We woke up early on Sunday, out of habit more than anything else, and so we waited in the room for about 30 minutes until we knew the breakfast would be ready. Most hotels that you stay at in Europe offer a free breakfast included with the price of the room. Of course some are better than others, and they all feature local tastes. In central Europe there are lunch meats, breads, cheeses, coffee, mostly. Sometimes there are hot items and sometimes there are eggs (mostly for the English and Americans). The shock of seeing raw bacon served next to the other deli meats has mostly worn off me, though my gut is still to look around and see if anyone else has noticed they forgot to cook the bacon.
The breakfast at the Gróf Degenfeld Castle Hotel and Winery was very good. And the upside of it being a smaller hotel is that when we sat down, the breakfast server came to us and asked what hot items we would like to have prepared. It was not an extra charge, which was fantastic, and we could have anything from omlets to french toast to cooked bacon!
After breakfast we walked around the grounds of the hotel a little bit. We didn’t bring our bathing suits, though the weather would have been perfect for a swim in the afternoon. But it was nice to see the small, indoor wellness facilities and the lovely pool enclosed in pine.
We went back into Tokaj so that we could see a bit more of the town and buy some wine before driving back to Budapest. The first thing that we did before losing too much energy was to climb to the lookout above the river. From the top, you can see more of the region and also the Zemplén mountains. Incidentally, Zemplén (the region in Slovakia) is where my maternal grandmother’s family came from. I hadn’t expected it to be so close to Hungary, but I’m really glad I was able to get a few pictures for my grandmother.
I’m so glad that we decided to go to Tokaj at this particular time of year, because without the hoards of tourists spilling through the town, you get a chance to see it in its simple, sleepy form.
And though there were some people roaming around the streets, preparing for a little local band performance, attending the shops, steaming milk for cappuccinos, it was still very quiet.
It was only about 10:30 by that point, and still too early for lunch, which we had planned on getting before going back to Budapest. So we did the only sensible thing to do on a quiet Sunday in a quiet wine town: sit outside and have a glass of wine.
We sat for a while just enjoying the sunshine and watching locals walk up and down the brick streets, saying hello to neighbors and shop owners. Other restaurants were just opening and waiters were clearing off tables and stick debris that was still blowing around town from the storms two days earlier. It was a really dreamy experience. My camera died right after this picture, though I think it too fell under the influence of the calm and peaceful town, and probably, just had to go to rest for awhile.