It’s All Jöga

By Stephen Ewashkiw | May 18, 2013

2024 km so far.

We decided we needed a day off. Or rather Jane needed a day off and I am always happy to oblige. When one of us needs a break, a break we should take.

Pécs seemed like a nice town last night when we wandered around, and our hostel was geared to cyclists, so we decided to stay an extra day.

Mirko, who is our point man at Nap Hostel, is a vegetarian, cycle-tourist yogi, as Jane mentioned and we get along great.

In the entrance to the hostel.

In the entrance to the Nap Hostel.

He has also arranged for me to teach a yoga class tonight at the studio where he practices and leads an Ashtanga class. Also great.

Our plan was for a day off touring the many cafes of Pécs, sampling the coffee, and catching up on our internet work before yoga in the evening. Our days off never turn out as planned.

Sightseeing In Pecs

Before kicking back in a cafe, there were a few sights I wanted to see. The Church Mosque is a former church, former mosque, now church again, in the main square of Pécs. The various conquerors of Hungary have liked the location just fine, it’s only the god they found objectionable. Currently Christ and Allah hang out together in the space, but only Catholics gather here for prayer.

overdecorated church pecs hungary

More is better when it comes to decoration.

There are no refurbished Turkish baths in town, sadly, so we had to make do with touring a ruin of a bath, dreaming of our upcoming visit to Budapest where a few baths have been restored to glory.

Just around the corner from the bath is the only remaining minaret in all of Hungary. This led to great conversation between Jane and I about the merits and horrors of iconography destruction that happens virtually every time a dynasty ends or a ruling party is overthrown.

The last minaret in Hungary.

The last minaret in Hungary.

Zsolnay porcelain comes from Pécs, so we headed out to their foundry to check out what remains of their once grand empire. A music festival has taken over the site for the weekend, and since we didn’t have the desire nor energy to hang at an outdoor festival, we skipped the event, apart from seeing this great big fish.


Examples of Zsolnay porcelain are all around the city anyway, like this amazing goat head fountain.


Taking Care Of Our Stomachs

First lunch was lame as the interwebs had told me about a vegetarian/vegan restaurant out at the university, but it turned out to be not the least bit vegan, with one vegetarian pasta available. Mirko had recommended Enoteca, which does Hungarian Street Food, and was pretty good, despite our inability to communicate with anyone who worked there.

We went for post-lunch dessert at what was supposed to be the best cake place in town. I hope it wasn’t. Again, the interwebs let us down. As usual, the best tips always come from someone who lives in the town.

We then remembered that Monday is a holiday, which means we need food for the next two days. We headed to InterSpar to load up on groceries.

Jane’s note: InterSpar was located in a giant soul-sucking shopping mall, which made me miserable the moment we walked in. Sorry Stephen!

Then we finally had a chance to relax for an hour before it was time for yoga.

Relaxing / getting work done.

Relaxing / getting work done.

The Comfort Of Yoga

We met up with Mirko who took us to Drishti Jögamühley, the studio, for class. Even though the building it’s in is as different as you can get from an American studio, as soon as we walked into the yoga space, Jane and I both felt so at home. It is amazing how comforting it is to walk into a yoga studio, and the atmosphere at Drishti was perfect, includng birds singing outside the window and a large fig tree shading the windows.

The very few other yogis in town were all busy on this holiday weekend (and on such short notice), so the class turned out to just be the three of us. I led the class ‘practice style’ (which means I practiced as well) and it was great to get to lead and practice in this space and share a little yoga with our new friend. This little addition to our day made me love the city even more. Thanks Drishti, thanks Mirko!

It’s Gonna Be A Long Night

Last night, the hostel was almost empty, but tonight there is a hen-night (bachelorette) gathering in one room and a Hungarian rock band who have nowhere better to go in the other. The band have the stereo on full and are singing the few words they know to every song they play, which is a mix of The Stones, Zeppelin, the Doors and a few Hungarian rock bands.

Loud, unexpected, and not appreciated. Ah, hostels…  

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