We are getting closer and closer to the end of this academic year and after the final examination is over, everyone can enjoy the freedom of the Summer. Many people travel during holidays. In this article, I want to encourage the Readers to visit Central-Europe and Hungary, my homeland.
I know Central-Europe is far away from Pennsylvania (it is at least 11 hours of flying!), but if you get the chance to visit that area, I can safely recommend you to do so! Most countries in that area (Austria, Poland, Czech Republic) have rich historical and cultural heritage, beautiful landscapes, fine local cuisines and many interesting activities that everyone can find something that he/she likes. When I am talking about Hungary, I sometimes feel – not because of my patriotism – that it has all of these in a higher level.
First and foremost, the capital, Budapest is a beautiful and lively city. It has many things to see – I think even a week would not be enough for it. There are museums in every type, art galleries from “ancient” to contemporary ones and churches, including the St. Stephen Basilica and the gothic Matthias Church. For cultural programs, the Hungarian State Opera House has nice shows besides the theaters, and there are great concerts in the Franz Liszt Music Academy or in the Palace of Arts.
Budapest has also several peaceful parks, which are nice places to chill out sometimes. In the City Centre, there are many good small streets to walk around, where we can find excellent restaurants. This area is also the “hotspot” of the night-life in Budapest. And of course, the beautiful River Danube, on which public ship transportation is being operated, which is a pleasant way of sightseeing too! The Houses of Parliament are located on the riverside, and Budapest has different, but historical bridges across the river. Every generation can find something in Budapest that he is looking for!
Half of the country is hills and the other is flatland: we can find different areas and opportunities on the countryside. Because of my family-background, I usually spend more time in the Western or North-Western region of the country, which has the hills. (Not as high as the Appalachians!) The biggest lake in Central-Europe, the Lake Balaton is in this part of Hungary. Many tourists visit the lake through the year, especially in Summer, when that area has a unique, almost Mediterranean climate. The lake has a peninsula, Tihany – which is my personal favorite – where actually a Benedictine Abbey is located! In the North-West is the Benedictine Archabbey of Pannonhalma, which is a beautiful place, and the monks started to innovate it very much in the past years, so more and more people visit the Archabbey, and it is really worth to visit! On the southern side of the country, I would point out two bigger towns: Pécs and Szeged, the second one is crossed by our second longest river, the River Tisza. On the eastern side is located the second biggest city, Debrecen which is surrounded by the Hortobágy, a flat area, full of interesting and unique nature reserves.
Beside sightseeing, those who like nature more, there are many areas where people can make trips. Also, not to forget about the food. The Hungarian cuisine uses meat and paprika usually, but close to lakes or rivers, many delicious fish-meals are served. There are couple of foods or ingredients that can be found only in that country – not even in the “close neighborhood”. Furthermore, Hungary has fantastic wines. (There are more historical vineyard regions in the country, than counties!) We have both white and red wine, the most famous regions are spread out through the country from the Went onto the East: Sopron, Villány, Eger, Tokaj.
I hope I could kindle up your interest of visiting a beautiful and safe country in the middle of Europe. It is far from the States, nearly a different world, but it is fantastic!