After another wonderfully productive week at UNDP Bratislava, my friend and fellow intern Timi again offered to host us in her homeland of Hungary, this time in the countryside. Looking back on the last trip, who could turn down that offer?
I met up with Timi and another intern, Hyun-Young, in Budapest, where we took a train to a small village on Lake Balaton called Badacsonytomaj. We arrived in the village around 10pm, which is a bit late to start anything, but it was 30C outside and we were in the mood for adventure. With this spirit, we set our bags down in the apartment we rented and set out to explore.
We were unfortunately turned away by guards at several privately own beaches (they were closed), but we were able to find a little path through some high grass that led to a dock which extended into the lake. Some fishermen were sleeping on the dock, but that didn't stop us from climbing into the dark, calm water of Lake Balaton for a late night dip! Floating on my bake in the dark lake and gazing at the clear, starry sky might be my favorite memory of the weekend.
Following the swim, we stopped by a local village bar to try Palinka, a tasty Hungarian liquor, and then we sat out on a bench in front of the town's church just enjoying the night air.
Around midnight, two cars drove up to the church, which was strange because the town had been pretty quiet and empty. We greeted these new arrivals and after a conversation, we slowly realized that these guys were members of the Hungarian rock band Quimby and they were headlining a concert the next day (a concert we had been planning on attending). They invited us to a party at the winery where the concert was going to happen, so we hopped in the cars and went!
I'm trying to keep this post short, so if you want details on my night of partying with a famous Hungarian rock band, ask me in person.
We got back to the apartment very late (or early) and discovered at the doorstep that Hyun-Young had lost the keys somewhere on our trip. Too tired to deal with scouring the streets of Badacsonytomaj, we put ourselves to bed in lounge chairs in the garden. The next morning, we called the landlady of the apartment to apologize for losing the keys and she thought it was hilarious that we had spent the night in the garden!
On Saturday, we spent the morning napping (in the house) and then mep up with two of Timi's good friends, Judith and Kitti. The rest of the weekend wasn't as eventful as the first 12 hours of our time in Badacsonytomaj, but it was filled with lots of beach lounging, lake swimming, trips back to our dock, Hungarian fish soup, a fun concert, some delicious wine and exploring the Balaton coast on half-broken rental bicycles.
On our way out of Badacsonytomaj on Sunday, the five of us stopped to take a photo in front of the town church where we had relaxed the first night. I approached a man lounging nearby to ask him to take our picture, which he did with enthusiastic flair. While taking our picture, he happened to mention that two nights earlier, he had found a set of keys in front of the church and had placed them on the church's Virgin Mary statue.
What do you know, Mary of Badacsonytomaj was holding onto our lost keys for us!