ITINERARY — Music and Culture Tour (Basic)

Day 1: Budapest — Palatca (Magyarpalatka)

We depart Budapest at 9.30am and have a relatively long drive across the border into Romania and on to the village of Palatca. After stopping for a meal and a walk by the river in the foothills of the mountains, we arrive at our destination in the evening. Accommodation will be with local families and after eating dinner together, everyone will be shown to their respective houses.
Accommodation: Village family, Palatca

Day 2: Palatca (Magyarpalatka)

After breakfast, we will hear all about the music, dance and traditions of the area, whilst enjoying the shade under the trees in the orchard with two of the local musicians. A home cooked lunch with their family is followed by a small tour of the village. Travelling the way of the locals, by horse and cart, we will visit the old communist collective farm and the village shepherds. After a look at the traditional way of making sheep's cheese, we finish the tour back at the musicians house, enjoy a home cooked meal with the village band and a drink in the Rom pub with the band and dancers.
Accommodation: Village family, Palatca

Day 3: Ture

Leaving Palatca after breakfast, we will check into our hotel in Cluj Napoca (Kolosvar) in the morning. This town was the centre of culture and capital of Transylvania throughout history. It is now a strange mixture of beautiful 14th–18th century architecture and ugly communist blocks of the Ceausescu regime. After a shower and a short rest, we carry on to the village of Ture. Stopping on the way, you will see a village famous in the area for its stonework. Beautifully carved stones and sculptures feature on many of the houses in the village and the locals still work with stone today. Lunch with our host family in Ture is followed by a walk through the village, visiting the church and a few houses to see the amazing carved wooden gates, painting and costumes of the area. The evening will be spent with the local musicians and our host family. After a drink under the walnut tree, a home cooked Hungarian meal and lots of music, we will return to the hotel when we are ready.
Accommodation: Hotel Crystal, Cluj Napoca

Day 4: Cluj Napoca (Kolosvár) and Torda

This morning is a chance to sleep in or take the opportunity of a free morning to look around Cluj Napoca. After meeting at 12pm we will drive out of town and enjoy a picnic lunch followed by a walk through the dauntingly beautiful Torda gorge. After dinner in town, participants are free to rest or enjoy the night life of Cluj Napoca.
Accommodation: Hotel Crystal, Cluj Napoca

Day 5: Szék

After breakfast at the hotel, we move on to the village of Szek. Built over a layer of salt, this village has always traded and was historically fairly well off. We will make a small detour in the morning to visit a working salt mine in Dej and arrive in time for lunch. After lunch relax in the brightly blue painted interiors while learning about the music,dance and culture of this fascinating village. A short walk in the early evening over the salt swamp, is followed by an evening with our hosts.
Accommodation: Village family

Day 6: Szék

In the morning we will look at the oldest house in town, wander through town with the geese, visit the Protestant church and stop for a drink in the pub/cafe overlooking the village. After lunch we will have our first dance class with some of the best dancers from the village. Once again we will eat together with our host family then spend a quiet evening with them and our dance teachers.
Accommodation: Village family

Day 7: Szék

With an emphasis today on cooking, eating and dancing, we begin with a look at how bread and cakes are made in the wood fired oven in the morning. After lunch we continue with our dance classes and try our hands at rolling cabbage rolls. The band will arrive for dinner, after which we will spend the evening with the musicians, dance teachers and a few of the locals, for a chance to try out the new steps with live music!
Accommodation: Village family

Day 8: Budapest

Travelling back towards Hungary we visit the 600 year old castle ruin in Bonchida. This castle was a popular resting place for gentry travelling between Budapest and Bucharest in 18 hundreds and is famous amongst musicians for the story of Count Banffy and his coat. When the count was returning from Budapest in the snowy winter, he asked for his Bunda (Big sheep skin coat) to be brought to the train station. His staff misheard and brought his Banda (Band) who played for him on the cold platform as he got off the train! Moving on towards the border, we stop at the famous street- side markets were you can buy anything from a bottle to a spun, woven, died and embroidered bedspread-all hand made of course! Continuing through the hills and forest we have lunch and some spectacular views at the highest point of our return journey. We will arrive at the Budapest airport by 7.30pm where the tour finishes. If you are staying in Budapest, you will be dropped off close to, or at your accommodation. Please advise us if you are not staying in Budapest and we will try to accommodate any onward travel connections.

*Any participant can choose to rest, or do local sightseeing from the hotel, rather than joining the daily or evening programs if feeling like some time out (The cost of meals, entry tickets and travel in such cases will not be covered by the tour).

Itinerary subject to change

General Information for Travellers