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

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

Capital Calling – Budapest

In Search of Turkish Spices

I had fabulous day out with the Eric yesterday! We took the long drive into Budapest, the capital of Hungary and realised how I had become very accustomed to empty roads and very little traffic in the countryside!

Crossing the River Danube

Driving in the middle of the capital alongside tram lines and bright yellow trams was a hair-raising experience! Pedestrians frequently crossed the main roads with no regard to moving traffic and the general crazy driving of other motorists made me hold my breath more than once!

Imposing buildings lined the streets with little cafes and shops housed at street level. Lots of things to take photos of but I had to keep my eye on the road! I was navigator along with Sat Nav man!

Finally we reached our destination in one piece, car parked and we both let out a huge sigh of relief!

This was the Turkish food market I had found on the internet and hoped it would sell everything we needed.


We usually get our herbs and spices from England but the Covid-19 Pandemic had put a stop to that. Our supplies were running low and it was a good excuse for a day out and to get into the city.

The Turkish supermarket was located in the heart of the 8th district of Budapest, one of the oldest districts in the city and occupied a prominent corner position, so easy to spot.

Thankfully our efforts were not in vane and the long journey was forgotten as soon as we entered the store. We were not disappointed and bought far more things than we had intended too!

Above the herbs and spices hung these amazing Turkish lanterns in lovely colours suspended from the ceiling, the shelves were filled with numerous Turkish nik-naks…. I felt like I was in Turkey!

The store had a well stocked Halal butcher and a fabulous bakery selling enticing sweets and mouth watering breads.

By now we had filled our trolley with lots of wonderful products and breads and hams for us to eat for our lunch. Shopping had made us hungry!

I had looked on the map to find somewhere close by to have something to eat before heading off home again. I was delighted to find a huge park that was also a cemetery just around the corner.

This was Fiumei Road Cemetery and park…56 hectares full of rich fauna and flora. Also perfect to have our picnic.

A beautifully peaceful park with an added bonus at the entrance, a useful information centre that gave me a map providing a little history about this huge majestic cemetery in the heart of the Budapest city….in English!

It would not usually be a place that I would have taken photographs but I was mesmerised by the fantastic stone sculptures on the tombstones. Each one told its own personal story.

Those buried here are prominent personalities of the Hungarian nation dating from 1849. Most of the tombs have historic value and were created by reputable architects and sculptors.

This is called “Arcades” built between 1904 and 1908 in the Art Nouveau style.

Inside the entrance this was painted on the ceiling. Spectacular!

After walking through the many avenues of trees and pristine shrubs I came across these two wonderful memorial creations.

With our car laden with fresh lamb, Turkish breads and all the herbs and spices we needed to last us another 6 months we headed off home.

We pulled off the road for a break and came across a hidden beauty…I just had to photograph it! Set back from the road was a massive fishing lake looking tranquil in the afternoon sun. This was Lake Adony. It was also a chance to eat fallen apples from the laden trees surrounding it. A perfect way to end our successful day trip to Budapest.

Seasonal Photographs

Seasonal Summer Photos in and around Kisszékely, Hungary

We are nearing the end of summer in our little rural village of Kisszékely. Our 3rd summer here and every one has been wonderfully beautiful, full of flowers and wildlife, sights and sounds I would never hear in the city.

I have collected together my 12 best summer photos to give you an idea of summer life in Hungary.

The glorious sunflowers of Hungary, all different shades of yellow attracting bees and insects all summer long.

As the late sun goes down over Kisszékely lake it reminds me of why we moved to such a tranquil place. So very peaceful.

Haley Husky loves to get involved in every aspect of gardening! She manages to find her way under my feet regularly!

Hungary are blessed with radiant orangey sunsets, this one was particularly beautiful.

I can’t resist a field of sunflowers in full bloom. The heads are left on until the plant is completely brown and ready for harvesting later in the year.

Our garden has many Hibiscus of varying colours white through pinks and purples. It would appear to be a popular easy to grow plant with many flowers all summer long.

This is my colourful view whilst relaxing on our verandah.

This is the view from our bedroom window… lots of delicious sunflower seeds for hungry finches.

The white roses have flowered three times this year producing a wonderful display.

Walking around the village I was taken in by this lovely front garden. The splash of red often seen in front of Hungarian houses pops out at you. In Hungary the residents are responsible for the grass verges outside their houses.

We are fortunate to have a fairly lively animal farm in the village with a huge variety of animals including there gorgeous donkeys. They were looking hopefully for something to nibble.

Country life in Kisszékely Hungary suits us very well. Now it’s time to prepare for crisp autumn walks and hot warming casseroles.

Everyday Life in Hungary

Exploring Siófok, Szabadstrand (Public Beach)



We moved to Hungary 3 years ago coming from “unpredictable weather” England! Now we can plan our days out as the summer weather is predictably hot! Today we are visiting the beach, the Hungarians call it “Strand” and my trusty camera will make some photographic memories.

All my younger life I had associated beaches with sand, I had never considered beaches with grass before. Hungary offers plenty of beaches around Lake Balaton some sandy and some with grass. Eric and I have not actually swam in the lake before so it was to be our “virgin visit”! Our son has visited and swam in the lake so I asked him what he thought about grassed beaches. He actually said the experience of visiting the beach with grass was ace, far better than with sand. The grass was cool on his feet, there was shade if he wanted it and access to the water was easy.

We were excited to visit Lake Balaton and take a swim in “The Hungarian Sea”. As you can see I made some preparations, then prepared a packed lunch and finally into the car before 9.30 am.

Using our elderly SatNav we managed to negotiate Siófok city centre and reached our destination around 11.00 am. Free parking was available in the many side streets and paid parking was situated right next to the entrance….we choose paid parking, working out at 50p an hour. The beach was reasonably quiet at this point and there was no admission charge (some beaches charge an entrance fee).

We made our way through the many trees and found a spot close to the waterfront. We wanted shade and sun. This beach seemed popular with families with small children and their little areas had been set up with tents, towels and many inflatables. No dogs were allowed on this particular beach but there are others that catered specifically for dogs dotted around the Lake.

It was very noticeable that everyone spoke Hungarian, no foreign tourists just yet. Sadly the world pandemic has affected the tourism industry in every country, not just Hungary. It was good though that finally people can get out and about and enjoy the Hungarian summer. There was a definite air of fun with laughter in the air, splashing in the water and music drifting in the wind. Great atmosphere!

As we are retired we have no restrictions when we have a day out so we try to go midweek in the hope it will be less busy. We visited on a Friday and it was pleasantly full. We sat on the grass and social distanced ourselves as much as possible. Nobody wore masks. Difficult to social distance on the chairs and parasols as they were so close together.

This couple spent a very long time inflating dinghies and floatables to take into the lake. Eventually they were all set to go. There were many activities on offer for messing about on the water…the paddle boarding appeared popular working out at about £7.50 an hour.

Away from the lake shore was a large collection of shaded marquees and eating establishments to cater for every taste. On this occasion we did not try the food as I had made a picnic packed lunch. For future visits we will definitely try the food.

There was a huge seating area outside this restaurant and inside too. I noticed how clean everything was, no litter anywhere which was nice to see. Inside they were serving fast food similar to McDonalds.

There were tents selling ice cold beers, fruity ice creams, pizza and pastas, langos, various coffees, soft drinks in fully stocked fridges, lots of variety.

The WC block was easy to spot, immaculately clean with a lady on the door taking coins for toilet tissue. Inside there were also shower facilities if needed.

As the morning turned into afternoon and the temperatures were soaring past 33 degrees celsius it was imperative we had a swim. Metal staircases jut into the lake with railings to help you get in the cooling water. We walked for a long way out as the water was shallow, perfect for children as the floor of the lake was soft and sandy.

My husband and son had another dip a bit later whilst I “People Watched” and took more photographs.

My opinion has been changed, Hungarian beaches are beautiful, well maintained and in my opinion better than sandy beaches where you scold your feet, eat the sand with your dinner and get it in your eyes!

The only negative would be….and we did not experience this, is as there were so many trees around it could be a problem with bugs and pesky mosquitoes in the early evening.

By 3.00 pm we had had enough and prepared for the long drive home. The car park by now was full to capacity and we were glad we had parked close by. I think my tip would be: Get there early!

Finally, I took this short video so you are able to appreciate the pretty beach side surroundings of Siófok Szabadstrand. It is certainly worth a visit if you find yourself travelling around Lake Balaton in Hungary.

Everyday Life in Hungary

Summer in Siófok, Hungary

Every month or so we take the long journey to Siófok usually to visit the bank. Yesterday was no different except now the virus restrictions have been lifted there were lots of street cafes and restaurants open for business. Time for a bit of sightseeing and then lunch.

Siófok is Hungary’s second most popular holiday destination after Budapest. The town can boast a 17-kilometre-long coast, with over 1,000 hotels, plenty of bars, restaurants and night clubs. Siófok is one of the richest municipalities of Hungary due to tourism. Hungarians often call the town “the capital of Lake Balaton”, as it is the largest town on its shores and acts as a touristic hub for the southern shore of Lake Balaton.

Approaching Siófok city centre the roads were lined with beautiful flower arrangements decorating the lampposts. There were hundreds of them on both sides of the wide road. The photo does not do them justice as we were speeding along! I wondered how they organised watering the many arrangements?!

We managed to park up the car and take a walk across the busy square towards the bank. It was mid-morning and the street cafes were just beginning to fill up. I particularly liked the colourful geraniums sitting on the pavement, such a colourful display.

Cafe Roxy, Siófok, Hungary

For more details about Cafe Roxy look here

In the main square of Siófok, at the foot of the Water Tower is the statue of Count István Széchenyi placed in the middle of a circular fountain in 2012. The large bronze and chrome steel statue depict the Count standing on the first steamboat of the Balaton, the Kisfaludy, as Széchenyi was the founder and lifetime president of the Balaton Steamship Company.

I could not resist taking a shot of the fountains. The bubbling sounds were so relaxing, great on a hot sunny day.

Seats all around the square accommodate weary walkers enjoying icecreams. A view from above captures the famous statue of Count István Széchenyi.

Siófok Water Tower

The Water Tower is a well-known attraction of Siófok, standing in the centre of the town. The tower was fully renovated in 2012 and houses two panorama elevators taking guests to the rotating Belvedere floor where you can enjoy staggering views over Lake Balaton. There is also a cafe if you need refreshments.

Siófok Water Tower – more information in English – here

A little closer to the lake and we came across a range of different eating establishments. This one had street food on offer.

Another selling Gyros.

We finally settled on Mustafa’s to eat our lunch, a Turkish/Mediterranean menu with a huge selection of dishes. We wanted to sit on the pavement and do some people watching!

Mustafa’s is a great place to eat good quality, tasty, inexpensive food. The surroundings were lovely with a pretty outdoor garden, TV included!

Our menu ….and the sticker on the pavement reminding us we are still vulnerable during this pandemic. It was pleasing to see this restaurant was taking things seriously.

So to our menu…an enormous pizza..

…with Falafel, Salad and Chips and Chicken Breast Ceasar Salad. Beautifully cooked and politely served, I would certainly recommend Mustafa’s.

After finishing our meal and walking up the street we realised that Mustafa’s owned the full block, restaurants and takeaway. Impressive.

I discreetly noticed the local police constabulary seeming to be enjoying a Mustafa’s at lunchtime.

Adjacent to the restaurant were these beautifully manicured flower gardens and pretty parks.

Looking further into the park made it very inviting but alas we had no time left on our parking so we had to make a move.

The Siófok mini-train going about its daily tour of the area. Riders can get on and off at various points around Siófok.

If skateboarding is your “thing” then you will be very comfortable in Siófok amongst the street skaters. I preferred to just sit and watch!

A lake resort would not be complete without a gift shop for tourists to pursue and buy trinkets and toys. This was one of many lining the streets.

Karika Tura was out in the sunny square offering Henna tattoos to anyone interested.

Travelling out of the town we encountered many railway lines with rather attractive crossings.

Waiting for the train to pass I hung out of the window and took this shot of a little cafe on the corner. The brightly coloured blue chairs caught my eye along with the lavender in the pretty flower bed.

This is my special man who took me out for a wonderful lunch and as usual, was my taxi for the day and a second eye for my photography. Thank you very much 💕

I hope you have enjoyed our little trip around Siófok there is so much more to see we will need to visit again one day very soon.

Everyday Life in Hungary

Market Day in Tamási Hungary

Yesterday was Thursday, so it was market day in Tamási. We had visited table top and car-boot sales here in Hungary before, although we found they operated differently compared to England. If you are interested, I wrote a blog about car-booting Hungarian style which you can read all about here.

This market however, was open-air with plenty of stalls selling a huge variety of new goods, clothes, plants and nic nacs.

Our good friends in the next village recommended we make a visit on market day to the butchers located in the market hall. We were told he sold a wide variety of excellent good quality meats.

I was not so interested in marvelling at meats so left Eric in the butchers whilst I wandered around the many stalls.

The market (if you are ever in rural Hungary) was behind the Spar supermarket, held on a Thursday morning and had plenty of free parking. We arrived around 11.00 am and was pleasantly surprised that it was not very crowded….I later discovered the action started at 6.30 am. The Hungarians are early birds!

As I perused the stalls, I had already decided I would be back to visit again, there was so much to see. The stallholders were all very friendly shouting “hello” to me as I looked at their wares. I became a little confused when they continued talking to me in Hungarian, I did not understand what they were saying so just smiled pleasantly and moved on!

I looked rather conspicuous with my camera and felt eyes on me several times. I wish I was more confident with street photography, I have a fear of people turning on me and yelling at me to stop! I would be no good as the Paparazzi!

In spite of the Covid19 virus, there was a definite absence of face masks…I only saw a couple of people donning them including me! It would appear precautions are now more relaxed than in previous weeks.

I did notice there was an abundance of shoe stalls, both adults and childrens. Crocs are VERY popular here for both adults and children. Though not so good for the feet I have heard. Although I have to say I do own a pair, they are my “old faithfuls” in the garden!

Loads of hardware stalls were selling absolutely everything you could need for home or garden. You could furnish and kit out your home completely from this market. I was impressed.

I was attracted to this huge pile of chiffon materials, all colours and sizes. I shall be returning with measurements of our windows (we have no curtains, just blinds) to see what I can pick up.

I was still waiting for Eric to finish in the butchers when I spotted this young man who looked decidedly bored. He did not seem to mind me taking his photograph. I was getting braver with my street photography!

I was still waiting patiently for Eric to reappear from the butchers….so I took the opportunity to..

…snap the signs in the window and the board outside and FINALLY a photo of an ecstatic Eric with his bag full of meaty goodies!

The market hall seemed to have a variety of clientele. Next door to the butchers was a busy takeaway with a queue of eager customers. Then a bar/pub/coffee shop with tables outside serving thirsty and hungry customers.

This was my favourite take of the day. The men were engrossed in deep conversations, chilling and drinking whilst I presumed the women shopped the market. This depicts a typical Hungarian scene. Alcohol and banter play a large part in the lives of most Hungarians.

Another thing enjoyed by Hungarians is honey and there was no shortage of it here at the market. The Hungarian honey is divine, and very easy to eat a lot of! I was tempted to buy but we have lots of honey at home. Maybe next time we visit the market it will be on my shopping list.

So for the duration of my visit to the market I had been getting braver and braver with my photographs….until I met this bunch!! They were a group of youngsters dressed somewhat strangely…note gas mask on the left??? I had no idea what was going on…I just started snapping. Little did I know what I would find when I downloaded today’s photos…a teenager flashing his stomach at me HaHa!! I laughed…maybe my street photography is getting better after all.

Do you enjoy markets in your town? Have you spotted any incredible bargains? I would love to hear about them in the comments.

Everyday Life in Hungary

My Camera – My Day

21st May – Friday

Today my dear husband agreed to take me out and about with my camera and to be my chauffeur and my second eye. Sometimes he sees things that I miss and he is good at pointing out different options for the same shot. I love a second opinion. We don’t always agree!

Today our route took us from Enying > Deg > Simontornya. 50 km.

I could not resists a stop in front of these glorious poppy fields, truly enchanting.

My thoughts: I always associate poppies with red, I had never seen such a beautiful field of red AND purple poppies before… just wow! My creative eye wanted to see a sea of flowers, some with a horizon and some without. It helped getting down low.

Leaving the poppy fields behind we headed towards a small town, Enying. Our business completed we set off to find a secluded spot to eat our well chosen Lidl bought picnic! We found out spot and enjoyed the view of an abandoned railway line. We ate freshly baked crusty bread with cheese and hams. It was really rather peaceful.

My thoughts: These lone poppies popped in the centre of the shot giving central focus, the houses on the right gave extra interest. I wanted to create a quiet harmonious scene, I think I have achieved that.

I ventured along the old railway line and came across the old station.

My thoughts: I love to take photos of abandoned buildings, there is a certain beauty in creating an atmospheric shot. My eye was caught by the multi-coloured frontage caused by years of decay. The splashes of green drew my eye, especially along the platform.

The Blue Old Mill, no longer operational. railway and station abandoned.

Walking along the rail tracks, I was greeted by a very colourful lizard… darting off here and there and blending in so well with his surroundings. I needed to look carefully through my camera to get a shot of him.

Limey Lizzard!

We drove around to the front of the Blue Old Mill and next door saw this row of terraced houses…

I suspect the workers from the Mill lived there when it was operational. Terraced housing is not common in Hungary, usually homes are detached properties. These houses are still occupied with the addition of several satellite dishes!

My thoughts: I wondered when the mill had closed. I would love to explore inside for more shots. I see they have built a brand new mill next door very modern and sleek. The Blue Mill is a recognisable blot on the landscape, a landmark for Enying. Its enormous blue building set amongst sprawling flat fields means you can see it for miles around.


Leaving the Old Blue Mill behind in Enying we continued our trip to the quaint little village of Dég, a picturesque area with a few hidden surprises.

Dég Village Church
Dég Village Church
The resident stork in the middle of the roundabout.

You can find more of my photos of storks in Hungary here:

We took a winding road through the forest and came across a settlement of houses, I’m not sure if they are holiday lodges but all very quirky and unusual in their own ways.

Travelling on past the settlement of houses and through the trees this extremely large and majestic building appeared! On further research I discovered this stunning building is a museum called Festetics Castle and is currently being renovated. The gardens surrounding the grounds are open freely to the public. You can park your car at the end of the drive and then walk around the stunning landscaped grounds. We were not able to walk the grounds on this occasion but I will one day. Lots more interesting information and photos of the English gardens here:

Majesty Tree

We could not pass this magnificent tree without stopping to admire it bowing to the ground with its extended branches. So graceful.

My thoughts: My imagination ran away with me and I could visualise the tree as an elderly gentleman as old as the tree! I also wondered what that tree had witnessed over the years whilst slowly maturing in front of this grand building.

We named it “The Majesty Tree”. Festetics Castle, Dég, Hungary

These were the shots we took from the roadside.

Leaving Dég, driving through the village lanes we came across lots of sheep enjoying the spring sunshine. I can’t resist animal shots, they can be so endearing, but sometimes difficult to take. Out of the car, camera at the ready… I could hear Eric making inappropriate noises towards the sheep to try and attract their attention….not too successfully!

When I looked over the fence a whole crowd of curious faces were looking at me!

Leaving Dég we made our way to Simontornya, famous for its castle and staggering views. This shot was taken from the hillside. If you would like to see what I saw on my drive around Simontornya visit here:

So that was one of our little cruises around the charming Hungarian countryside. There is always certainly plenty to see and photograph at any time of year. We have certainly picked a wonderful country to retire too.

Do you like exploring neighbouring villages and towns with your camera? Fortunately, I still seem to have the ability to photograph new things every day, it’s almost like a challenge… do you have those feelings? I would love to hear 🙂