Everyday Life in Hungary

September Saunter, Kisszékely Forest, Hungary

“Saunter” – to walk in a slow, relaxed manner

Raphael and I thought we would go for a short walk and explore through the many forests surrounding the village of Kisszékely.

Our route took us past the village dairy farm where we were greeted by lots of friendly speckled cows. Some oblivious to our attentions so just continued to extract the hay by any means possible, even if it meant climbing into the feeder!

My mother used to say “if the cows are sitting down it is going to rain” – my mother has never lived in Hungary!

Raphael, my walking companion was ready and eager to lead the way. On the muddy path we could easily identify that deer had walked that way. The lazy butterfly was oblivious to the muddy surface and my photography!

Our walk took us past many wild hedgerows laden with coloured berries. I have never been tempted to pick berries in the wild as my knowledge is basic but it is improving rapidly.

This rather grubby sign told us what to expect in this area and this walk. We have spotted snakes here before but did not see any on our walk today. We did spot a hawk though.

As we ambled along in the September sunshine we passed a huge sunflower field (Hungary are prolific sunflower growers) ready for cropping and then processing into sunflower oil.

The entrance to the forest drew closer, we walked a little faster eager to get inside.

At last we entered the canopied forest enjoying the cool air and rustling trees.

At last into the forest with Ranger Raphael and his stick!
Resting on a log!

The forest whispered to itself lightly dropping leaves on our path. We sauntered along chatting and taking photos. Whispers of sunshine cast their shadows through the trees. Raphael turned to me and said “this is the perfect place to have a romantic walk with my girlfriend”. I had to agree.

Peaceful but for the rustle of the trees.
Different areas had different trees, these with a carpet of bronzing leaves underneath.

Exploring is all part of the fun in the forest. Raphael spotted this huge mud pit under the trees. It deserved closer inspection. We agreed it was probably for the wild boar living in the forest.

The fruits of the forest kept giving. Acorns from the huge trees rained down on us whenever there was a sudden gust of wind. I spotted this gentle white wispy flower, later I discovered it was called Clematis Vitalba / Oldman’s Beard. The burst of yellow is Olidago / Goldenrods.

These stunning trees lined our path called Ailanthus Altissima/Tree of Heaven.

All went well until we met a junction with no obvious “right way” so we just kept walking. Raphael, however assured me he knew which way we should go!

Whichever way we chose we were certainly going deeper into the forest….and perhaps a little lost. I was suitably relieved to find somewhere to rest and decide which way next.

After much huffing and puffing and a good deal more walking (and a short stint in the undergrowth) we finally came upon a wondrous sight. A massive clearing came into view and the recognisable grey cattle of the village farmer meant we knew where we were.

What a delight to see a field full of donkey’s all walking over to us, presumably to see if we had brought treats. Sadly, we had not.

Our walk was improving by the minute. Next door to the donkeys live the lamas who were happy to say hello. All these animals belong to the same farmer, on a large expanse of land and appear to be very contented. The farmer also has sheep, goats, horses and water buffalo to my knowledge.

Leaving the fields full of animals behind we continued our journey towards the main road. What a welcoming sight.

Up the hill a little and round the corner to our familiar village sign.

Down the hill, past the lakes with the usual tractor traffic on our way home. 🙂

Raphael and I had spent a very pleasant 4 hours walking 5 miles. In spite of getting a little lost the forest was wonderful, as always. I was glad to sit down and have a very British cup of tea.

I am very proud of my walking achievement and thankful to have a good tracker to keep me motivated. In England I never walked 5 miles in a day, but then again I lived in the city and not the countryside. A big bonus for living in rural Hungary.

Do you have a fitbit/tracker to motivate you? Do you enjoy walks in the forest? I would love to hear from you.

Everyday Life in Hungary

Exploring the pretty rural village of Sáregres, Hungary

Yesterday my ever patient driver, my husband, took us for a cruise around the villages of rural Hungary. I never know what’s going to be around the next corner, so my hand is always on my camera ready to take that next memorable shot.

It is sunflower and sweetcorn season in Hungary with fields and fields of brightly coloured yellow heads bobbing in the wind. The sweetcorn stands erect and solid lining the roadsides not quite ripe yet but will be soon bulging with tasty corn.

Cheerful Sunflowers everywhere
Nearly mature tall sweetcorn

Our route took us past many of the roadside sellers with stalls overflowing with different melons. The area is called Cece and is famous for its excellent growing conditions, low lying ground and plenty of rain. The melons known in Hungarian as Dinnye are sweet and delicious so we regularly stop like many others to buy them. I particularly like the Gaila melons.

Entering the village of Sáregres we were greeted with these super storks. They perch on top of telegraph poles in most villages in Hungary. Soon these youngsters will fly the nest and return again next spring to nest and raise their young.

The immaculate church in the village has a 30m high tower in front of the western facade and was built in 1884, last being renovated in 1925. Inside there are 450 seats for worshipers. The 2 church bells cast in 1868 were sadly requisitioned in World War 1. The church now houses 3 bells bought jointly by the villagers of Sáregres.

Around the village rambling roses and geraniums add pockets of cheerful colour.

A little further through the village we spotted some sheep…..not unusual but what was slightly strange was they were living in a house! Not something you see everyday!

Most rural villages have wells for pulling water. Years ago this was the Hungarians only source of water. This is called a counter-balance well in Hungarian Gémes kút. We have a well in our garden but not with the poles. Nowadays most of the wells are filled in and are purely for decoration. Pretty nevertheless.

My next photographic moment came only a few hundred metres later. Eric kindly stopped the car to let me investigate. In the middle of this tiny village was a Potter… in Hungarian Fazekas. I have indulged in pottery myself in England so was keen to see inside the tiny workshop. It appeared to be in the Potter’s house.

Outside there were pots drying everywhere taking advantage of the hot sunshine.

Inside were shelves filled with rows and rows of the potters work.

We chatted with the Potter (in broken Hungarian) and found that he can do commissions, which was useful to know as I am on the lookout for a vase for cut flowers. He might be my man!

We bought some plant pots and this lovely bird bath all just costing pennies. I want to paint this before putting it outside. A lovely addition to our garden.

Leaving the potter we travelled a little further and discovered Rétimajor. Intrigued by the sign we went to have a look what was there.

The grounds were gorgeous, lined with apple trees, little bridges and colourful flower beds.

This pretty little thatched hut sat on the water’s edge with views over the lakes and canals.

After a little research I realised this area had been awarded money from the EU to support the extensive fish pond production based on traditional techniques, including the conservation and enhancement of the surrounding countryside. It would appear that global warming has affected the fish and their environment over many years.

For more information and spectacular photos of this amazing fishing area click here. (in Hungarian).

The grounds house a museum showing examples of fishing equipment and fishing techniques used in bygone times. I did not go inside.

One end of the museum had been painted with a fishing scene.

On the site there is a highly regarded restaurant – Golden Carp Fishermans Tavern which we shall certainly visit in the future. The former water tower and blacksmith workshop were converted to create the restaurant, keeping the original wooden ceiling seen here.

Another rather gruesome drawing on an outside wall.

Exhibits of old boats surrounded the museum along with a wonky sign!

Leaving Sáregres and making our way home we stopped on the roadside to enjoy some very delicious yellow plums.

….and once again admired the amazing sunflowers Hungary has to offer.

Hungary has plenty of surprises everytime we go out. We really love this country we call home. We shall be venturing out again very soon to explore the pretty villages of rural Hungary.

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