A weekend outing with the promise of pretty castles or pleasant scenery is to us what sleeping in or Sunday brunch is to others. Bonus points if there is a festival in a village we haven’t visited, for that brings with it the promise of good food and wine, as well. Last weekend the wine village of Modra, Slovakia offered all of it!

But first. Near to Modra is Kaštiel Budmerice, a Palffy hunting lodge sitting in a lush English park. (The Palffy Family were Hungarian nobility who reigned over this region of Slovakia during Austro-Hungarian rule. I know, it is a challenge to keep track of who ruled what and whom.) The lodge is closed to the general public but like so many of the palaces that are sprinkled around Europe, can be rented for private events. During our short visit to take a peek we counted two weddings and the filming of a movie scene happening at the lodge.

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Then, on to the surprising town of Modra, situated in the foothills of the Lower Carpathians and in the heart of Slovakia’s wine-growing region.

Along the main streets the festival was in full swing, and the aroma of roasting meat was likely detectable as far away as Vienna!

Not much on offer for a vegetarian except for “Grilled Cheese,’ the typical smoked and grilled Farmer’s cheese common in Central Europe. Surprisingly I am not a big fan of the cheese; the flavor is a little too smoky for me.

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We finished lunch in time for the harvest parade. Tractors! Priests drinking wine! The Harvest Queen! The streets were lined with people, kept happy I’m guessing by the wandering winegrowers who served Burčiak (Slovakian Sturm) from pitchers.

Once the short parade finished we walked about the festival, sampling and shopping until we realized it was time to head back across the border. The celebrating was still going long after we’d made our way to the field where the wagon was parked, and I’m sure would continue long into the night.

Our plans for the day had included two other festivals, neither of which we made it to as we were having a delightful time in Modra. There’s always next year!

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