First of all, before everyone would start laughing endlessly, or start to believe in a beautiful, poetic, modern version of the famous book, I have to clear something. Neither of those are true. This story is about 3 guys, who’ve been in Eger for 2 days to relax. How, when, and why? Let me tell you a little story.
For the seed of this idea, we have to go back in time until December, 2015, when we had a trip with Barnus in Prague. Only two of us were there, the third part of the triumvirate had to stay home due to his working schedule. We’ve got the idea in the Czech Republic, that until the season did not start, we have to have a relaxing weekend together, three of us, to switch of, to escape from everything. Simple like that. So that was the source, we had to figure out the rest: the date and the place – the two most important things. I asked my friend (booking.com) again about the options for 3 people, 1 room, 1 night, with parking place and wellness (!!!). This last point was the most important of all. I wanted to be like a 60-70-year-old grandpa, just to sit in the hot, boiling water, go to the sauna, swim 1-2-3 times, again the hot tub, sauna, and things like these.
After a few unsuccessful calls, finally, I found the place. Not in the middle of the city, but near to the Szepasszon-volgy, in a peaceful neighborhood, close to the wine-cellars – of course, since we are going to be in Eger, then wine, even if all of us preferred the beer. They had free parking, one room for 3 people for 1 night, with a really friendly price. And the breakfast was included!!! Of course, we booked it immediately. I did hope that we won’t have the same situation like in Prague, that after the tour they say at the reception, that we do not have reservation 🙂
The date was the 20th-21st February, Saturday-Sunday. I’ve already left the work the 12th day of the month, so I had plenty of time. Barnus managed to get 2 free days on the weekend, and also Adam escaped for that time. Everything was set, we were waiting only for the weekend. And then, a few days before departure my mom mentioned, that she’ll need the Honda, so we have to get there somehow else. Wonderful… I asked Adam, he has a Seat. We agreed that his car will be the one which will take us from A to B, we just have to fill up the tank. No problem, that’s a deal. On Thursday I called the hotel once more just to make sure about the reservation and to ask about an early check-in. They guaranteed the room for us, and let us to occupy it from noon – 2 hours before the official time – for free. Cool, I’ve talked with the others as well, agreed, around 8-9:00 am we will meet with Adam, from there we go to pick up Barnus a little later, since he was working on the night before. I went to bed with a huge smile on my face and the taste of the wine in my mouth. Oh no, wait, Barnus don’t want to drink, because he prefers the beer, I had to start take medicines, to be more precise, I had to take them until Friday, maybe Saturday morning?
Saturday morning. 6:00 am. The alarm was ringing on my new phone (yes, I bought a Samsung S5 :P), so I got up, packed fast, and at 7 I’ve been already on my way to Budapest. As I calculated, around 8:00 am (+/- 10 minutes) I’ll be in Aquincum. And it happened just like this, so I bought a small cake and a coffee, and when I was next to the entrance, I found just the perfect picnic-table, so I settled down there 🙂
I finished with the breakfast, so time to go up to Adam. The phone was ringing, but no answer. I wrote a message, nothing. Doorbell? Not a bad idea, but what, if his mom was at home and I wake her up it this early hour. Or his girlfriend is there also? No way to get angry with them. So I wait until he calls me back. A few minutes later another guy came home, he did let me in. I chose the stairs to go up, I had plenty of time until the 8th floor. At the time when I reached the gate, he was there, just woke up, his love in the bed, nothing prepared… What a surprise 🙂 So he packed quickly, said good bye, and together went down to the car, get in and go for Barnus. One call, if he was ready or not. We had to wait a few minutes for him, but he was almost in time. That was the real surprise of the day! Went back to the car, and hit the road in the direction of Eger. Only on main roads, forget about the highways. Easy task, that’s why we have GPS on the phone, and also the incredible “Waze” app. Really easy, just find the main road no. 3, it will lead you!
This car! This car can move. Fast. A light, easy, has its speed, doesn’t screaming the engine, neither at the speed of 130 km/h (speed limit at 90 km/h – the Director), what else, sounds like it begs you to push it harder. On the way, we stopped two times – or just once? The point is, between 11-12:00 am we arrived.
Stepped inside to the reception, we checked in, got the keys and the armband (we had to wear it on the territory of the Hotel to use all the facilities). And I would bet in any amount of money that I’ve already met with the receptionist girl. What else, I’ve worked with her, more precisely in the Hotel Gellert, when I was a waiter-trainee, thanks to the Xantus Secondary School. We got the room #202, on the fourth building. 1st was the reception and the main building, 2nd the restaurant, 3rd the own wine-cellar, 4th our room, 5th the wellness. They included a small map as well, just to do not get lost J Wasn’t hard to find the room, 3 places in 2 beds. I had the fastest reaction time, I chose the single bed, and said that I’ve already slept with Barnus in Prague in the same room, now Adam is next. We put down the baggage, and went back to the valley.
“The Nice Lady-valley got its name from a rumor, that in the earlier times, nice ladies used to live here, for real”
Local source from the gift-shop
I’ve been here before a few years ago, so I had a clue at least, what to see, which cellars we should visit. The thing, that yesterday we said with Barnus, that we will not drink, was thrown away to the trash. None of us is a huge fan of the vines, but still, it’s Eger. Even if you were not plan, you will taste at least one wine. Or maybe more. 10 minutes’ walk from the hotel to the cellars, and another 3-4 until we chose the first one. If I remembered right, it was the Juhasz vinery, on the further side of the square. We divided the types into 3 parts without a word, Barnus asked the rose, Adam chose the whites – he was hunting for the Egri Csillag – and I left alone with the red ones. It was a really nice, well-designed cellar, but only 7 people were there – with us and the seller. It is a really early, pre-pre-pre-season (or something like this), but slowly the tourists start to visit this place again. Adam had – maybe – an Olaszrizling, Barnus got a rose from 2014, and about mine I’m not sure, maybe a cuvee.
The “In vino veritas” is a Latin proverb, which means: Truth is in the wine. Originally it is a Greek proverb, and the Romans start to use it later. Alkaiosz was the first who used it, and Plinius created the Latin version.
As it says, who drinks wine, will tell the truth under the influence of alcohol.
From certain sources I got the information, that:
- The rose is that type, where the age doesn’t help, since the youngest is usually the best quality.
- One of the hardest to mess up something with the Olaszrizling, since it doesn’t have a strong characteristic (almost nothing)
- My red wine was wonderful, that’s all 🙂
Adam – of course – already tasted the Egri Csillag, and did not think it so bad (he used to work in the Andante Borpatika, so I trust him in this topic). For me, that white one wasn’t good, its smell was too strong, smoky, sulphurous, after that the taste… If it had to be like this, that won’t be my favorite.
“The Egri Csillag is the brother-wine of the Egri Bikaver, just in white. About its name there are several stories, one of the most accepted is from the 16th century. The city of Eger was a junction point of the North-South trading route. To the north, the path led the merchants through the forest, and for the caravans, they’ve lighted up torches in the guard-towers during the night, so the caravans knew where to go. And when they’ve asked each other about the way, the answer was simple: to the north, just follow the Stars of Eger.”
Local source from the gift-shop
But we are not the same 🙂 Next stop was the Hajmasi cellar. There I changed to a white wine for Adam’s recommendation. Barnus stayed with the rose, the same 2014. I can’t remember so much from this place, just that we had one round, an after that we left to another place. The no. 14, Kiss cellar was our next cave to visit. The outside looked great and cozy, and also this was the first place where they tried to invite us to step inside, but that time we went one round. So we accepted the invitation this time, and there were at least 8-10 people. The girl from behind the counter was really nice and kind, came to ask about our choices. Adam – what a surprise again – asked the usual, Barnus deeply wanted to test all the roses, and myself. You know. But don’t ask me about its name, have no clue… Next time I’ll write it down 🙂 The point for me, that in my opinion, we got here the best Egri Csillag. But not for Adam’s taste, he thought the opposite. And Barna, stayed Barna, stayed with the rose with tiny gulps. Here the hospitality was on the highest level, the girl was talking with the guests, where did they come from, for how long, and the plans? She’s talking about the wines, and when a glass dried out, she asked about a refill, and we couldn’t say no. The feeling of the place, the interior, everything was wonderful, I can highly recommend this cellar!
But it still wasn’t the end.
So. As I said, it was NOT the end. One more left, the choice was mine, so I picked the number 19 (?), Marci cellar. Small terrace, a huge place inside, and the best part: the wine, what I’ve remembered immediately as I tasted. No doubt, a red one, Diablo Cuvée! This is the one, very addictive. Its smell is beautiful with a small touch of vanilla, calling you closer and closer, until you reach the point where is no way to turn back. There come the taste. I’m not allowed to describe it with written words for you, so it will be your turn, you must taste it! I had a chance to taste several different vines, from many countries, but this one. This is brutal, it would kill all the others if they would have to fight. OMG! I can understand the origin of the name. I must take one of this home. At least one. Barnus chose the rose again, maybe this was the only one from 2015. And Adam, guess what. But at least he tried the Diablo as well, and for my biggest surprise, he liked it, very much. So he bought 2 bottles of Egri Csillag from this cellar – wasn’t the best choice, I think – and 2 liter of Diablo, 1-1 for us. I bought for home an awarded, very beautifully bottled Syrah and a Kejbor from another place. Both of them are really addictive, so just be careful!
With all these stuff we went back to the hotel, that after a few minutes we could dive into the water. We made it back to our room, put down all the things, changed the clothes, and headed to the pool. In swimming trunks, with a towel on our shoulders, in flip-flops we ran through the garden into the other building, and straight to the hot-watered pool with bubbles (not the Jacuzzi). Whoa, it was fantastic. We came for this, just to sit in the hot water. 10-20 mins later we went for a swim, after that hit the sauna for 10-15 minutes. It was pretty good as well, then back to the cold water, and the sauna again. It’s never felt so good before J Without rush, we went back to the hot-watered pool for another couple of minutes, and after that tried the steam room. I’d like to say, we just wanted to try it, but it was not working. No worries. There is the salt room, let’s try that one, Barnus and I really needed it. So first one more round sauna, than a cold water, a quick drying procedure, and go to the salt cave. It was really useful for him and for me as well. We’ve been there around half an hour, talking about everything, girls, work, plans, tattoos 😉
After this we gave a chance to the bio-sauna. Why is it bio, we still do not know, but Adam did like the interior design of it. We almost packed it up on the Seat. Then an ice-cold shower from a bin, a little more time in the hot water and back to the room, it’s almost dinner time. We ran through the garden again to the room, get on our best clothes (what we had there), a little rest and back to the valley. But! We almost forgot one really important thing. Adam packed a bottle of apple-flavored whiskey (just to make sure?), and it’s better if it’s cold. We could not find a fridge, or a minibar – as we figured out upon check-out, we had one in the room. No problem, we put out the bottle in front of the window, and started praying that no one will notice and take it, or a cat doesn’t knock off. So we went back to the valley, and stepped in to the Legenyfogo Vendeglo. Last time we’ve been here, so I “knew” this place and wasn’t bad that time. This time it was a little bit different. The penguin came to our table, tried to be funny, but he pressed it too much. He wasn’t so natural… We started with the soup, Barnus and I ordered a “Bogracsgulyas”, Adam tried a cheese cream soup in loaf. Few minutes later we got our dishes, gulash in the metal cans, Legenyfogo soup in loaf. Good. Wait, wait! What? What happened with the cheese cream soup? Oh, that they’ve misunderstood the order a bit. We did not complain, just ate with a little disappointment. Finished with the soup, mine was delicious, Adam’s (surprise) soup was different than he expected, but it’s gone as well. Next the main courses. Barna had a “Ciganypecsenye” (Ethnic roast joint, as the waiter called it), Adam got something special – the little gourmand – and I ordered a breaded pork filled with smoked cheese and meat, and with rice. Nothing interesting, I just wanted to eat something I know, this time wasn’t for the tasting.
After we’ve finished and paid the bill, went back to the hotel, we needed a little gym J Back to the room, get ready for sleeping. Take back the whiskey from outside, but did not open it. We’ve been awake for another 1-2-3 hours, were laughing like hell sometimes, it’s a surprise that the other guests did not complain about us. And around midnight we went for a hunt, and what we found in the end?
Next morning wasn’t so comfortable. I had a little headache, I was dizzy, maybe because the medicine-alcohol effect. We had our breakfast at 8:30. There was everything, muesli, French toast, eggs in different shapes, sausage, really everything what a healthy breakfast requires. Of course we did not hesitate a lot, picked up everything what we could, and brought it back to the table. As a good morning music, we had baby crying from the next table to us. That was the cherry in the top, I wanted nothing else just this. After a few (10-12 minutes) mommy realized that it’s not good, so she went for a walk with the child, and we could continue our breakfast in peace. Once we’ve been done with the meal, went back to the pool until 12, since we discussed a late check-out with the reception.
We jumped into the Jacuzzi, the hot-water pool, occupied the sauna, and later back to the room for a last time, took a shower. Checked out, said good bye, get into the car and aimed the center of Eger, Barnus really wanted to visit the castle. The weather was perfect for a small trip, so Adam parked the car close to the main gate, and we climbed up. We bought the tickets, strolled around, visited all the exhibitions, tried out the archery department – with more or less success -, took a hundred of pictures.
When we discovered the whole place, we went down to the main square (there was no Eger sign anymore), passed by the Offi Haz (anno we had our second accommodation here), stepped inside a small coffee house, drink a coffee and ate a sandwich. When we finished here, jumped back to the car, hit the road, and the next technical stop was in Hatvan. And then, then…
Adam let me drive his car, since I couldn’t stay in my ass during the whole weekend. Woooow, I think I don’t have to explain it. Light body, small 1.4 engine, front wheel drive, has a nice, deep voice like a middle-age lion, and it goes, it pulls, and ask for more and more. To be honest, I’m a bit jealous because of the car, he has a really good machine. As I saw earlier how did he drive this car, I wasn’t soft either with him, pushed the gas, we’re at home really fast. Another experience (not a new one, it just came out again), that most of the people still can’t drive fluently in traffic. But keep hoping that there will be the time, when everyone can drive normally.
In the end we all get home in one piece, first stopped next to Barnus’s place, he went up to the flat, I travelled home to Erd, Adam went home to the starting point with the Seat.
It’s been a fantastic weekend, exactly how we’ve planned it, and a bit more. I can highly recommend the city of Eger; it is really breathtaking. If you do like the wine a little – mainly the red ones -, then this is your city, the Valley of the Nice Lady (Szepasszony-volgy) is a must-to-see place.
Guy, my friends, thank you so much for everything, it was a real honor to spend these 2 days with You J