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The Good Life in Aggtelek National Park Part 88: Kolorcity Festival - Muzsikás, Illés Emlékzenekar, Wine Tasting, Bird Ringing C

gumi centaurAugust 20th not only marked a national holiday in Hungary, but also the last day of the 3-week long Kolorcity Festival. Kata and I, together with our friends Jon and Györgyi went to Kazincbarcika to taste some wine and hear Muzsikás, Miskolc Illés Emlékzenekar and Péter Geszti who used to sing in Rapülők and Jazz + Az. We at first went to the wrong site for the concert and found ourselves in a park. This was a good mistake, because the girls discovered a set of amazing sculptures made from reused rubber tyres. Unfortunately, there was no information to be found concerning the sculptures or the artist responsible, but Györgyi tracked the info down on the internet - László Demeter. Back on the main road Györgyi spotted the Castello Pastry Shop and we stopped for an ice-cream. My mango-lime was good, but the fig-ricotta just tasted like vanilla. Jon said Gellért Szó's Őrség Zöld Aranya, cake of the year 2016, was pretty good. The cake is made with pumpkin seed oil from the Őrség, almond flour, raspberry jelly, white chocolate, wafers and pumpkin seed praline. The cake was not Castello's recipe, but pastry shops around the country are able to use the winning recipe. We parked at the Castello and walked 5 minutes up to the main square. Jon and I went down the row of wine kiosks and chose our poison; only to be disappointed to learn that we needed to purchase glasses for 800 HUF a piece. This important information would have been good to be aware in the advertising literature. Instead, we were 3600 huf out of pocket before we even tasted a drop. Not even a free wine tasting ticket was included in the price. Shame on you! I have enjoyed some of Tamás Sike's red wines, so I thought I would try his Sauvignon Blanc for a change, but was very disappointed. The best sauvignon blanc I have ever tasted was at the Horvath Vineyard on St. George Hill with its overpowering aroma of blue cheese. While Sike's had a bit of nose, it was flavourless. I chose badly again with the Árvay Vineyard's dry Muscat blanc. Kata's bubbly rosé from the Juhász Vineyard was good, as was Györgyi's Tokaji 'Angi' Cuvée 2014 (Muscat blanc-furmint) from Árvay. We contented ourselves by sitting at a table by the wines and listening to the music from about 100m away. The music was good until the Illés Memorial Band began playing tunes from the hard rock musical István the King which I have never liked. Prices, as usual for festivals in Hungary were outrageous. For example, 900 huf for a tiny döner kebab. The exception was the El Mundo Lángos stand that advertises itself as the best lángos in the region. It is race too close to call, since the place we go to in Sajószentpéter is also quite good. El Mundo was quick, efficient, professional, fresh, and the cheese-sour cream lángos absolutely normally priced at 450 huf. It would have been interesting to hear Péter Geszti, but we were getting tired and headed home before the fireworks.

Jon enjoys bird watching so we went on a short hike the next morning to visit the XXXI. Bódva Valley Bird Migration Research and Nature Protection Camp which runanp madar tabors from now until the end of October. Visitors are always welcome. The basic objective of the camp is to monitor the developments in migrating bird populations from both the conservation and scientific perspectives. The researchers are always looking for volunteers to work alongside the professionals at the camp to assist with catching, examining and ringing the birds. Previous technical expertise is not required - all applicants will receive adequate training on the spot. Students, adults, and entire families may apply. Both groups and individual candidates are welcome. Besides the bird ringing routine there is ample opportunity to attend national park excursions, tours and lectures, as well as a number of local programmes and sightseeing. (Information and Registration: Roland Farkas, Tel: (48) 506-000, (30) 63-75-149,, mandalavilag kapalawebpage). We arrived just in time to see them emptying the bags of birds from 50 nets strung through the area. The birds' vital statistics are recorded and then the birds are ringed before being released. I saw quite a few small puffball mushrooms along the trail which I hope will grow to edible size.

Back at home we cooked a savoury zucchini cake, spicy tofu with Judas ear mushrooms, a risotto with cep and chanterelle mushrooms, corn on the cob, a mango-banana cake and watermelon gazpacho. Before leaving, Györgyi gave us a copy of her amazing Mandala Világ adult colouring book.

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