Sunday in Hungary

Hello from the Hungarian countryside. It is nearly 8 pm and the sun has gone down. GG has gone off with her camera down the dirt road between the cornfields on safari. As for me, I decided this morning that I would spend this first day entirely on the property of this little guesthouse. The furthest I have gone today is to take the recycling to the shared bin. I felt like I needed to set this goal for myself so that I could look back in a week’s time and say “See, there was a day that you actually did nothing more than serve coffee to your hosts, read through your magazine stash and be outside”. You know, because I have these tendencies to treat vacation like a checklist of things to see.

It helps that the internet here is very sporadic. You need to stand precisely in a certain corner to connect and then if you are lucky the signal is strong enough to download the headers of email messages. This means I certainly won’t be uploading any pictures until I get back 😉

We’re the last guests here. The owners have sold it and are leaving next month after ten years. They have a grandson now and this location is too remote for their family to visit easily. I can understand that since it feels like you really are in the middle of nowhere. The loudest sounds are the crickets and frogs, with the exception of the nightly chorus of the dogs in the surrounding countryside. Last night I thought I heard a cow. It turns out I did. The house down the road has two cows and some goats.

The stars here are unbelievable. This is an advantage of there being so little artificial light. Everything is very ordered and manicured. Our host was telling us that Hungarians are very house proud and every extra cent that they earn goes back into some sort of home improvement project. The region that we are in is not flat at all, there are hills for miles and even in the distance it appears that there might be a small mountain.

The Hungarian language is in the same language family as Finnish and Estonian. These three languages compose their own group. I can tell you that I can’t find any similarities so far with English except for the word for supermarket. In Hungarian it is Szupermarket. If learning Dutch was difficult, I imagine Hungarian would be even harder.

They are little people too. Stocky and compact, men and women alike. I feel like a giant. GG is probably 4 inches taller than I am so you can imagine that sight of the two of us is probably shocking. We’ll find out when we do some exploring. It is so quiet out here, I can hear her footsteps coming up the dirt road. At least, I think that is her.

Hungary uses florins instead of euros. Yesterday, at the airport, I ordered an espresso and a San Pellegrino and it was 1500 florins. I paid with a 5000 florin bill, which I was concerned would be difficult to exchange – until I realized that the ATM had also given me bills of 20,000 florins. To put this into scale, my beverages cost the equivalent of 3.5 euros. We did our entire grocery shopping for less than 30 euros. I don’t think that this is a vacation that we will have to worry about paying off for months at a time.

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