Everyday Life in Hungary

I bought a new camera!

Something a bit different today. I have my camera by my side every day…it works hard for me and I am rewarded with beautiful memories to pass onto my children and grandchildren. My birthday is just around the corner, so my wonderful husband, who knows my obsession with photography suggested I upgraded to a newer more modern camera….as a birthday present. Who am I to say no!!

It took me 6 months to read and research all the information I could find about buying a new camera. I used comparison sites to compare specifications, checked different brands available, compared photographic quality of photos and read many reviews. There are a lot of cameras out there! My old camera was a Sony Alpha 3000 bought in 2014 and has served me relentlessly well. I am not a professional photographer but now I feel I can call myself a reasonable amateur. There is always room for improvement and my “photographic eye” has become better over time. Joining a photographic competition site helped me immensely. I learnt from people better than me, I am still learning and improving.

Finally I decided on what I would like to upgrade to…a Sony Alpha 6000. I toyed with the idea of changing brands but came to the conclusion, that for me, Sony suited my needs the best.

We made the long trip to Budapest, the capital, and bought my new camera, a Sony Alpha 6000 with an additional zoom lens… something I have never had before. The sales assistant seemed keen to tell me all about Canon and the packages they had to offer…I got the impression he was on a commission. My mind was on Sony and I told him that. The young sales assistant spoke good English which for me was a massive bonus as my Hungarian language skills are not great.

Getting it home and on charge was my main priority but imagine my disappointment when I found I needed to buy a memory card for the camera for operation. Not deterred, the next day we travelled to the closest electronics shop and asked for the appropriate memory card…home again and realised we had been sold (on their guidance) the wrong memory card. Frustration overload!!! I have now bought the correct memory card online and accepted I have wasted money on a useless memory card locally.

My new camera has many additional features and a manual that would make long time bedtime reading! My new camera is lighter than my previous one and smaller making it ideal for walking any sort of distance. It has a tilted screen, high quality video recording, wireless for transferring photos and image stabilization on the new lens. I am hoping for many photo opportunities and can’t wait to get started.. in particular taking shots of moving subjects, birds, animals, people etc these have not been my strong point in the past.

Anyone who is interested in photography will know that overwhelming desire to improve our image taking. Over the years I have “learnt on the job” what a good photo is and what a GREAT photo is. In these days of sophisticated mobile phones, cameras seem to have taken a back seat. Mobiles are easy to use with just a point and click action. It could be argued that mobiles take as good a photo as a dedicated camera. Bearing this in mind I put together a list of my tips for better pictures. Trial and error plays a part too and being self-critical is not always easy. I thought my photos years ago were excellent until I looked back and spotted glaring errors. I started experimenting and learning different ways to do my photography and I was pleased with the results.

My Top Tips for Better Photography

  • ALWAYS level your horizons. It improves the look of your photo immensely. If you do find you have not got a straight horizon, adjust it in an editing programme on your computer.
  • AVOID taking photographs in the mid-day sun. Your photos will glare too much. The ideal time is early morning or early evening. Better to be slightly dark than too bright. You can amend the darkness successfully by using the lightening function on an editing programme.
  • ALWAYS be aware of the background of your shot, study it in your viewfinder, adjust your positioning if necessary. There is nothing worse than seeing washing hanging out on the line or a unwelcome mop bucket in your view.
  • DON’T always use automatic settings. Your camera is a sophisticated piece of equipment and gives you a multitude of settings for different scenes and environments. Learn from your manual or go online to discovery how versatile your camera is. You will surprise yourself with amazing shots.
  • TRY photography from different angels and levels, lay on the ground, look up to the sky, tilt your camera be brave and experiment.
  • HAVE a focal point for EVERY photo.
  • TRY Macro photography. The definition is: Macro photography is a unique form of photography that involves photographing small objects to make them look life-sized or larger in the photo. The usual subjects include flowers and small insects, which we don’t normally get to see up close with the naked eye.
  • TAKE a walk with your camera after the rain, if it is foggy, or after a snow-fall, build your portfolio with interesting weather shots.
  • USE your camera indoors, create an interesting scene, food shots to make your mouth water, still life in colour or black and white, perfumes bottles or interesting jewellery, anything you like. Be aware of the lighting and the inevitable reflections and bright spots.
  • FINALLY, do you see dark spots on your photos when you upload them?…this is because dust has got inside your camera. Clean your external lenses regularly and use a puffer to remove those annoying dust spots from the inside.

The main principle of good photography is excellent lighting and knowing your camera inside out. I have found good editing programmes are essential to improve my photographs, every photo needs a second look…and an edit. It is habit forming and for me is another essential for good photography.

Imagine someone else is looking at your photo – what will they see? What are you trying to tell people? Every photo tells a story, what is yours?

I joined for practice and competition. It is free and you have the opportunity to look at other peoples photographs, compete for prizes and get ideas for your next photoshoot. Undoubtedly this has improved my photography.

Remember: Enjoy photography – you are making memories.

What sort of camera do you have….do you agree with my tips? Can you add any more? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.

Everyday Life in Hungary

Magical July in Hungary

Lavender Fields

We are so lucky to have lavender fields in our little village. The farm opened their gates to the public last week and I could not resist taking a look with my camera and taking the obligatory pruners! I collected 3 bags of their heavenly lavender. The ladies running the field were very helpful and encouraged me to stuff my bags full! I had to watch out for the bees as there were many buzzing around also enjoying the lavender. The smell was divine and it was interesting to see the little tractor harvesting the lavender into large white sacks. It will later be processed into essential oil, soaps and honey. Lavender has many therapeutic qualities, I like to use it as a sleep aid. In its oil format I use it to treat burns with amazing results. It soothes the burnt skin.

Village Swimming Pool

Our little village swimming pool opened its gates at the beginning of July. For 2 years (because of the pandemic) it has been closed so we were thrilled to hear it was fully operational again. We have a good sized pool with a slide for the youngsters. Great value too…just over £2.00 for the full day. There is a large grassed area with trees, outdoor games, fire pits, oven and picnic benches. The local ice-cream man visits daily selling not just ice-creams but sweet yummy cakes too. A lovely place to spend the day…and just on our doorstep.

Haley our Siberian Husky

We are fortunate that a visiting vet comes annually to administer Rabies vaccinations to the local dogs. Haley does not travel well in the car so we very much appreciate this rural service. She has recently been shedding her winter fur which takes a few weeks. We are constantly brushing her to help her shed. Huskies, you would think, do not do well in hot weather as they are associated with a cold climate and snow. However, Haley would appear to love sunbathing in the high temperature we are having in Hungary at the moment. Her summer coat keeps her cool and she munches on ice cubes. She is a very active dog and loves to poke her head through the railings frequently to see what’s happening. When she is exhausted she takes a nap…but still has an ear open so as not to miss any action!

Sunflower Fields

Travelling around the countryside you cannot help but notice the many sunflower fields that line the roads. They are a staggering sight covering acres of fields with a vibrant yellow. Hungary is a big producer of sunflower oil and the flowers will be around for weeks with the farmers letting them dry ready to be harvested for their precious oil. We grow sunflowers in our garden but purely for the pleasure of looking at them. The finches love the seeds and are frequent visitors a bit later on in the year.

Residency Permits

The UK has recently left the European Union, meaning those of us who are British, living somewhere else needed to apply for residency status in our respective countries. Having already gone through this process before (when we first arrived 4 years ago) we expected this to be straightforward and easy. We had 12 months to complete this process (until the end of December 21) but there have been many difficulties with the Hungarian computer systems. Finally 6 months later we managed to complete the process and so now hopefully, we will retain our status in our adopted country.

Without a fridge during a heatwave!

We are currently experiencing a heatwave in Hungary…high temperatures of 38/39 degrees Celsius which is a touch uncomfortable. Imagine our horror and dismay when our Samsung fridge-freezer decided to stop working! We asked a Hungarian neighbour to contact Samsung on our behalf to arrange to get it fixed! Would you believe, 2 weeks later we have had no visit from Samsung, or explanation even though we have a 10 year warranty. We have ended up buying a very small fridge to tide us over until we can get our main fridge freezer fixed. There was talk that the part required was no longer available but I don’t know how true that is. I am certainly struggling with the after sales service from this company.

I am going to be a granny again!

What joy it is when your eldest son tells you “Mum you are going to be a granny again” I am so happy for him and his partner but slightly saddened I cannot go over to England and celebrate their news. They are expecting a boy (they have a daughter already) which is super news. I am for ever thankful for the internet and facetime, years ago we would not have had that privilege. My granddaughter will be 4 this year and starting nursery school soon, I do miss her. Maybe next year when this disabling pandemic is over (or controlled) I will be able to reconnect in real life.

So that was just a little update of what has been happening in our lives at the moment. This weekend is the annual Harvest Festival in the village. A wonderful occasion that I shall be photographing, watch out for the next blog entry. 😃

Everyday Life in Hungary

Heatwave Hungary!

Phew it is hot!!! The temperature is reading 37 degrees Celsius 98.6 Fahrenheit, 2.30 pm. Hungary are experiencing their first heatwave of the year. Perhaps it will reach an all time high of 41 degrees Celsius? The farmers and villagers are praying for rain as the ground is so parched and crops are in need of water.

I tend to take water for granted, but here water is valuable, not to be wasted and reused if possible. There are water pumps in the street for those villagers without mains supply. It is quite humbling to see villagers filling their bottles from the pumps. Yesterday our water pressure took a severe drop and some people in the village higher up the valley had no water atall. Through the village Facebook site I gathered there may be some broken pipes in the village but it also coincided with the annual “fill the village swimming pool up”which may have effected the water pressure.

Water pumps line the village streets

The Hungarian government have issued a state of emergency during the heatwave advising people about health and safety precautions and general health tips to stay safe in the heat. Interestingly if you see a child or pet in a hot car…call the emergency services, I worry they might be some time getting to remote places!

So what have I been doing this week?

Out and About – Been out and about to Székesfehérvár (I can just about pronounce it!) and came across some staggering poppy fields on the way. I have tried to take photos that are slightly different.

We also passed a good looking riding stables and just had to stop. It was a good opportunity to take a couple of photos of these gorgeous horses..

We then collected milk from the local farm, the cows were ambling around just waiting to be photographed!!. This one caught my eye…on further examination later on my PC I noticed the close up…. of the tongue!!! HaHa!

There were also sheep asleep on the roadside sheltering from the blazing sun. These are racka sheep, an ancient type of sheep, said to be living here with us in Hungary since cc. 970…

Finally stopped off for a coffee at a friend’s and admired her beautiful water-lilies. We had a lovely day 🙂

We ventured out again and admired the local lavender fields in the village.

Kisszékely lavender fields

Then a visit to the lake…I am pursuing an elusive heron…I know he is there but thought I would have a better chance walking by the lake so as not to distract this flighty bird. Sadly not to be seen!

We then went onto the tops and admired the hay bails Lol!!

Impulsive intrepid Eric (my husband) decided to drive through the forest…I was worried the car would tip at the deep tractor ruts along the way. Thankfully we made it safely back to home base 🙂

Brexit – The UK have now left the European Union which means as residents we need to re-apply for our status in Hungary. There is lots of red tape, paper filling and lengthy visits to get through before we can be issued with this valuable status. We are lucky in Hungary and have until 31st December to submit our paperwork, some European countries require these documents by the 31st June. So with plenty of time to get organised I managed to print of the lengthy 18 page document, fill them in and get the required passport photos needed for the documents. I needed help finding a place to get the said photos, friends helped for which I was very thankful. They don’t appear to have photo booths here like in the UK, it was a case of do it online and go to the local chemist for printouts.

Gardening Progress

We invested this year in a large polytunnel to grow tomatoes and water melons. 6 weeks later we have baby water melons and masses of very healthy tomatoes. We have found if we grow tomatoes outside they become infested with bugs and do not yield their maximum crop. We are hopeful this year we will have a good harvest to preserve to last us through the winter.

Something else new this year is our living fence. Next door neighbours have a very unsightly wall and I wanted to grow a fence of sunflowers to hide it. After collecting hundreds of seeds last year I planted a long line, in the Spring the length of the wall. In between the sunflowers I planted marigolds, again from seeds collected from last year. I think it will give a staggering long lasting display and cover the ugly wall!

The weeding is never ending with weeds shooting up on a daily basis. The only way to keep on top is little and often, preferably around 5.00 am in the morning before it gets unbearably hot.

Preparations for the big 60 Birthday at the end of July!

So the time is approaching for the big 60 birthday. Age to me is a number but it is nice to celebrate the special ones. Covid19 has put a stop to any romantic weekend away so the revised plan is to have a meal at the local castle restaurant, sitting outside with the hotel and spa facilities available and the added bonus of an outdoor pool. We went to have a look and it looks super. Of course I took lots of photos.

Finally… I have been asked to write a daily piece on two different pages on Facebook about family life in rural Hungary. I was very flattered and am enjoying promoting this fantastic country and what it has to offer. It also gives me an opportunity to continue my photography capturing special moments during our time in Hungary.

Everyday Life in Hungary

Chatting to a Newspaper Journalist, Making Bacon, Building a Tandoori Oven!

A few weeks ago whilst browsing Facebook a journalist was asking to interview expats living in rural Hungary. That’s me, I thought so  I contacted her and said I would be happy to talk with her.  She writes for the Budapest Times and travels around the country with another person who is a travel guide.  We met up at a local restaurant and chatted for almost 3 hours.  Her tape recorder came out on the table, I was a little apprehensive at first but it was all good and went very well.  After a while I forgot the tape recorder was there!

When we had finished chatting they both wanted a tour of our village so I took them to all the pretty places.  They were very impressed.  The article was published recently in the Budapest Times and here it is

I was overwhelmed with everyone’s good wishes after it was published, I almost felt like a celebrity!  Added to that the journalist was extremely complimentary about my photographs and suggested I joined a Facebook group who would appreciate them too.  I joined, and was approached by a gentleman who asked if I could start a regular feature posting my photos with a little text about rural life in Hungary! Of course, I said yes!!  Sometimes I need a little push in the right direction.

Kisszékely church overlooking the valley
Life in the slow lane, Kisszékely village
Kisszékely lake

So, in other news…

Making Bacon

We all like bacon in our house and was a little disappointed with Hungarian bacon so decided we should make our own smoked bacon. We invested in a meat slicer and bought a huge piece of belly pork with the skin on. Next, we removed any bones and cleaned the meat thoroughly. We then pricked the meaty side very well with a fork, made a salt and brown sugar coating 50/50 and rubbed it in very well all over. Then we wrapped it up so it was sealed (carton or cling film) and put in the fridge for 2 days. After 2 days, we removed the pork from the fridge, washed it well to remove the coating and dried with a kitchen towel. Now for the smoking. We created a home made smoker from wood we had in the garden and cold smoked the bacon for 3 days in the smoker. The aroma around the garden was tantalising. Finally after 3 days we sliced and ate it. The bacon freezes well if necessary. We shall never buy bacon again, it was so delicious and had a gorgeous smoky taste.

Our dog sat very patiently throughout the whole procedure hoping for a quick bite!

Building a Tandoori Oven

The boys in my life, my husband and my son have been busy in the garden making a Tandoori oven this week. Neither of us had built or cooked on a traditional tandoor before… originating from Turkey. I assumed it originated from India…!! How wrong I was. We did a virgin run yesterday and the results were fantastic. Apparently, according to our guests you could smell the beautiful cooking smells all over the village! Our Hungarian neighbour was out gardening and was very curious to know what Eric and Raphael were building….he kept nodding and saying “egen” (yes in English) when Eric explained he was making an oven, I don’t think he really understood! We marked the occasion by inviting a couple of friends who live in our little village to be our virgin tandoor tasters. We had a very fun afternoon, with lots of laughter and good conversation. The food was great, expertly cooked by Chef Eric and enjoyed with great company, New Zealander Jackie and her Hungarian husband Gabor.

We have a “Kings Chair” for Eric made from repurposed tyres… Jackie and Gabor posed for pictures. We had a fabulous Tandoori Day!


Everyday Life in Hungary

June has arrived!

A surprising few months in our little village of Kisszékely, Hungary.

Sunrise, Kisszékely, Hungary

Our winter seemed to be especially long this year and only provided two days of snow! I am English (a bit obsessed with the weather) and love the snow. I had been waiting patiently for the snowfalls we had had in previous years, very disappointed it was not forthcoming.

I longed for the spring to hurry up and arrive along with warm sunshine early mornings and light evenings. I was keen to get back to living mostly outside which I enjoy most. The link below will give you an idea of the snow that fell in January 2021.

Finally by the end of May all the tell-tale signs began to appear signifying the start of beautiful spring.

First Signs of Spring

The first signs of spring in Hungary are the returning storks from their far off migration in central Africa. Storks are a regular sight in most rural villages, making their homes on top of telegraph posts or chimney pots…apparently a sign of good luck. Storks usually return to their birthing place year after year to begin the circle of life all over again.

Our little village does not have resident storks, which is a shame as they are fascinating birds. Imagine my surprise and delight when I saw out of our bedroom window a stork perched delicately on the top of the telegraph pole opposite. I could not contain my excitement and rushed out onto the street to stand and stare at this enormous bird. I took dozens of photos as he seemed to be hanging around and did not object. Our dog was less impressed and patrolled the front fence, up and down constantly. She was obviously eager for some “chasing fun”!!

I asked on the village Facebook page how we could encourage the storks to stay in the village and nest here. Sadly, I was told the food supply is better met in other villages. Apparently they are partial to frogs.

The stork that visited Kisszékely, looking for a mate!

Another sign spring is here are the bountiful fields full of colourful poppies and then the strong pungent smell of the rape seed fields covering the countryside with blankets of bright yellow flowers. Truly beautiful.

Poppies and wild flowers, Hungary
Rape seed fields, Hungary

We seem to have had an unusually high amount of rain recently, which obviously the farmers are ecstatic about. We are too but to a lesser degree….rain means the weeds grow very energetically! Our garden has been covered in dandelions for most of the month of May. We left our grass uncut to give a little help to the bees. As the weather was a little warmer, I took a walk around the village and stumbled on what I can only call “Raining Dandelions” the seeds were flying everywhere, it was quite surreal.

“Raining Dandelions”

I love the spring blossom adorning the trees in the little villages, I constantly say “look, look how lovely the blossom!”. My patient husband regularly stops on roadsides for me to leap out of the car and take photos! This one is in the next village with a rather spectacular display of blossoms.

Tolnanémedi blossoms

Buy Local

Once a week we do our supermarket shop and often pass through little villages with road side stalls selling various home-grown, home-preserved plants, fruits, vegetables and home smoked meats. With so much choice it was difficult to choose where to stop. We were very tempted by a colourful display of hanging baskets bursting with petunias. Last year my choice was Black Eyed Susan’s, this year it is Petunias. The stall holder spoke no English but suddenly said “Várjon” (Wait)…two minutes later a young girl rushed to greet us and spoke in perfect English…a total surprise in rural Hungary. We spent a good amount of time talking about England and subsequently bought two glorious hanging baskets. We also stocked our car with a sack of potatoes, a sack of onions and several tomato plants.

Local Churches of Photographic Interest

I tend to travel everywhere with my camera and usually take pictures everyday, even when we go supermarket shopping! This church is in Tamási with the deer outside depicting the presence of numerous deer in the surrounding area.  The Catholic church in the town centre is built on the ruins of a Roman founded temple.

Iregszemcse village also has a visually interesting church. As you can see there are a multitude of electric cables obscuring the view…very normal in Hungary.

The last church photo in this set was taken in Sárbogárd. I was intrigued by the unusual shape. It helped the sky was such a vivid blue. You will notice there is slight dusting of snow on the ground, taken late February 2021.

Sometimes our travels take us to Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Central Europe, and one of the region’s foremost tourist destinations. During the Covid pandemic all the attractions and public beaches have been closed but I managed to access this one which had several beautiful swans gliding across the water.

Local Walking

One of my good friends, also an Ex-pat is an avid walker and wanted to take a walk around our little village. We decided to set off early 8.00 am as walking in the heat later is not too pleasant. Our village nestles between rolling hills with an abundance of forests surrounding us. The walls of the valley are steep and some effort was required to reach our target…the highest viewing point in Kisszékely. We passed bee hives on our way up and then were greeted with an abundance of Acacia trees, specially planted for the bees to make Hungary’s speciality honey. By the time we had reached the viewing point we were glad of the picnic tables for a seat and the sturdy viewing platform, to take photos, it was certainly worth the effort. We were lucky enough to watch a pair of storks coasting on the wind and thoroughly enjoying the early morning weather. Next time I shall have a zoom lens to capture these precious moments.

Acacia Blossom

The beautiful Acacia tree. here you will find everything you need to know about the delicious Acacia Honey.


A pair of storks in the distance. Vineyards jammed full of growing vines below. What a tranquil sight.

Elaine my walking companion

After spending some time admiring the staggering views, we headed back down into the village through tightly forested areas stopping occasionally to cross little streams and observing animals tracks.

We are lucky that our village has so many walking trails all colour coded with regular information boards describing the wild life and flora to be found nearby. Extremely useful and interesting.

We are now enjoying much sunnier days and milder nights. Mother Nature never fails to surprise and impress me particularly in the beautiful countryside of Hungary. I shall be out with my camera again very soon.

Everyday Life in Hungary

“Winter Wonderland” Kisszékely Village, Hungary

I have been waiting for snow for weeks, the weather has been very cold but the snow was not forthcoming. Eventually the snow clouds formed and deposited a light dusting, just for me! 😃 Eagerly I took my camera and took a few shots of our village.

Early January

Kisszékely Church

Late January

Towards the end of January we experienced the back end of a cyclone that brought continual snow and another great opportunity to capture some snow shots.

Everywhere was eerily quiet with the clouds white and full. This was early morning, what a beautiful wintery sight greeted me before I went out walking. Our dog Hayley absolutely loved bounding around in the soft powdery snow.

There is a great community spirit in the village when snow falls. People come out with their shovels and clear the footpaths ready for the many elderly walkers who often need to go out for groceries.

Main street, Kisszékely 

The snow was falling with a side wind making it difficult to take pictures. This is the road leading up to the Hunting Lodge

Passing the frozen stream…beside the swimming hut.

Onto the village swimming pool. Closed for all of last year due to the pandemic and looking very chilly!

On into the forest battling the wind and the snow.

Kisszékely Hunting Lodge, but unfortunately no visitors this winter. The village is renowned for its hunting and seasonal fishing.

I padded through the snow down the long entrance to the lodge hoping for a look at the lake behind the building. The lake was frozen and I was reluctant to get too close for fear of slipping.

Making my way back to the village green the beautiful wooden carved statues looked beautiful covered in fresh snow.

Picture postcard beauty everywhere.

My next place to visit was Kisszékely village lake.

This lake was not frozen this time but does freeze over when the temperatures drop very low.

The snow was still falling as I walked around the lake. The fishermen’s piers covered with a layer of snow, with pretty reflections in the water made for a beautiful sight.

My lake walk was complete so made my way towards home when suddenly I was surprised by this adventurous quad-biker! Revving his bike noisily he took off down a lane towards the forest managing to create his own snow storm from his back wheels.

Our faithful dog Hayley popped her head out of our railings when she spotted me coming. She was eager for me to play in the snow with her, which I did until I could no longer feel the tips of my fingers!!

I had a splendid walk totalling four miles and was glad to get back inside for a warming cup of tea. I shall be following the weather forecast hoping for more snow in the coming weeks. Winter has arrived here in Kisszékely.

Everyday Life in Hungary

My “Best” of 2020…

My last post of 2020!

Never in all my life (all 59 years of it) have I had to live through a worldwide pandemic that we are experiencing right now. Definitely the “virus” will shape our future, how we live and what things are important to us.

This post is not about Covid 19, I want to have a positive post to end this year. With that in mind, share and celebrate with me all things good about 2020.

My Best Book of 2020

I am an avid reader and love to read different styles of books. I am a member of Goodreads where I can review books and keep a permanent record of my reading progress.

Best Book Choice: Tara Westover – EDUCATED

Below in the link is my 5 star review I left for this amazing author. There are details of where to buy this book too.

I was staggered that I had read 35 books during 2020! Plenty of time to read 😃 The link below shows what I have read and the accompanying reviews. Please take a look.

My Best Movie of 2020

Fortunately we subscribe to Netflix and have had great pleasure watching movies throughout the year. There were many contenders for this title but in the end I choose the one that had a lasting impression, good acting and a riveting storyline.

Best Movie Choice 2020: The Queens Gambit

See the trailer below of this fascinating period drama with the beautiful Anya Taylor-Joy in the starring role.

Photo Credit: Phil Bray/Netflix


My Challenges of 2020

Starting my own blog

I am so proud that I started my own blog in 2020. I had many challenges initially but now feel comfortable and capable that my 2021 blog will be even better than before. I have always loved writing and own tons of notebooks and journals filled with past memories and events. The way forward is online so through the first lockdown in March my blog was born. It is a record of living in Hungary as expats and things that excite me about this marvelous country and our new way of life. Please take a look through the link below at what we get up to in our daily lives.

Learning Hungarian

My second challenge this year has undoubtedly been trying to learn the Hungarian language. Eric, my husband has picked up the language easily and I am guilty of relying on him way too much for translations. Hungarian is one of the hardest languages to learn but I have been determined to learn and at last I can see some progress. I choose and would recommend any language learners to use this excellent learning tool. The best thing of all is it is free. 😃

Best New Experience of 2020

As restrictions were gently relaxed over the summer months Eric and I visited our very first wine festival in Hungary. Hot sunshine, good music, friendly people and an abundance of red wine. For a small village they put on an excellent festival. We shall certainly be visiting again. More pictures in the link below.

My Best Achievement of 2020

Throughout 2020 I slogged hard at our garden. It is a little large for one person to manage. Eric is unable to do any sort of gardening as he has a bad back. It was down to me to dig, weed, sow, water and keep the garden in some kind of order. We had an abundant veggie patch and flower beds full of flowers. We invested in a lawn mower and strimmer that my son Raphael actually enjoyed using so that helped me a lot. Next year I shall be creating raised vegetable beds so Eric, my husband is able to take a hand in the gardening.

My Best Day of 2020

Looking back over the year my best day was my birthday at the end of July. We all decided a birthday lunch was in order so travelled to a (new to us) fish restaurant in idyllic surroundings and enjoyed a wonderful meal.

My Best Photography 2020

Finally, my best of 2020 would not be complete without a few “best of” photographs. Photography is my hobby and have been snapping for many years. I enter competitions and love to get a little creative with my shots.

Best Landscape 2020

Kisszékely Lake in Autumn, Hungary 2020

Best People Shot 2020

A traditional village wedding Kisszékely, Hungary.

For more wonderful photographs of this pretty village wedding see the link below.

Best Animal Shot 2020

Our gorgeous Haley Husky

I have taken may shots of animals over the year but I felt this one was the best. Of course, I am slightly biased but looking at my stats on WordPress my post about Siberian Husky owners was the most popular and I am thrilled.💕 Thank you if you have looked and liked, much appreciated. If you haven’t, and would like too, then here is the link:

So there you have it, 7 of my “best” things about 2020. We are hoping for more excursions and adventures in 2021. My bucket list says I should be hot air ballooning over Lake Balaton on my 60th birthday…lets see. Always the optimist, I live in hope.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for reading and commenting on my blog over the past year and hope to show you a little more of what Hungary has to offer.

Happy New Year or in Hungarian – Boldog új évet

Everyday Life in Hungary

Lakeside Autumn Delights, Kisszékely, Hungary

A colourful photo-walk with my camera along the beautiful banks of the lakes of Kisszékely, Hungary

We are so fortunate to live in such a picturesque village set in a very green lush valley with two large fishing lakes. The lakes are full of carp, and attract the fishermen from far and wide. There are often weekend competitions. The lake is also home to a huge variety of wildlife including herons and various wild ducks.

Passing through the village this young goat eyed me as I took a photo of him through the undergrowth. He has his own little lake although I suspect it is just waterlogged!

We also passed this staggering Sumac tree, a very common sight throughout the village. The berries are ground into a spice and used in cooking, it has a lemony taste and is beautiful in salads.

Approaching the lake the trees are changing colour rapidly giving a bright warm ambience. The sign indicates our path, it means “Quiet Place”.

Another view of the lake with the dense forest surrounding it. Wild deer live amongst the trees and often venture out onto the roads.

A seat is always welcoming especially one surrounded with bronzed leaves! A time to reflect and admire the views.

A path surrounds the lake but does not go all the way round. Raphael my walking companion …was slightly bored waiting for mother to finish taking photos! I walk slowly, I stop frequently and take lots of photos…he knows that!

This was my view across to the other side of the lake, with the small fishing jetties scattered along the bank. Today there were no fishermen trying their luck.

With blue skies and still waters the reflections are just glorious. Each time I visit the reflections, like the trees, change.

This tunnel of trees beckoned us to walk down its weathered path, inviting us to look further. This certainly is a peaceful place amongst beautiful surroundings, no wonder it’s called “The Quiet Place”.

The tall majestic trees lined the banks of the lakes, each one displaying its own individual beauty.

This is the second lake a few metres further along the main road. I like the combinations of trees better than lake one. It is more pleasing (for me) to the eye. I especially like the Weeping Willows.

A rickey seat for just sitting, fishing or admiring the view looked a bit too rickety for me! I gave it a miss.

Sycamore in the sunshine! They are unbelievably crunchy underfoot!

Finally, strolling home I looked up and was treated to a flock of geese noisily migrating for the winter. I heard them way before they became visible. What a noisy bunch!

This is the last picture which I had to add…walking home along the main street we were greeted by these elegant chickens, a reminder that we are living the rural life and this is perfectly normal here. Ha!

Everyday Life in Hungary

Ambling around Kisszékely Church grounds – Hungary

October 2020

Kisszékely church grounds

Sometimes I just like to take a gentle walk around the village church grounds. It seems to clear my head and freshen my outlook.

I have lived in a village before when I was a child but all my adult life I have been a city girl!

Now it’s….

Returning to live the village life and taking a step back in time is very rewarding. The villagers mostly live off the land, sometimes a very frugal, simple life. They work very hard but are always jolly and friendly. The village community have welcomed us enthusiastically and it would seem, we fit in nicely. We are the only permanent English family living here.

Kisszékely main street, complete with a shop, pub and church. Winter.
Kisszékely Village. A common sight in the spring.

I love to hear the church bell, but did not realise the significance of the daily bell toll. It rings at 5.00 am, I assume to call worshippers to this Roman Catholic church.

Kisszékely church, Hungary, built in 1823 in the neo-classical style.

I was curious, so did a Google search and found these explanations for the daily bell toll at 12 noon and 7 pm.

Why do the bells ring at noon?

“Fearing that Christianity might succumb to the Ottoman Empire, Pope Callixtus III ordered all the bells of every European church to ring at noon, as support for the Christian forces in the battle. It worked, Ottoman forces withdrew and the news of victory reached Europe. The bells at noon became bells of victory.”

Why do the bells ring at 7pm?

In association with the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, bells in cathedrals, churches and other locations will ring out at 7pm in a collective celebration of peace.

During the summer months I hear the 5.00 am bell (the windows are open) and the whole village becomes alive with activity. Hungarians tend to live around the daylight hours, setting off early to the fields in their tractors as soon as it gets light.

Kisszékelyi Római katolikus templom: Meaning, The Roman Catholic church of Kisszékely.

My walk took me up the hill to get a good autumnal photo of the church. The changing colours of the trees at this time of year are sensational.

I was pleasantly surprised when I reached the top of the hill to see a brand new lavender field right behind the church. How lovely for the worshippers to get wafts of lavender when arriving or leaving the church.

Walking past the lavender field and around the corner a welcome seat beckoned to me. I wondered how many stories had been told on this seat? I sat a while and enjoyed my surroundings.

The church steps are steep and well worn. A marathon for anyone! I admire the people visiting on a regular basis. The walk down was lovely. Slightly concerning was the fallen tree!!

Many engraved stones made up the steps, cracked and weathered but still a beautiful reminder of those no longer with us.

Bursting with colour the berries and the leaves looked beautiful in the afternoon sunshine.

By now I had left the church and made my way up the side of the valley. Even the vines on top of the hills were a multi-coloured delight.

Walking higher this was what I could see. A typical Hungarian village scene, houses nestled in the valley with wisps of white smoke escaping from the chimneys below.

From my vantage point I could see the church popping out of the landscape. A beautiful sight.

Time to head back home passing this little gem of a tractor in someone’s garden. No doubt it will be working the fields sometime soon!

A very pleasant circular walk around this surprisingly pretty village of Kisszékely, Hungary.

Do you like walking, exploring your surroundings and discovering new things to photograph and enjoy? It gives me lots of pleasure, and an opportunity to photograph things that I would never have seen living in the city. I am thankful to be settled in the countryside.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Everyday Life in Hungary

Walking the “Wine Way” Kisszékely, Hungary

October Walking Trail – Kisszékely

October Sights to Surely Delight!

We woke this morning to a frosty Hungary! By midday the frost had disappeared and the skies were blue. Raphael and I decided to venture out for another interesting walk along one of Kisszékely village trails.

Kiss Street and the start of our walk.

Pretty orange berries lined our walk.

The sign indicates the coloured dots we must follow through the trail.

“Blackthorn Boulevard”

The trail took us off-road and into the forest. Access to various fields is gained from this path, each field high up on the tops of the hillside.

The path took us through the steep sided walls of the embankment. The dappled sunshine gave a gentle ambience whilst we walked…..

We were so engrossed in the scenery we did not initially hear a man’s voice shouting loudly, “Hello” “Hello”. We turned around and two men suddenly appeared out of a wine cellar in the hillside, carrying various vessels full of wine.

It is winemaking season here in Hungary and these 2 chappies were “doing” their wine. They stopped for a chat and insisted we try their wine! Of course, it would be rude not too, and considered an insult if I had refused. Hungarians are very proud of their wine making abilities and competition is strong amongst the villagers, with gentle rivalry very normal.

The conversation as you can imagine, consisted of odd words and much sign language. My Hungarian is not great, we laughed a lot. They seemed to want to give us more wine but we had to carry on along the trail.

We have walked this trail before and recognised the still fallen tree over the path. The massive trees roots still exposed on the hillside and pertroding in unusual shapes gave it an eerie feeling.

Raphael, curious about his surroundings began surveying the boulders and vegetation.

Determined to climb “up” in any way possible, he made a few attempts to scale the rock face!

After he had made several time consuming attempts at the stone face he abandoned it so we could continue along the trail further into the forest. All we could hear was the constant chatter of the overhead woodpeckers and their incessant tapping.

We crunched along the path stepping on these many seed pods from the overhanging trees.

Soon the landscape started changing, we rounded a corner and the hillsides became incredibly steep and dark.

Suddenly we came to a huge clearing with this quaint cottage just sitting there surrounded by trees. It reminded me of the fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood”!

Raphael was keen to take a closer look, whilst I took advantage of the picnic table for a breather. I am not sure if this a residential property or if it belongs to the Forestry Commission. Either way it is very pretty.

It certainly is a very peaceful location.

As is usual along these forest trails, boards are strategically placed for walkers to get an idea of the natural habitat and its inhabitants.

I was on the look out for fungi/mushrooms and came across these beauties. I do not pick wild mushrooms but they are super pretty to photograph.

Our walk was coming to an end, Raphael and I had picked up sticks along the way….. to aid walking he said! He was right! We made our way back with our acquired walking sticks trying to avoid the many falling acorns as we went.

Mother Nature continued to enchant us later that evening. The sky decided to explode into an array of colours just before sundown. What a beautiful way to end our day.