So Etyek had been hovering at the edges of my consciousness for quite some while as that place next to Budapest where wine buffs go on sophisticated outings along some sort of picturesque trail, and after long minutes, hours, days spent carefully rotating the divine beverage first in their glass and then along their palate burst into enigmatic verdicts such as full bodied but with a hint of cranberry, austere with a touch of bramble and boysenberry or angular but zesty with notes of charcoal and oak. These people also go there either by car (pity on the designated driver who can’t immerse herself in the zestiness of the day), by suburban bus or possibly horse drawn carriage, for good old MÁV has foolishly constructed its lines just north of the village. Thus, as I am both more of a train and a beer person (insert here the joys of sipping a pilsner while very slowly and carefully making your way into chronic tardiness along the sweeping Hungarian plain), Etyek had remained a terra incognita up until the day I went on the Internet to well, basically waste time, but the alibi was checking out Blade Runner 2049’s Hungarian filming locations.
One of these happened to be the Korda film studios in Etyek (it’s also called Etyekwood but I’ll try to glide over that), and then suddenly I remembered all the coverage of Harrison Ford casually biking around the countryside and popping into restaurants and bars to the delight of locals. So yes, biking is probably an option too, yet we decided to go for the suburban bus instead, which seemed a safer return variant if, say, slightly inebriated. (We were later told by a local in hushed tones that if you happen to be in a bit of state, but drive very slowly and carefully along the village roads, local law enforcement might just pretend you’re that slow and careful for reasons totally unrelated to the staple of local agriculture and slowly and carefully look the other way). We thought we’d gone for the safe bet only to find the platform at Kelenföld overflowing with people- I suddenly wondered when and how had oenological tourism become all the rage only to find out that the majority of the crowd were actually headed for the Premier Outlet which happens to be on the way. They were duly provided an extra bus, the driver of which seemed somewhat angered by this unexpected Saturday morning task, and veered to the platform furiously hitting the curb with the front of his vehicle.
Having thus escaped the throng we were deposited in the centre of Etyek about forty minutes later by a driver of a decidedly more peaceful disposition and duly set out to find a winery. We did this with the usual zero preparation and forethought, guided by local signs and Google maps, First up, we bumped into the Magyar-kút (Hungarian fountain), the springs of which still feed the nearby Nádas lake, but are not drinkable anymore and then also inspected the local Calvary. The insistent presence of holy statues gave this first section of our walk a rather Austrian taste, which is not all that surprising given that Etyek, also known as Edeck, was a predominantly German speaking community up to WWII, when about 80% of the German population was relocated to an area close to Stuttgart and replaced with Hungarian speakers.
The one saint I immediately recognized (I’m generally rubbish at this if we’re not talking Mary and the baby Jesus) was Jan Nepomuk, on account that he’s both the Catholic saint protector of my home town, and I also keep bumping into him abroad in varied places such as Prague, of course, but also Rome, Bruges and now Etyek. Once we passed the Calvary we entered a lush area of vineyards splendidly displaying their autumnal colours in the warm October sun, of which we were to find out that is called Öreghegy (Old Hill) and of the wines we found there we’ll talk in the next installment.
PS: We obviously did not go to the Korda studios, although it was them that set the whole day into motion, but for anyone excited by such projects, there’s a visitor centre open during weekdays, from 10 to 6 PM.