Places worth visiting in Northern Hungary

EUROPE, Historic/Museums, Interesting Towns, SHOWS/FESTIVALS/HOLIDAYS, STAFF — By on August 26, 2016 at 20:11

Text & photos © Estrella Azul. Feature photo: Miskolc City at night.

I LEFT FOR HUNGARY by bus on a Thursday night in 2010, and the person sitting next to me immediately proved to be quite exhausting. She got annoyed about why I sat in “her” seat, which I’d been assigned randomly when buying my ticket. She made a scene until I finally had enough and just ignored her for the rest of the trip.

My friend picked me up from the bus station and I forgot all about my frustrating experience on the bus. We reached her hometown, Hejőbába, at around 6 a.m.

The small pond of the Rákóczi mansion's lovely park.

The small pond of the Rákóczi mansion’s lovely park

That first day we helped my friend’s mom with preparations for their town’s “Tradition Keeping Days,” which were being celebrated over the weekend. Small towns and villages in Hungary are famous for keeping old traditions alive and for people being very connected to their roots.

We also took a walk around town and saw an exhibition of old local photographs: weddings, school graduations, family portraits and the like. The oldest was from around 183O.

A collage of beautiful works of art and plaques.

A collage of beautiful works of art and plaques

At the town “Tradition Keeping Days” there were so many neat things and programs. Traditional songs and dances, a horse show, an old motorcycle exhibit with the machines dating back to WWII, craft projects—mainly for kids, but I learned to make pen/pencil holders and a bead bracelet for myself. After I got the hang of it, I stayed and helped my friend’s sister out with teaching the kids.

There was a photographer with various backdrops, clothes and other props from the 1890s. My friend and I dressed up in old bathing gowns, which in the 18th century were loose, ankle-length, full-sleeve, chemise-type gowns made of wool or flannel. We got our picture taken in front of a backdrop of old-fashioned bathers and the photographer made it seem as if we were among the swimmers standing in the water looking at the camera.

"Tradition Keeping Days", in Hejőbába

“Tradition Keeping Days” and landmarks in Hejőbába

At night we went to a Republic concert. I love the band and so does my friend. The previous time I visited her (in 2005) we also went to a Republic concert and even got their autographs.

The next day we walked around town in Igrici, went to the town celebration days there, and listened to an operetta selections concert.

Many small towns in Hungary have their annual town celebration days during the summer. I think it’s a combination of more people being on holiday, and the national holiday celebrations, St. Stephen’s Day, taking place in August.

Republic concert, Eperjesi Katalin operetta concert, and István a Király rock opera

Republic concert, Eperjesi Katalin operetta concert, and István a Király rock opera

Wanting to go for a longer walk and look for some gifts to bring home with me, we visited Tiszaújváros, a smaller city near where my friend lives. It has a very pretty park and lake (and it’s where the Republic concert was in 2005) and it’s perfect for a one-day walk.

Tiszaújváros

Tiszaújváros

We took a day to visit Miskolc and the pretty towns near it, like Ómassa, Újmassa, Garadna and Lillafüred. I especially loved the Anna Cave in Lillafüred, a stalagmite cave dating back to 1926, which though small was very pretty.

Ómassa – the Varga Mountain beech forest

Ómassa, the Varga Mountain beech forest

We also saw an outdoor machine exhibition near the old iron forging shop and blast furnace. Somehow the size of almost everything was set to “huge” during this trip!

Újmassa – Outdoor machine exhibition and the old, Fazola, blast furnace

Újmassa – Outdoor machine exhibition and the old, Fazola, blast furnace

We both have a sweet tooth, so we visited Szerencs. Szerencs’ sugar and chocolate factories make the yummiest chocolate ever! I bought chocolate from the factory’s shop and brought it home with me.

Szerencs

The Szerencs Sugar & Chocolate Factory, old postcards,
a 1 m tall chocolate parrot and town scenes

Sadly we couldn’t go into the factory for a tour, but we visited the old Rákóczi mansion next to it, which has a lovely park around it. It houses a few exhibitions, such as old things found around the mansion, a history of the chocolate factory, and lots and lots of old postcards.

The Rákóczi castle grounds and exhibition.

The Rákóczi castle grounds and exhibition

On the way back to my friend’s place, I even got to photograph windmills and the “Borsodi” beer factory in Bőcs, a pretty church, Hungarian poet Petőfi Sándor’s statue and other landmarks in Mezőcsát.

Lovely things and scenes from Mezőcsát, Bőcs, and Sajószöged.

Lovely things and scenes from Mezőcsát, Bőcs, and Sajószöged

After breakfast on my last day with my friend, we stopped at the mine lakes of Sajószöged for photos. On the Tolnai Lake (the largest of the several Sajószöged lakes) the TVK MALI Triatlon Klub holds annual swimming races in the first half of August, for which the water quality of the lake is constantly improved to make it available for the international sport event. It would be fun to see live!

A better view of a Sajószöged lake.

A better view of a Sajószöged lake

The lakes are so tranquil, no wonder there are often fishing tournaments held there as well. After soaking up the beauty of this place, we were on our way to Debrecen to see the floats that participated in the world-famous Flower Festival.

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Estrella in the Greek Amphitheatre ruins, Taormina, Sicily

Estrella Azul is a young emerging writer, passionate about reading, floral art and photography, with an artistic personality and a soulful outlook on life. She is a Hungarian girl living and writing from Cluj-Napoca, Romania, the capital of historical region Transylvania. Estrella is our European correspondent, she currently serves as the photo editor here at Milliver’s Travels, and she dreams of embarking on a round-the-world trip. To read more of her creative writing, her thoughts and daily happenings, visit Life’s a stage – WebBlog©. Read more of her stories on Milliver’s Travels by visiting Estrella’s story index.

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