Hanging Out in Rockford: Two Sándors—part three

My son Drew and I have arrived in Pécs. I am in love with the little European hotel room. Nothing is left to the imagination. The utmost use of the small amount of space has been achieved by using furniture that is obviously calculated to maximize utility. After we get our room, Drew and I head downtown to the walking mall. Drew has a church he wants to show me. We walk and walk. Finally, he lets me take a break at a little winery where the glasses of wine are about a buck.

We work our way back down to the mall, and listen to a band that is playing in the street. There is quite a large crowd of people gathered. A little farther on, we see a dress shop where there is a beautiful outfit in the window. I have been telling Drew that I want to get something special for Katy since without her help, I couldn’t have come on this trip at all, and we go into the shop to look at the outfit. We are not sure about sizes, however, and Drew discourages me from buying it. He says when buying clothes as gifts for women that you always get either the size or the style wrong. There is a certain wisdom in his thinking, and we leave without making a purchase.

Later, he is talking to his girlfriend Iza on the phone, and I ask about the European size 36 and how it relates to American sizes. She says it is either a small or a very small, and then I am sure I want to take a chance on buying the outfit. Drew is still opposed because of the style thing, but I think I have a pretty good idea of Katy’s sense of style. I am sure she will like it, and we go back, but the store is now closed.

That evening, we eat at a Hungarian/Turkish version of a gyros joint. The food isn’t very authentically Greek, but what it lacks in authenticity it makes up for in freshness. The following morning, we head down to the dress shop and pick up the present for Katy. By now, I am excited and sure she will like it. I just have a feeling. We walk to the train station (walk, walk, and more walk) and catch the train to Villány. Aboard the train, we look at some of the tourist brochures we have picked up and make fun of the English translations.

Then, we arrive in Villány, and again it is the walking thing. I have started to toughen up somewhat, but my legs always get tired before my son’s. We walk into town past a big commercial winery and continue up a big hill, past rows of little wineries that are closed because it is a weekday. Finally, we spy a larger winery that is open, and we head in. People are sitting in the outer patio eating what appears to be delicious-looking food, and I am hungry. (Polgár Wine Cellar: http://www.polgarpince.hu/). Drew tells me this is a former state winery that has been privatized.

Inside, the woman attendant seems to be ignoring us. I stand at the top of the stairs and want to go down to the lower level where, in my mind, I perceive there is a restaurant. Drew discourages me, and he turns out to be right. Finally, a big party exits, and the people running the place turn their attention to us. The woman brings us a wine list, and from it we select several half glasses of wine. The chardonnay is particularly delicious. We aren’t as impressed by the reds, although they are definitely drinkable.

Then, the gentleman who also is named Sándor, like our mayor of the day before, takes us down into the cellar. Now I am beginning to understand, and the cellar tour is fascinating. We are approximately 70 meters underground, and the temperature is a rock-solid 50 degrees or so. The humidity is high. Sándor give us the full tour, winding up with the private cellaring areas that are available for rent to corporations and wealthy patrons. You can hear a podcast of our clowning around at Budacast.hu.

More next week.

Mike Leifheit’s “Hanging Out In Rockford” reviews locally-owned restaurants, businesses and Rockford life. Leifheit is owner of the Irish Rose restaurant in the downtown River District.

from the July 11-17, 2007, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!