DAY 1: The AALP Alumni and Friends Tour 2016 got underway on Friday, Sept. 30, with a "Welcome to Hungary" dinner on the Danube. Twenty-two AALP and AGLead New York alumni and friends raised a glass at dinner to celebrate the start of their 14 days in Hungary and Romania. Friday saw the group visiting a number of sites in the City of Budapest with the history going back more than 2000 years. The group then traveled to rural Hungary to learn more about typical farm and rural life.
DAY 2: The AALP Alumni and Friends Tour 2016 traveled to Hortobagy to visit the Hungarian Puszta - the flat region in the Hungarian Great Plain. Typical farm life in Hortobagy has survived, as have the ancient domesticated animals: walking turkeys; bare-necked hens; Guinea-fowl; blond, red and swallow colored mangalica; a long-hair, wooly lard pig; and the Hungarian Grey cattle. We even came upon an annual cattle auction of these magnificent animals.
Lunch along the way in a circa-1700 inn and then on to Eger, in the foothills. The group enjoyed a winery tour through the Thummerer Cellars, carved in to the limestone hills, tastings and a wonderful dinner at this private wine cellar which has achieved outstanding results in the recent past.
The wine and the dinner were both excellent. Of interest was the "Egri Bikaver" (Bull's Blood), a robust red wine which the Turkish invaders believed to have strength-giving properties. Wine has been made in this region for over 1000 years. The group then headed back to their boutique hotel in Eger for a good night's rest.