Before arriving in Budapest, we stopped in a town called Vac (to be pronounced as Vaats). Without any money, the Hungarian Forint, no idea about the currency and without any knowledge of the language. Vac is a cute little town, where they have done archealogical research and found things dated from the 12 century in the middle of the town.
The town in situated at the banks of the Danube river. Ones we succeeded in getting money out of the bankdistributor, we decided to go and have a coffee in a nice café not far from the Danube river. There we had an unexpected and great encounter. We met Eszter, who could speak good english, we had a talk with her about the purpose of our trip. At the end of the conversation we agreed in calling Eszter two days later and see if we can meet and record the singing of a good friend of hers that has a magnificent voice.
We then continued our journey to Budapest and arrived there later that sunday afternoon. We visited the citadelle in the city, just at the banks of the Danube river. From the top of the Citadelle we had a nice view over the city and also the imposing river cutting the city in two sides.
The Monday the whole day went in running aronds. The van had a little hickup. Everytime we were driving in the first and second gear it made an awful sound. We decided to let a ford dealer looked at it. After our second attempt we found a Ford dealer that could repair it. It was nothing serious, the only think is that there was a rubber band who lost its elasticity and was making this awfull sound. For 15 euros and two hours of waiting we succeeded in getting it repaired, so off we went again.
On that evening we decided to go in search of musicians. We were hoping to find nice places this time, as the evening before we didn't succeed in finding a nice cosy neigbourhood where young people go out, have some drinks and some fun. This time we were better equiped as we got a small newsmagazine of the city in which we found information about bars, cafés and discos where live music is played. We found a bar named Potkulcs that had music programmed the following night.
That night we assisted in another pub to the performance of a boysband composed of three musicians (guitar, battery, bass) and a singer playing Sting music in a pub (every breath you take, every move you make...............).
Discovering the city that night I got the strong impression that there is something mysterious about this city. In the night the streets are a little bit dark, as the streetlights are very dimmed. The places to go out are hidden behind walls and in building you don't expect anything. Two bars we found were in buildings that seemed abandonned. In one of the bars, the bartender explained to us that the building used to be appartment building were people used to live. A real estate entrepreneur paid everybody out of the building with the intention of having the old building tore down and to construct new appartments. The only thing he/she apparantly didn't take into consideration was that the old building was classified as patrimoine of the city, so the autorities refused for him to demolish the building. So he decided to create a cultural centre where artists expose their art and in the court there is a bar where people can have drinks. I thought that the misterious side of the city, made it a perfect place to make a movie about clandestine political groups during a time of dicatorship..........
In order to know more about the city, I visited the Historical Museum of Budapest in the castle on the left bank of the Danube river. So this capital, declared as such in mid 19th century. A few years before proclaming the city as the capital, the two sites of the river, one side called Buda and the other side called Pest were reunificated. The Turks (Ottoman Empire) invaded and occupied part of Hungary. They arrived until Buda (where they stayed for 1,5 century), they didn't succeeded in crossing the river, so Pest remained in the hands of the Austrians. The reunification of the two cities took place one century later after the western allies succeeded in getting the Turks out of the country.
On the Tuesday we went to listen to the band we knew where playing Hungarian Folk music in the bar Potkulcs. The band played music from the North Eastern region of Hungary. The artists agreed with us registering their performance. So the band, called Renkontra (the leader of the band is Mate Hegedus, who was playing the violin himself ) composed of 4 to 5 musicians and 1 singer. The instruments were two violin, one contrebass and one symballum. I didn't know this instrument.
The instrument was like a table with strings attached to it. The gentleman was playing it with two sticks. On the top of the sticks it seemed as though he had cotton balls attached at one end. After their performance we had a small talk with a few of the musicians who were curious about the recordings. In general we noticed that people are nicely surprised about the good sound quality that comes out of the recording equipment.
By Wednesday we celebrated in Budapest our 3.000 kilometers milage and we went back to Vac in the afternoon, because in the meantime Eszter confirmed us that we could meet the singer that same day. It is a good thing that we had our contract translated by Paige Mitchel, our favorite translator we already mentioned with her agency called Le Sens (a big thanks to her!!!). This contract specifies matters between us the producers and the artists, stating that we will not make commercial usage of any recording and that the product of our journey, the CD will be distributed for free.
Anita Nabelik and her manager wanted things to be putten on paper. As the paper was ready, we only needed to fill it out and sign it. Thanks to the help of Eszter who translated everything in Hungarian, we succeeded in understanding eachother and making everything clear. We had a private performance from Anita, singing three Folk Hungarian songs for us, with an amazing voice. She was not accompanied by any musicans, but that was not necessary taking into consideration that she fills the room with her voice.
We truly thank all the artists for their performance and the fact that they agreed with us recording their music. Also a thank you goes to Eszter for having organized this nice encounter with Anita and all the precious help she gave us in bridging the language barrier.
That evening we stayed in a town called Veroce in the north of Vac on the banks of the Danube river.
In the meantime we bought a more detailed map and went in search of a quiet place to stay two days. We saw that by leaving the Budapest region and going to the East we will find parks. First we found ourselves in a part that looked like "Argentina Pampas", completely flat with no trees in the horizon giving us the impression that we are in a park. The following day, we did find the Hortobagy Nemzeti Park, where we decided to stay among the mosquitos before leaving Hungary. In the park different kind of birds breed and live. Finally we stayed Thursday and Friday night in the region and hit the road with direction to Roumania today Saturday 12 of September.