By Andrew Neathery |
When we arrived in Europe, we were informed about the history and culture of the Hungarian people. I wanted to talk with some authentic Hungarian people. I was less interested in what our tour guides suggested. They told us to go visit the tourist locations and the well-known parts of Hungary, but I wanted to do as the locals do and go where the locals go. I wanted to understand a day in the life of the natives. These are the bios of the amazing people I had the privilege of interviewing.
“I make this art to make money for my kids, but what I really want to do is make contemporary art.”
Tibor Lukács is a painter in the Hungarian town of Szentendre. We found Tibor outside his shop creating beautiful pieces of wildlife, the countryside and architecture. Born in 1960, Tibor has painted his whole life. He said when he first started painting, he couldn’t stop. In his early life, Tibor wanted to be a painter but instead studied architecture under the Soviet Union. His main inspiration for his paintings is to make enough money to support his wife and two children. Tibor creates beautiful paintings of wildlife and landscapes, but he says he would rather create contemporary modern art.
“I skateboard every day.”
Three and a half years ago, 16-year-old David started skateboarding. David is a native Hungarian high schooler who spends his free time skateboarding with his friends. His friends and him were trying a new location the day we met them, but they said there is another great spot to skate across the Danube River in the Pest side of Budapest. His favorite skateboarder is America’s own Na-Kel Smith, and his favorite skate brand is Element Skate, which he represented with his own board. David tried to show me his favorite tricks, the 50-50 grind and the frontside 180, although close, he was unable to stick the landing before we said goodbye.
“I came to Szentendre to retire.”
Piroska is a shop owner in the city of Szentendre. After living in Budapest for most of her life, she retired two years ago and moved to Szentendre to run a Hungarian wine and souvenir shop, which she said normally caters to tourists and visitors of the town. Before retiring, she used to sell electronic components through the foreign trade market. When asked what she recommended to see or try while in Szentendre, she pointed to two bottles of wine in her shop. The first was a bottle of Tokaji, a local white wine made in Hungary, and the other an Aszú, the red variation of the wine. Tokaji wine is considered one of the world’s oldest sweet wines.
Attila & Berta:
“We have fresh honey from the city of Páty.”
Attila and Berta are honey salesmen on the ground floor at the local farmers market. Attila is from the Hungarian city of Páty where he owns and runs a bee farm. The honey is mostly made from the bee nectar but they also make a selection of honey made out of canola. Attila did not speak any English but luckily, Berta was there as his official translator. Berta started working for Attila five years ago after a friend had showed her the open job at the farmers market. Berta lives 45-minutes away in the town of Gödölló. She had said that a 45-minute commute was an average commute for students and workers that do not live in the city.
“Most Famous Hungarian Sausage… Yum Yum.”
Szilvia and her husband are cured meats and cold cut salesmen at the large local market next to the Corvinus University of Budapest. She’s a native to Budapest. When she is not working, she is a house wife. Before working at the market, she used to work in a chicken shop selling meat. She admitted that her English was not very good, but she seemed excited to be practicing with a native speaker. When asked what kind of dried meat she recommended the “Most Famous Hungarian Sausage” and the “Mangalica Sausage” which comes from Hungarian pigs which grow larger than normal pigs and also have thick curly hair. As a thank you for answering my questions I bought a package of Csemege meat sticks. Unfortunately, she did not feel comfortable being photographed, but was more than happy to let me take a picture of the meats.
“I have been making these for 25 years.”
Christina is a cloth maker in the town of Szentendre. She has lived there for 28 years and has made handmade cloths, fabrics, and crochets. She is originally from Transylvania, Romania but moved to Szentendre for work. Unfortunately, she did not speak English very well and had to cut the interview early, but she was a great example of the artists in Szentendre. Christina is a great example of how the artists living in the Szentendre master their craft and make a living creating their art.
“I am a student here, but I am also a professional power lifter.”
Eszter Fedor is an international business major at Corvinus University in Budapest. Eszter was born in the city of Miskolc, but is from the city of Tiszaùjuàros. She says a normal day for her in Budapest is to wake up, go to the gym before class, go to school for a few hours, eat lunch with friends, relax, and on special days go to one of the clubs at night. Eszter said that tourists should go see the Citadel and Gellèrt Hill, but if we wanted to see something especially entertaining, we should look into the A38 Ship. The A38 ship is a unique party boat that regularly has live bands, concerts, and DJs along with a well-reviewed restaurant and bar.
Eszter trains at the gym almost every day, because besides being a student, she is also a professional power lifter. She competes in the deadlift, bench press, and the power squat. She proudly told me her personal record for the deadlift of 134 kg which is roughly 295 lbs.