. Although communicating with them was difficult – mainly a combination of basic sign language and charades - they were obviously very happy to have us and were very friendly and helpful.
After dropping our bags, we headed to the center of town to have a look around. Our exploring was cut short however when a thunderstorm quickly moved into the area. Too far from our guesthouse to make it back in time without getting soaked, we sought refuge in a nearby farmer's market where we spent a little time selecting a variety of items for a home cooked meal that we put together later that evening. Have to take advantage of a kitchen when we can! It’s amazing what making your own meal in a home-like setting can do for your state of mind when you eat almost every meal in a restaurant.
With sunny skies once again above us, we spent the better part of day 2 exploring and admiring Eger’s beautiful surroundings before making our way to the outskirts of town where a number of wine cellars are located. Although Eger has much more to offer than just wine, our main reason for visiting was to take a peek at the (rumoured) cool wine cellar area which houses some 50+ vaults operated by local wineries. The cellars, built into the side of a hill, are lined up one after another in a large horseshoe like pattern, each with usually only a number on the front to identify it from the others - a convenient setup for tasting a variety of wines..
. sort of a like a permanent wine festival if you will. Turns out the rumours are true as the cellars are very cool (and cold too). We spent 3 or 4 hours in the area visiting 6 or 7 wine cellars (we think), sampling a variety of wines. Tasting continued well into the evening so our taste buds were likely shot by then but we think our favourite wine was of the cuvée variety (a red). Not sure if you can purchase this one in Canada (or elsewhere) but if you can you shouldn’t hesitate – a cuvée would go very well with a steak on the bbq! Wine tasting in Hungary, by the way, is nothing like what it is in Canada. Like most of the wineries back home we’ve visited in recent years, Eger’s do collect a very small fee for each 'sample’ (equivalent of about 50 cents) - but we mean ‘sample’ in the loosest sense of the word since, as one can see from the photos, there doesn’t seem to be an equivalent word in Hungarian. This is good and bad for obvious reasons. The rest of the night is a bit of a blur... kidding! After we were wined out we made our way back to town for a late dinner and then headed straight for bed as we had to be up fairly early for a train to Budapest – a city we are both very excited to get to.
Like Debrecen, our start in Eger was a little rocky but this time for a much different reason: for the first time in a long while, we had a tough time locating a suitable place to stay. With most of the available accommodation in Eger being expensive and outside of our price range - likely because Eger is in one of Hungary's wine regions – we only had a few options to chose from. The first, and we thought our best, option turned out to no longer be there. The second had obviously undergone some major renovations in the past year or so and was now a high end hotel. The same turned out to be true of the next couple places we checked. Frustrated and very tired from carrying our heavy packs for the better part of an hour in 35 degree heat, we regrouped in a shady park before heading to an area rumoured to have multiple functioning pensions. We struck gold on our 3rd try in this area, finding a very comfortable room with an attached kitchen at a guesthouse operated by an older Hungarian couple who spoke absolutely no English