School every morning and a mixture of homework & family every afternoon keeps things very scheduled, so when my friend Laci mentioned helping his family out and seeing a Hungarian folk music festival in Romania for a couple of days.. I quickly said yes.
Now, I like to plan things. I love lists. I love agendas.
For this adventure, all I knew was that I would be gone from Friday to Sunday and that the festival was ‘in Romania’. Not much to go off of! But my curious, spontaneous side was loving this and I found myself quickly packing, kissing my family goodbye and jetting off to Pest to catch a bus.
I dragged Heather along and we became two of the band groupies as we settled into the band bus for what would turn out to be about 14 hours of travel to Sovata, a part of Romania that was previously Hungarian during the Austro-Hungarian Empire. For hours we attempted to sleep, watched mountains pass by outside and listened to the band practice for the upcoming day. HOURS of folk music! …you can imagine how hour 9 felt…
We arrived late at night, ate a quick snack and hit the hay.
The next morning we helped set up for a bit before a history lesson on Hungarian folk music, some singing and some stew – one caterer served about 50 of us from one pot of stew! (find the pic below)! During a midday break we wandered around the resort town and walked around the salt lake -unfortunately not open yet- while the band musicians had mini tutoring sessions with local musicians. The band is made of musicians who attended Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music. It’s sort of the Julliard of Central Europe and if you are in the folk music programme you must be able to play around 500 folk songs at the drop of a hat…with anyone and with no sheet music. It was incredible to witness their talent.
A local wine tasting got everyone in the mood for the band to come onstage and for the folk dance class that happened next. Great fun! As the sun went down a bonfire went up and some meats on a fire kept everyones stomachs full. Impromptu dancing in the rain and staying up way past bedtime with those musicians still at it finished off a phenomenal day.
The bus ride back wasn’t as long thankfully and everyone pretty much passed the time by getting some sleep back. An evening arrival in Budapest and saying goodbye to lots of new friends finished off the Romanian adventure.
Besides this trip and school there was also May Day in Hungary which is celebrated by colorful ribbons in trees and lots of dancing. My Aunt, Uncle and I attended the local celebration and that little taste of folksy activities probably spurned my spirit into the translyvania trip. Until next time!
~ Mindenhét tanulok magyarul es mindenhét beszélek legjobb. Hétvégén, Heather és én voltunk Romániába. Sok táncoltunk! A népzene nagyon jó volt! Nagyon jó útat! Hamarosan beszélunk! ~