My friend and I woke up late. While most of our days in Hungary had been peppered with incessant activity (my beloved walking tour being one such activity), our agenda for this afternoon consisted only of things we may previously have imagined ourselves doing in another life – perhaps one in which we were genteel, rather wealthy, and used the word ‘summer’ as a verb.
We began with a wine tasting session; we walked down into a blond-wooded cellar lined with gorgeous bottles, with names reminiscent of feelings rather than tastes carefully calligraphed across their bellies. There was one bottle labelled ‘Delhi’. We were told this was because its scent evoked Indian summers. We inhaled too, but we concluded you had to be an expert to detect any whiff of smoke or spices in the wine before us.
Our guide presented us with six miniature goblets each, full of wine in varying degrees of red. The palest one was barely a shade darker than the lightest pink one could imagine; I remember seeing it glitter under the sunlight beaming in through a small window above my friend’s head. The pale pink wine had traces of sweet berry, our guide explained. He had grown up on a vineyard, he confided, and he knew nothing as well as he knew wine. I was fascinated.
We left the cellar in that excellent state of inebriation between being happy and feeling pleasantly sleepy. We had lunch at a traditional cafe where we insisted on more wine to test our knowledge, and made our way to the Széchenyi Thermal Bath. We sank into the deliciously warm water, dipping our heads back, letting the bath soothe our alcohol-slackened limbs. We lay back and watched the sun go down. We spoke about a few things on our minds, but mostly we just looked at the dome and the spires of the castle-like building that houses the bath, and vowed to return.
What if everyday were like this?