Beautiful Blue Danube Waltz - 2002

It was raining pretty hard when we arrived so umbrellas were a necessity to explore this village. The local guides showed us first to the public restrooms where for 40 forints we could get comfortable again before any detailed explorations. Then the local ladies led us into a community hall where we watched three tiny ladies dressed in traditional garb perform a couple of local dances for us. Their dresses feature heavy embroidery on every surface, short skirts over several “crinoline” type underskirts to make the outer skirt stand out stiffly. These enthusiastic performers persuaded many of our large group to join them in a sort of ring dance for one more go-round before they took us outside again to be welcomed into the village formally by Elizabeth and her crew who began busily popping corn over an open fire for the visitors. It soon began landing merrily outside the big pan but enough remained trapped inside it to give us all a delicious handful. This is apparently a time-honored way of greeting newcomers, guests and visitors. Elizabeth is a tiny little lady of indeterminate age with a huge smile on her face and great dignity and pride in her bearing. Her ensemble was handmade and she had every right to be proud of the beautiful and complicated embroidery patterns it featured. Her face was round and rosy and rather wide with crinkly glowing eyes that didn’t seem to miss anything. We all tried to convey our hellos and thanks in halting and probably much mangled Hungarian, but she and the others smiled encouragingly and seemed to get the idea that we were happy to be in their midst. Next they took us into tiny shops which are located in some of the oldest houses converted for commercial use. Among these “shop-houses” were also a few museum houses. These buildings and their contents gave us little hints about the villagers’ traditional way of life. There were many little handcrafted items for sale, most of them featuring embroidery and hand painted floral designs. Obviously, these crafts are the most prominent in Hungary.

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