Hungary III. Old places, new experience
A lot of Hungarian towns offer to visitors enjoy and nice experience., as soon as they reach its city centres, (through suburbs, overcrowded with magazines, supermarkets, shops and similar dodges of 21st century). Most of historic centres form pearls hidden inside this, not too inviting shell.
New highway in direction to Budapest (we reach it from Bratislava, after crossing the border- where no passport or customs control is available) rather put away (from direct accessibility) the town of Gyor. Its Czech name is Rab. In past, there was an important centre of this region, even since Pannonia time-period. If you make a stop here now, you have to pass through villas-quarters and standard housing quarters, in order to reach Kaptalan, where is to be found Bishop palace with residence tower of 13th century, and with nearby placed streets, full with civic houses and palaces. It is also worth to visit preserved buildings in Baroque style on Szechenyi ter. No doubt, we have to find and discover the historic atmosphere of Gyor.
If we are not in a hurry in our drive to Budapest, (or, on the contrary, if we are on our return way from Balaton Lake), it could be probably more interesting to visit two towns situated in western part of the country. These towns have its names - Sopron and Szombathely. The town of Sopron (our GPS navigation will probably lead us partially through the territory of Austria) is situated in such headland of Hungary, so that it could cause some detour way. Nevertheless, who decides so, he will be richly awarded. You can return, walking through several streets and squares in old quarters of town, in an atmosphere of 17th century. You find here houses - jewels of old architecture, untouched with next coming centuries. And, even if you come here in the evening, and not so many people are passing by, you can nearly expect, that you meet the dames in cloths fading away till the earth and cavaliers with swords at their sides. With this impression, you probably continue walking to Zarvat, to have a look castle-chateau Nadasdy, or to visit local arboretum, so you could not be in a hurry in any case. The town of Szombathely was founded on place of former Roman town of Samaria, established in 43 B.C. First part of this name means Saturday (Szombat). On this, day, there were taken place here the markets. Who prefers excavations, he finds here rests 2000 years old, the other are interested for Templom ter and environs, or spa of Bukfurdo, situated nearby.
Further two towns, you cannot miss, are the towns of Veszprem and Szekesfehervar. Both are to be found while driving to Balaton Lake. The town of Veszprem is situated of Bakony Hills range. Place of interest No.1is the old castle, built by King Stephen I. Anyway, its sightseeing does not take us a lot of time. On the other hand, to the town of Szekesfehervar, you have to reserve more time. The town was founded in 972 by Arpad, later there was Bishop seat here and became one of most wealthy towns in the country. Not only Bishop palace, but also several churches, civic houses and other buildings give testimony that the town played an important role in Hungarian history. Provided there is favourable weather and you are not in a hurry, you can take a bath in Velence Lake.
In western part of a country, you find many interesting places. In case you drive from Budapest in northeast direction, you reach the town of Miskolc. At present, there is no problem to drive there, from Ujpest you reach it on very comfortable highway. The third greatest Hungarian town merits, not to be in a hurry. You can have a look medioeval castle Diosgyor and Gothic church Avas. And, as you are not collectors of historical memory only, you can visit - and it is highly recommandable - termal springs Miskolctapolca - and this is, no doubt, something unforgettable! You swim in warm water among rocks and caves, and, watching the sky, you feel as in fairytale world or in a film.
In your return way from Miskolc, you derive to spend a day in the town of Eger. Even the person, who does not prefer to mount upstairs, he does not miss to visit local castle. This castle became famous with an event, when local women – by means of throwing down of various objects and pouring out of various liquids (you can imagine, of which kind the liquids were) - put to flight the Turks (they fighted against them even with swords in hands). Today, the pedestrian zone in Eger has quiet and comfortable places for walking or for sitting at good meals in restaurant. There are open for public, all year round, three bassins containing thermal water in town´s park.
From Miskolc, you can continue ahead to the west - into Tokay region, centre of vineyard area. This visit could be effected by addicted wine-admirers. The town of Tokay is small, very natty, however, now rather influenced with wine sale business, especially to visitors from Austria. There is a danger that non-expert could buy not only excellent Tokay-wine, but very expensive Furmint in plastic bottles of 1liter contents. You find here a lot of wine-caves. Frankly speaking, there are only wine-shops for Austrian visitors. The bus-drivers who take the visitors here, receive a provision for a fact that the tourist stop in front of cave and buy here couple of bottles.
Anyway, there is more experience for one excursion to Hungary during long weekend, is not it? It is necessary to stress that town such as Miskolc and Eger merit extra excursion, if you can, for instance, fully enjoy the atmosphere of Miskoltapolca. This alone has its unforgettable magic for one -day-stay at lest.
It is true, it remains a lot for one visit, anyway, with your own car you are more independent. You have the idea to enjoy more then follow tachometer-change in distance, otherwise your expressions could be mixed in some way of undistinguished confusion. So, we leave the description of southeastern part of Hungary for the next time. Last but not lest, small remark regarding boarding: you receive your meals everywhere in excellent duality and quite cheap, even in not specialised restaurants or small buffets. However, they are not furnished with comfortable equipment, but it has absolutely no influenced in quality of meals. In any case, you could not miss one halasczarda of any price-level. The expression „hal“ means fish - and not to try to eat halaszle - (typical fish soup) - is a sin, maybe a crime, but big pity. Nevertheless, you can try it later, in Szeged, where this meal was probably born.
Text: Jan Chaloupka
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