I spent the last few months traveling from London to Beijing. Here is a taste of one place we spent time. Follow the links to read about others.
November 8th-10th, 2005
Our Croatian friends set us up with a friend in Varaždin, Croatia where we stayed for a night. Our new host subsequently set us up with a place to stay in Liszó, Hungary--and drove us there as well!
Liszó is a beautiful little village in the southwest, just outside of Nagykanizsa. It boasts pleasing, rolling hilltops on which grapes for wine are grown (you can see a few bunches that a local man gave me from his vineyard in the photo above). Nearly every home on our hilltop grew grapes and produced wine--generally at a low volume for personal consumption.
Many people in Liszó still use a version of the old-fashioned wine presses pictured above. Large beams that would take many people to manipulate are lowered and then tightened with a carved wooden crank.
We stayed with a young Australian man, Daniel, who had just moved to this village where he purchased a vineyard and an old mud house. We arrived at night and were greeted by Daniel who offered us his homemade wine as he finished cooking a giant pot of fantastic goulash over an open fire outside. The next morning the goulash was finished off with fried eggs and bread.
Daniel heats his house with a wood-burning oven that we cooked a meal of pasta and vegetables over one evening. Next year he hopes to weatherproof the house, which at this point is unsuitable for living in during the winter. It was very cold at night when we were there in early November. Daniel was hoping to spend this winter in Turkey where he would arguably be a bit warmer. I hope he made it.
Our time in Liszó was unlike any other part of our trip. We only stayed three days, but it was a welcome break from the business of cities, trains, and restaurants. In Liszó there was little more for us to do than start a fire and drink wine. It was a very cozy place and one that I am fortunate to have visited.
Daniel sent me off with a giant bag of these gorgeous walnuts that a tree in his backyard produces. They were fantastic company for train rides through Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland. We spent one night in Budapest and then made our way up to Brno, Czech Republic.