Greetings from Budapest!
Excursion to Transylvania
The CIEE Fall 2017 group had a memorable 4-day excursion to Transylvania in the middle of October. We visited the Kalotaszeg region where our wonderful hosts treated us to mouth-watering, regional homemade foods and drinks. With the help of three CIEE students, they also demonstrated us the traditional costumes still worn on holidays and special occasions. What a time travel!
The group made a trip to Torda (Turda in Romanian) where we visited the salt mine dating back to the 13th century, and had an amazing view of the Torda Gorge. Then we traveled to Torockó (Rimetea) and Torockószentgyörgy (Coltești) where we climbed up to the nearby fortress amidst beautiful autumn colors. From the ruined walls of the old fortress, we enjoyed the dramatic scenery all around us.
In Kőrösfő (Crisului) we also had the chance to glimpse into how Albert, the artisan makes chess pieces by hand. Students purchased the beautiful chess-sets to bring them home for a perfect souvenir!
In our home village, we experienced yet more local tradition. We could see a village wedding and then enjoy a carriage ride. Travelling by horse-drawn carriages in an area nestled among beautiful mountains as the sun fell beyond the horizon definitely crowned our unforgettable excursion to Transylvania!
Excursion to Domonyvölgy
In order to revive the sweet memories of the Transylvanian excursion, we went on another excursion in November, this time to the northeastern part of Hungary. The autumn weather still allowed us to visit the Lázár Equestrian Park in the heart of Domonyvölgy. The Park, which is owned by the coach driving world champions, Vilmos and Zoltán Lázár, nestles among the picturesque lakes of the Gödöllő Hills.
In the Park, students were welcomed with fresh Hungarian scones topped with crackling, cheese, or seeds. The group took part in a pleasant coach ride through the woods around the Park. The Lázár Equestrian Park is also the home of many horses and special Hungarian domestic animals. Not a Hungarian special animal, but the super cute cat instantly became students’ favorite.
The program’s highlight was an authentic Hungarian horseshow, which included archery on horseback, driving a four-horse carriage, expert cracking a whip, aligning a pony carriage, oxen-pulled cart, and even a donkey.
With the horseshow in Domonyvölgy in the middle of November, we said goodbye to the excursions this semester. We are now looking forward to various upcoming conferences, one of which hosts two CIEE students as presenters! December is also the month of the Christmas markets and ice-skating, two programs our students are looking forward to each year!
Elizabeth Simon, Ph.D.
Director, CIEE Budapest