This was in the first village we attended a camp, spelled out in the title of this post.* Jim (left) and Elek(our teacher on the right) are giving an attentive J a lesson on the bratsche. (The instrument Jim is holding.) Yup, J jumped straight into bratsche lessons and did very well, especially considering he hasn't had any musical training.
Elek is a sweet, sweet man who would offer palinka and coffee as soon as we arrived for lessons in the morning and afternoon. Sadly I had to decline the palinka offer but probably learned more as a result. He spent most nights playing until the wee hours of the morning at the tanchaz so was very tired during our lessons and near the end of the week, there was more drinking than playing. Though he found it difficult to slow down tunes in order for slowpokes like me and an aussie girl (Jim is a whiz so was probably a bit bored) I still managed to learn quite a few tunes and learning by ear got easier the more I did it. Maybe it was my early Suzuki training coming back to the rescue!
The pace of the week was quite pleasant. I would get up, go for breakfast (sausage, peppers and bread, oh my!), go to the lesson, eat a lunch of nasty oily soup and some sort of meat and potatoes, sleep, go to another lesson, eat a dinner of nasty meat and potatoes......again (we ate mass-produced camp food and not with our host family), hang out for a bit on the camp grounds and then head home to, you guessed it, sleep! Because I couldn't drink, I did a lot of sleeping.
Our host, Etta, was very hospitable and would ramble at us in Hungarian, knowing full well we understood nothing. We were fortunate enough to have a shower and a sink but since the village has no sewage system, my many nocturnal toilet trips involved a trek through a chicken coop in the dark with two barky dogs rabidly trying to break away from their chains.... oh yeah, and the outhouse was right next to the pen of a certain huge, squealy, pig. I have now perfected the art of breathing through my mouth.
Being in the hills of Transylvania was a welcome break from the heat of Sicily and Budapest, for that matter. In fact, we were rained on almost every day. Though this meant muddy shoes and pant cuffs (no paved roads) I welcomed the moisture knowing I would miss it once I was back in Sicily. Sho'nuff she's drier than, well, something really dry, and B ain't diggin'.
*Transylvania used to belong to Hungary and many villages are still largely Hungarian in population. The Romanian government gave each village a Romanian name (Voivodeni) but most 'city limit' signs have both the Hungarian and Romanian names.