Monday, December 27, 2004


Two days after Christmas. Lucia, Eldar and I spent three days in the Matra mountains in the villages of Matraszentimre and Galyateto. Snow was on the ground, the air was cold and fresh. There was no outdoor advertising and little but the sound of silence. To stand out on the balcony and watch the evergreens bend with the wind, the blankets of white atop the village homes, the smell of woodburning fires and the accompanying wiffs of smoke from the chimneys. No rumble of distant traffic, no glow of urban lights were anywhere close. It helps that we were here in Hungary and that the mountains are modest in height - 1000m - there's little to lure big money. So what you find was built mostly with small money. The house we stayed in was a handmade stone dwelling, built on a slope so that the driveway met the second storey. Inside a tightly winding spiral stair case connected the three floors, the bottom of which held the beds, fireplace and kitchen of the owners, while the upper two floors were for guests. The square pillar that ran up the middle of the staircase was paneled with particle board, stained borwn with moulding trimming the corners and adorning the middle of each side. It was a sort of particle board I'd never seen made with large chunks and wafers of wood whose grains showed clearly through the stain. The construction told such story of frugal craftsmanship and ingenuity.

We watched the surging brilliance of a wood fire through the glass door of a Franklin stove in the more civil of the town's two pubs. Lucia and I enjoyed mugs of Gluwein and Eldar drank and apple juice.


Post a Comment

<< Home