DAY 1 … ROLLING IN GYULA … 50TH GYULA THEATER AND ALL-ARTS FESTIVAL … STUDY TOUR

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Participated by invitation for a two-day study tour during June, 22 and 23. to the City of Gyula, organized by the Gyulai Castle Theater and the Gyulai Tourism  Non-profit Ltd.,  together with other media representatives. Was  kinda  road show,  getting acquainted of  the life and culture the city which offers for the locals and the Hungarians from other parts of the country and a terrific  showcase for the foreigners boarding, living in Hungary that beside Budapest, the Capital and the Lake Balaton there are places which are  indeed worthwhile to visit. Throughout our study tour “our guardian angel” was Ms. Aliz  Komoróczki, Manager  at the Gyulai Tourism Non-profit Ltd , who made a splendid and enjoyable stay for all of us.

The drive from Budapest to Gyula took 3 hours. Upon arrival our first stop … why not … we were taken to the  famous pálinka manufacture at Gyula.  It was so refreshing after the ride. Whether arriving individually or with a bunch of people, as a group this cozy spot  surely holds an experience to see, to hear and to learn about the number 1 spirit not just  in Hungary, but for those foreigners who once tasted it will never forget their stay in Hungary. Visited the world of spirits and it took us only 5 minutes drive from the City Center.  Upon arrival a presentation took place at  factory’s distillery named after “Baron, George John Harruckern”  who established the first pálinka distillery in Gyula in 1731.  The Baron Harruckern – Gyulai Pálinka Manufactory Ltd. still continues the tradition over nearly 300 years.  Interesting part of the presentation was  to visit  the  brewery itself and a demo of the long way it takes to have a snip of the pálinka from the fruit till the fine taste of the Gyulai Pálinka already bottled. They also accept fruit cooking by wage deals. To be or not to be hungry the tasty morsels await the gourmets. After the presentation been invited for a (“light lunch!”) cooked at the house.  During the lunch we were in the company of  having 5 shots of heavenly scent of the 100% fruit pálinka which surely made its way to  the knuckle and bean stew. We were told: Quote: ” Tasting the pálinka at the ideal temperature should  20C , you will feel the velvety soul of the fruit in every drop.”  Well we went by the rules and have to admit for our first stop we were fully trained.   They also have a small store on the spot where anybody can fill their baggies with the taste of  pálinka they have fallen in love. The Gyulai Castle Theater  Director Mr. József Gedeon,  joined the “studies”  spoken about the sights-and-sound to come during the 50th anniversary of the Gyulai Castle Theater. As we were told, tIt is going to be an ongoing,  longest in days,  summer festival  of the year. The festival holds celebration shows with invited theater performances  from around the country, smooth concerts, exhibitions, blues and jazz concert with international musicians .  Mr. Gedeon outlined the wide range  of comprehensive programs such as, Quote: ” The unique and rare Shakespeare laboratory which will be bringing the mixture of performances to remember for a lifetime. Even though Shakespeare  was not born as a Hungarian, here at Gyula he has a special place in our age. The Shakespeare festival has been expanded, developing  every year within an inclusive  celebration  of  programs of performances, screenings, workshops, readings and media events all connected to William Shakespeare, the Magnificat English poet and playwriter. The City of Gyula by itself is unique in Hungary by not just celebrating Shakespeare works within programs and performances, but also holding other prominent events during the festival. On the occasion of the 50th season of all-arts festival, the City of Gyula welcomes locals and foreigner visitors to  spend  as much time as they can in enjoying the Gyulai Castle Theater’s productions. The whole venue holds a unique atmosphere whereas the visitors will get into the mood in the minute they enter the City.”

Our second stop was to the “Százéves” (Hundred Years Old) confectionery.  Guess what , did not have time to get hungry and we were welcomed with the finest, traditional hand-made chocolates, cakes and home-made ice creams. Our eyes ate more than we were able to eat. We were told the history of this sweet shop, so in a nutshell here it goes:  The  “Százéves”  (Hundred Years Old)  confectionery shop was set up in 1840 by the  owner Mr. Andrew Salis. At the corridor of the old pastry shop there is a small exhibition of tools and equipments in use from the past.  The cake recepies are preserved from the original description from the 19th century. Even though time slips by the confectionery  and the shop got older, the name remained as  “Százéves”  (The Hundred Years Old). We were told, the story of the name …  it had no name, but as years rolled by, folks simply kept saying they are going to the “Százéves” (The Hundred Years Old!). All sweet tooth knew where the road led them. To-day the place that takes you back in time to an intimate  scene with  restored original Biedermeier furniture and other facilities, open fireplace, museum, indoor and outdoor  service, of course depending of the season of the year. Later,  the owner of the confectionery was Mr. Reinhardt. Being in Gyula, worthwhile to note the address: 1, Erkel Square, Gyula.

Continuing the day’s program, out next stop was  to occupy our 2 days place of accommodation, as the guest of the local Tourinform at the 4star Hungest Hotel ERKEL – Dürer Building.  As entering  into the hotel I’d rather say it was a neat 5star hotel. A place for a pleasant holiday and recreation …  where everything is at your fingertips,  a place  after a hard week to relax hard … where you can enjoy the wide range of mouth-watering Hungarian dishes with also sweets-for-sweets.   The Hotel Erkel  had sugar and spice and all things nice … where the indoor natural hot spa is just a couple of steps from your room’s doorstep. Every window has the spectacular view to the Castle, also a fine view on the pond and around the ancient tress, hear the robin sing in the morning and can continue a list of the goodies that this hotel is up to, to make their guest their Day! The hotel was renewed two years ago, shares 177 double standard rooms, 5 suites view to the Fortress and 4 rooms for disable guests. The rooms are equiped with all the pleasures that stands for a 4star hotel. Worthwhile to note the address: 1, Várkert Street,  Gyula.  This hotel  has 3stars and 4stars accommodation for every generation: kids, teens, adults, students, pensioners.

There was  a break before supper and the evening’s official opening of the 50th anniversary at open-air theater to the Gala performance at the Castle. The press and media representatives were let to explore, go for a splash into the 4star ludo and thermal bath to pamper and relax at the Gyula Castle Spa.  So  some of the member of the group went to warm up their soul and body.  During the suppertime the representative from the Gyulai Spa joined us and talked about the gift from heaven, the hot mineral water at the Gyulai Castle Spa which has per year one million visitors, enjoying  the spa’s medical healing. Talking about  healing,  was told that the medical water wells up from the depth of 2005 meters.and the blowing temperature is up to 72C . It  contains alkali hydrogen-carbonated-chlorinated.  Was told it serves as a balm in case of locomotor disorder, rheumatic, local nervous, diathesis, gastric complaints of acidic origin  and for many other health problems to decrease the pain. The color of the water has a brownish tone owing to its high organic contents.  As we were told  quote: “May sound funny, yet true, if anybody would grab a shovel, start digging or even be in the mood to use a drill  and hit the soil would not be an oilman, but would experience the hot water eruption as the tsunamis.  Gyula lay on the soil of hot mineral water.

Gyula definitely has the most beautiful health resort in Hungary. The waterland lay on 8.5 hectere park which was 200 years ago the Almásy mension.  Everybody will find their favorite pool, cause there are 19 of them, such as  the waterfall, bubble pools with medical water and so forth. Wish to feel on the beach, no problem cause the wave machine will bring high and low waves. The new water-slide world  is a real paradise for the waterlovers.

The venue  and the atmosphere at the  evening’s opening  ceremony and the 50th  Gala performances  were  amazingly full of entertainment. Around the courtyard area at the Gyula Castle Theater  there is a stage upon the huge pond, where the plays  took place and also the stage during the lovely summer nights, with breeze sweeping through.  Not only high above will appear the twinkling stars, but the well know stars will be down here on the stage.  The croaking frogs from time-to-time kept you from not forgetting your on an outdoor theater stay, but that’s free of charge!  The Gyula Castle is the only gothic brick fortress whstormy ich has survived in whole Central-Europe. The evening’s last act was,  a play brought to Gyula by guest theater from Szigliget. „Silent Levente”, play writer: Jenő Heltai. Romantic story of King Matthias’s time. Peter Agárd Hungarian hero falls in love with a beautiful Italian widow Zilia Duca. The only virtuous lady and her friends persuaded the valiant horse is Sana Bepponak accept the stranger through the stratagem. Peter’s confession of love Agárd noble lady rejects. A reference to an old gallant at Piedmont Tradition calls for a kiss from her. Zilia one kiss from her demands him of three years of silence. The hilarious comedy is well known in Hungary  and also have had been on stage at number of countries around the world with great success.

Unforfortunetely, the stromy rian washed away the end of the play. Nature did not allow the play to come to an end, so sorry for the poor actors, who coulnd’t finish their performance.

During the opening Gedeon József, Director welcomed the gathering locals and the visitors from other regions and spoke about the Gyula Festival, Quote: Between 1st July and 15th August the guests are entertained with the best performances of historical dramas, different forms of contemporary prosaic theatre, opera, operetta, ballet, mediaeval courtyard-music,  jazz,  puppet-show, classic,
folk-music and folk-dance in the summer theatre. Not only the court of the fortress is turned into a theaterground, but
programs of great variety are available on the nearby lake-stage and on stages set up at different places in the town.

Even though “schools-out” Shakespearean performances  and workshops arranged by performing companies will be hand-picked to make the link between enjoyable and educational school’s activity on a non-school class day.

The City of Gyula by itself is unique in Hungary by not just celebrating Shakespeare works within programs and performances, but also holding concerts and other prominent events during the festival. The whole venue holds a unique atmosphere.

Between 1st July and 15th August the guests are entertained with the best performances of historical dramas, different
forms of contemporary theater, opera, operetta, ballet, mediaeval courtyard-music,  jazz,  puppet-show, classic,
folk-music and folk-dance during the festival.  Not only the court of the fortress is turned into a theaterground, but
programs alsorts of programs will be available at the nearby lake-stage and on stages set up at different places in the City.

Soon to be coming up the update on  Day 2 Study Tour …

In the meantime, have attached some videos to see some scenes from the 50th Gyula Castle Theater opening celebration:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rAerJrWZLg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsaQEAfPxzc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RU8KA_bCiY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXxjQuNEnMk

Update, snaps, video Aggie Reiter

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