Blood of the Bull
At a wine bar in town.
Drinking wine in one of the caves.
Rooftops in Eger.
June 30, 2006
When my sister said she wanted to go to Budapest, I told her that we could go on the grounds of one condition. It was that we
would go into the town of Eger on one of the days that we were in Hungary. The reason for this was because I was just in
Budapest less than three years ago. Even back then I wanted to try to get to Eger but time would not permit. I knew I would
eventually come back to Budapest and when I did, I would then visit Eger.
Many people might be asking what this Eger town that I am talking about is all about. I can answer this in one word. Wine.
This should explain it all. But I will still elaborate…
My friend told me about this town years back. He had studied in Budapest but highly recommended Eger as a little sidetrip.
The keywords he referenced were ‘wineries’, ‘wine tasting’, ‘getting wasted’, etc. This was all it took for me.
Well, we arrived in Eger yesterday morning. Day #12 of the Jennifer/Michelle combo would bring our true selves more to the
surface. Michelle went ‘uber-planner’ on me when we arrived and asked me what I wanted to do. I told her I didn’t know. She
informed me that it was my idea to come to this town. I told her I knew this. I also told her that all I really knew was that I
wanted to drink wine. She wanted to know what else I wanted to do. I informed her that I didn’t read anything on the town
and that she was the one who had been reading about it and had been telling me random tidbits of things she had found in her
guidebook regarding things to do there. She then got huffy puffy on me and unloaded two f-bombs. Just to show her who is still
boss after twenty-nine years on this earth, I unloaded three f-bombs back on her. Ahhh…sisterly love was sure in the air.
We eventually limited our profanities to one per sentence before we completely made up and explored the town. Just for the
record, Eger is not a town that you need a ‘plan’ in. It’s a great, charming older town that is meant for walking up and down the
narrow cobblestone streets.
Within a few hours it would be time to walk to Szepasszony-volgy. This translates to ‘Valley of the Beautiful Women’. This is
where beautiful grapes are turned into beautiful wines. Their most famous wine in this region is the Egri Bikaver. This is
nicknamed ‘Bull’s Blood’. Way back when, the Hungarians were able to hold their own against the Turks when Eger was under
siege. The Turks noticed the Hungarians’ red beards and were convinced that they were drinking bull’s blood to gain their
strength. Obviously this was not the case. The Hungarians just loved their Bikaver wine. And this is how the name ‘Bull’s
Blood’ was born.
Michelle and I were in the right frame of mind in the beginning of the day to know that we needed lunch before wine tasting.
We went to a restaurant and to make a long story short, this would also be where I left my camera. I had no idea until we were
well on our way wine tasting. It was a happy moment when I went back to the restaurant and it was still there. I have now
almost lost my wallet twice and my camera once (never mind the sunglasses I actually did lose)…I need to stop doing this.
Wine tasting there was amazing. Every place is so small and so cave-like. Nobody charges for tastings and if you want a glass of
wine they are literally about twenty-five cents. I brought my empty Coke bottle and found a Bikaver that I liked. I had them
fill my Coke bottle with this wine and it came to well less than fifty cents. This is how it’s done here. You could buy a real
bottle. Or you could bring your own bottle and let them fill it for you (1-liter is less than $2). They also had merlots in this
area…but different than those at home. These were semi-sweet. Quite tasty. One of their sweet reds was a ‘medina’—very
tasty as well. Overall, this Valley of the Beautiful Women was a heaven. After hopping from place to place to place (to place to
place…), we made our way back to the town. Maybe I should say that we stumbled our way back to town…
I have to admit that the word ‘Bikaver’ is a fun word to say while you’re drunk. I kept saying it over and over and over. I then
turned it into ‘Beaker’ and thought of that cute little muppet. I couldn’t remember if he was missing eyes, nose or a
mouth…but I swore there was some face part that he was lacking. Poor guy. After I started singing the Muppet Show theme
song, my sister started bringing up other stuff from back in the day and started talking about the Smurfs and the Snorkels. I
told her that they were Snorks – not Snorkels. She didn’t believe me. If there is somebody that could solve this for us, that
would be fabulous. Until then, I’m going to assume that I am correct.
All I remember after this was calling her husband and giving him a hard time on his voicemail for not having his phone turned
on. I then called my old roommate well before I knew she would be awake for work and gave her a wake-up call all the way
across the world in Hungary. My sister was thinking that this was a call that she wouldn’t appreciate. I knew she would love it.
And she did. At least I think she did…