore and to enjoy the fall foliage. I only stopped long enough to hike up to an ancient castle ruin of Sirok (Siroki Vár)…which dates back at least to the thirteenth century.

From October 10, 2011

I took a number of photos then proceeded on to Eger. I didn’t really have a plan for the day, I simply enjoyed wandering around the winding streets of Eger, I climbed to the top of the minaret (which is reported to be the northern most Turkish minaret dating from the Turkish occupation) and got a great view of the city, then had a quick lunch in the main square (Dobó István tér).
One of the highlights of the day was a side trip outside the city to the vinyards where I sought out a local grower selling wine from his “pince” or cellar (in Eger these are usually dug into the hillside). I bought a couple of bottles to take home and taste with Tata.

From October 10, 2011

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Tiny Travel Tails

Tiny’s Travel Journal

Today I woke up and licked my paws.

From Tiny Tails

Almost immediately after I shook myself and got out of bed my little sister asked me if I wanted to “Go For A Walk?” I raised my ears up cynically, just in time to hear my mom say, “Shh… it’s too early. Don’t get him all excited, we need to get dressed.” And so my family got dressed very, very slowly while I watched them with quizzical eyes. Presently I saw my little sister rush by. Her name is Noemi and she pretends that she’s my superior. The nerve! But I love her anyway and I protect her from anything that could potentially harm her including other dogs, cats, and occasionally other family members. She tells me that she doesn’t need protection because she is bigger than me but I don’t believe a word. I heard my little brother complaining that he didn’t want to Walk. Sometimes I just don’t understand my little brother. He also says that he is bigger than me, isn’t that weird? I protect him as well, because I love him and it just seems like he needs a body-guard like myself. My parents are good as they ask me if I Wanna Treat? and if I Wanna Go Outside? a lot. After a long, long while my mom took up my leash and my little sister said, “Do You Want To… Go For A Walk?”  To which I responded by  jumping up and quickly doing my yoga poses: Upward dog, Downward dog, and Stretching Dog. Then I sneezed, shook myself and wagged my tail twice to show that I was ready to Go. We walked into downtown Szolnok together where we chased pigeons and walked down the river-bank, and my parents and siblings yammered on and on. They also threw some of the fallen chestnuts into the river. I would have done the same, but the sad truth of the matter is that I don’t have opposable thumbs. Then my dad and little brother went running while me and the girls followed our noses to the bakery where my little sister bought a soft pretzel and a cherry roll, my mom and dad got walnut pastry’s, my brother also had a cherry roll. And me? Oh I had big chunks of everybody’s Food. We walked home and all-in-all it was a good Walk.

From Tiny Tails

Well before I sign off I’m going to share some interesting rumors that I have heard. One of them is that in two weeks my mom and dad are going to the big, noisy, yummy smelling city that the humans call Budapest, for several days. And I’m going to stay here with my siblings and Mama, (who is a Hungarian that knows how to pamper me). She is one of my favorite people ever ’cause she feeds me good. The other interesting piece of news I sniffed out is that we will be going to Austria soon. Hmmm… I wonder what that is all about.

Sending lots of licks to you all,


(aided by Noemi’s imagination)

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