Tuesday, August 2, 2011
BALATON A NEW LOOK AT THE OLD WAYS
Traveling on a major highway for about 60 miles southwest of Budapest we arrived at the Ferry landing in about an hour and then took the 5 minute crossing to reach the peninsula on the north side and the town of Tihany.
The goal of our trip was to purchase a unique " gypsy cherry brandy" that is made by the monks in Tihany Abby and nowhere else in the world. After waiting our turn in the line in the parking lot for someone to leave, we parked at the base of the Abbey and climbed up the ancient stone stairs and found the wonderful cherry brandy with two other strange herbal varieties. We opted to stock up on the Benedictine sour cherry gypsy brandy for a cold winters night ( Or maybe a book club meeting! ) and then began to look for the lavender which I heard has recently been developed as a local cottage industry.
After winding up on a nice lady's back porch we were redirected to a shop selling the products made with the locally grown lavender.
Of all the lavender items that I saw and there were many,including bath salts, lavender honey and lavender flavored soft drinks, the one I liked best was lavender soap made with actual stalks of dried lavender plants inside so as you wash you also exfoliate!! The beautiful " lavender" color and fragrance were only extra added attractions.
Walking the streets through town to find lunch, we passed the Paprika House, which was a small cottage that seemed to be straight out of Disney only better because it was real. Walking through the archway of Paprikas was fascinating as I entered into a world of every subtle variety of paprika one could imagine and even some I couldn't imagine like Paprika soap!
As we exited Paprika House, it was impossible not to notice the wonderful smell of a wood
fire and exotic spices filling the air. Following my nose brought me to the raised courtyard of a local restaurant which had an enormous black cast-iron cauldron of Gulyas ( AKA goulash to the uninformed) bubbling over an outdoor wood fire. Today was a treat for all of the
senses and a peek into the old world ways that are still just a short ride on a modern highway away.
I think was good enough for a second look. Maybe a weekend would be just the trick. So much to see ....so little time.