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

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

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.

Everyday Life in Hungary

Cruising around pretty Tamási, Hungary

Tucked away behind the main town of Tamási is Tamási wildlife and game park. A large forested area open to the public to see the deer in their natural surroundings. Unfortunately, I could only explore the grand approach to this huge fallow deer park but not go inside due to the Covid19 virus.

At this current time the forest park is closed but there is lots of information about the history and location to be found here.

The approach road follows a good sized pretty lake with vantage points all the way round. I am not absolutely sure about the history of this quaint wooden building but I think it’s a love house??

Weeping Willows and rushes surrounded the lakeside which gave such a romantic feel.

I could see the little wooden house between the rushes. A young couple stood in the perfect beauty spot, oblivious to me taking photos. They were actually the only people I saw on my walk.

The little wooden bridge to the the love house.

The romantic bridge I crossed to reach the love house had hundreds of padlocks on it. A common sight in the capital Budapest but the first time I have seen this tradition in rural Hungary.

My last picture of the love house, after much patience and waiting the young couple finally left. I returned over the bridge and carried on.

The lake looked rather brown today from this angle, which was a shame as I have seen it bright blue in the past. I always like to look at the various boards dotted around in these forestry parks. I might not be able to understand the text but I look at the pictures to gleen my information.

My trusty companions, my son and my husband fed up with waiting for me…they don’t mind really! 😉

One half of the lake was set aside for breeding frogs….there were hundreds of them making a hell of a noise!

I came across this MASSIVE tree trunk, with beautiful mosses growing all over it. It was quite magnificent. I rather liked the fence too, perfect for our garden, I have pinched the idea!

Leaving the deer park behind we ventured up into the hills surrounding Tamási. Every turn we made led us through many attractive little lanes, quite charming.

At the highest point I looked back and realised how steep the road was and how high we had climbed. This chap stood majestically at a crossroads with his bunch of grapes at his side, this was vineyard country!

I don’t think this property was occupied but it made me look twice particularly at the thatched roof.

Castle, Wine Museum, Viewing Spot.

We did not see the castle but we did get some spectacular views and enjoyed driving through the many vineyards.

Stunning view across the flat terrain of Tolna County Hungary.

We passed the satellite aerial on the way up, you can see the vines in the foreground.

Finally just a bit of fun: These shots were taken by my son, of me taking shots of the wooden love house!

We had an excellent family drive out with lots to see and photograph. We finished our trip with a picnic of Gyros chicken with salads and sauces in wraps from our favourite place in Tamási… Dam Gyros.

There are so many beautiful interesting places to explore all just on our doorstep. We are so lucky. Watch out for more walks around the charming villages and settlements in the Hungarian countryside.

Do you like exploring new places? I do. I would love to hear of new places in Hungary which are worth taking my camera too. Drop me a line in the comments. Many thanks.