2 hours ago
Day 24: sunday 10th september 2017
budapest - zánka
‘the house in the uri utca was full of helpful books.’ - between the woods & the water
we only just made it to andras’ house on barton bela utca in time for dinner on saturday evening. arriving in pomáz earlier that afternoon after the walk down from dobogókő, we’d tried to order a taxi back to budapest through a local pizzeria. over an hour later it still hadn’t arrived, so gabor – the pizza delivery man – took pity on us and gave us a lift back budapest in his old banger. the car was lacking in suspension, seatbelts and back seats, but it was a fast-moving, and we were desperate. we arrived at tara’s flat in pest just in time to bathe and change for dinner.
andras had promised us a dinner with other ‘romantic souls’, who in the end comprised our friendly plf enthusiast michael o’sullivan, the writer norman stone, a young hungarian opera singer, andras’ wife nora and a beautiful young woman who, as far as i could make out, andras and nora had taken in as a girl. she was from the roma community, and it transpired that andras was a leading campaigner for the protection of roma children in hungary, and had set up a foundation to do just that.
whilst andras was barbequing dinner, nora showed me and tara their library, and i was delighted to spot some jilly cooper amongst the more literary english translations.
being the generous soul that he was, and keen to carry on our conversation about books, andras insisted on driving me the two hours or so to zánka on the north shore of lake balaton the following day (where i would be spending the remainder of my trip). we stopped in the pretty but very touristy villagr of tihany before lunch at one of his favourite restaurants. andras shook his head in disapproval when i said i’d been urged to read the transylvanian trilogy by miklós bánff (the ‘hungarian tolstoy’), telling me that he would send me something better. a few months later, this battered translation of géza ottlik’s school at the frontier arrived at my office. we plan to swap notes when i return to hungary.