Up early for breakfast and emotional farewells to our hosts, who made us feel incredibly welcome in spite of us only having about 20 or 30 words in common. We wandered up to the bus station, looked in vain for any kind of ticket machine or counter but eventually found someone who told us we could buy tickets on board. I was still somewhat nervous, but needn’t have been. The bus arrived, everyone piled to open the luggage compartments and throw their stuff on board, and we paid a quite reasonable rate for our seats. Three hours of an easy ride through the plains and we were in Pecs.
A short walk to our apartment and a shock when they opened the door – had we accidentally signed up for another shared apartment? No – all this space was for us. The place boasts a lounge/dining/kitchen area that’s about as big as our own old flat, except that it also has a proper table, dishwasher, microwave – all things that we lacked.
I’m liking Pecs already, and as we walk up the short distance to the main square I like it even more. The old town is full of plaster-covered buildings, mostly in good condition with minimal graffiti or dirt. The square is pleasant, with plenty of nice buildings including the “Mosque Church” – a mosque that was converted into a church when the Turks were expelled from Hungary. For some reason, it retained many of the Muslim elements, so the misbah (prayer area) is still there, as well as some writing from the Koran, and the church is topped with a dome. Quite unique and quite fascinating.
Other than the Mosque Church most tourist attractions are closed (it being Monday) so we wander around the town, enjoying the sights such as the old walls, a hilltop church called Calvary, with carvings of the stations of the cross, the cathedral, and so on. Even just sitting in the main square is pleasant, enjoying the evening light on the buildings.
We push our budget out a little in the evening and eat in a decent Italian place (veal with an aubergine vegetable dish, and pasta with salmon). They have tiramisu but it lacks the proper alcoholic kick in the sponge. My quest for the perfect tiramisu continues.