Monthly Archives: December 2013


Summit and Sky It doesn’t seem fair. Almost every country that borders Hungary has either amazing mountainous terrain or beautiful seashore. Slovenia is the Swiss Alps of the Balkans, Croatia has the magnificent Dalmatian Coast, Ukraine is not just black earth but also the Crimea, worst of all the Tatras in Slovakia and the peaks […]

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Lasting a Lifetime On the western edge of the Mátra Hills is Ágasvár. It is one of those places off limits to most of the world. Not because of exclusivity or private ownership, but because there is no road here, only trails. That is a deterrent to many, but to others it is an invitation. […]

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“It Is Nothing” Near the center of Vienna, is the city’s oldest museum known as the Heeresegeschichtliches, the Military History Museum of Austria. The museum collection and displays focus on Austrian military feats, but in one room a tragedy unfolds through a collection of artifacts that provide a window into the most transformative moment of […]

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Identity Crisis The village of Kadarkút sits amid a swath of southwestern Hungary that is home to most of the nation’s ethnic Croatians. These areas include Zala, Baranya and Somogy (where Kadarkút is located) counties. Due to the carving up of the Kingdom of Hungary in the post-World War I peace settlement most of the […]

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The Living Legacy of Rome Tucked into the far reaches southwestern Hungary is the village of Lábod. For a nation known for seemingly endless agricultural plains stretching across the Carpathian Basin, woodlands that surround Lábod are a pleasant surprise and not as rare as one might think. Stereotyping a nation the size of Hungary, as […]

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The Age Of Entitlement The small village of Doba, northwest of Lake Balaton, is home to the Doba Erdődy Castle. This fine example of neo-classicism has the look and feel of a giant manor house. The stately façade and bright white exterior make it look like it could be set in Western Europe rather than […]

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A Distant Memory Királyrét, in the Börszöny Hills, is home to the “royal meadow.” This was a former hunting ground of the last truly great Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus (1458-1490). It is said that he would come here with his wife Queen Beatrice of Naples to venture out on hunts into the surrounding forests. We […]

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 The Will To Survive Smack in the middle of the largest basin in the Börszöny Hills is Szokolya. Though it is less than an hour from Budapest by car, it is best to travel to Szokolya by railway. It’s not just the natural beauty of the northern uplands that make this trip worthwhile, but also […]

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Vanishing Acts In 1910 a census was taken in the village of Bőszénfa in Somogy County. It recorded a population of 984 people. 586 (59.6%) of these were ethnic Germans, while the 397 Hungarians (40.3%) were distinctly in the minority. Today, the village is almost entirely Hungarian. Traces of this bygone German majority are few. […]

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Curtain Call Fertőrákos, on the Hungarian – Austrian border, is a good place to contemplate why the Hungarians have always been seen as the lesser partner in their historic relationship with the Austrians. In one sense this is understandable since the Habsburgs ruled over much of Hungary for several centuries. Conversely, this relationship changed radically […]

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