Three days of exploring Debrecen, Hungary

EUROPE, GARDENS & PARKS, STAFF — By on September 23, 2016 at 23:11

Text & photos © Estrella Azul. Feature photo: Debrecen University 2010.

I AM VERY LUCKY: I can walk down a street once in a strange city and then walk around later like I’m a local. Walking with my friends and admiring the flower floats that participated in the St. Stephen’s Day parade in Debrecen was perfect, as I remembered everything for later use.

Noticed this cool sign post when we stopped downtown Debrecen at 5AM one morning around New Years, on our way to Miskolc.

Noticed this cool sign post when I stopped in downtown Debrecen at 5AM one morning around New Years, on my way to Miskolc.

On my first full day alone in the city, I went to the Nagyerdei Kultúrpark, Debrecen’s zoo where you can also access the amusement park, instead of purchasing a separate entrance ticket. This is a nice idea, I think, since the different rides in the amusement park all have pay-as-you-ride fees.

I am not a fan of amusement parks and being bumped around in various machines, so I only got on the Forest Train ride, which did a half-hour or so tour around the park.

Love that its name is 'Dream"!

Love that its name is “Dream”!

To be honest, Im not a fan of zoos either. I’ve been known to walk out of zoos crying because I felt so sad about the animals. (Don’t even get me started about circuses!) However, the Debrecen Zoo is the only zoo, so far, that I would visit a second time.

Open since 1958, it is truly beautiful and well maintained. With the property actually consisting of a small forest covering 17 hectares, they have lots of space for all the animals to move around and run.

Wood carvings and the Ludas Matyi statue in  Nagyerdei

Wood carvings of animals and the Ludas Matyi statue in Nagyerdei Kultúrpark

The whole area falls under environmental protection, while the sights in the garden are enriched by more than 600 kinds of plants. Upon entering the zoo, people, and especially children, are advised to keep their noise to a minimum. (We’ve all seen it—kids shouting for attention while parents ignore them.) This means less stress for the animals.

Notice my hand feeding the giraffe.

Notice my hand feeding the giraffe

What I loved most were the giraffes. Technically I wasn’t supposed to feed them and needed to be about two meters away from them, but a young overseer guy was so sweet that he offered to take a photo when the giraffe took some grass from my hand.

Beautiful pathways to walk through the zoo!

Beautiful pathways to walk through the zoo!

This zoo is truly a great place to visit. I spent almost all day there and finally left about half an hour before closing.

The architecture is really beautiful throughout Debrecen.

The architecture is really beautiful throughout Debrecen

The following day I met up with a local friend of mine who took me sightseeing. We walked a lot downtown and I was happy there weren’t as many tourists as on the weekend because of the festival. This meant I could more easily take photos of the buildings, quaint little streets, statues and anything else that captured my attention.

Downtown Debrecen, the University (top right), and the Déri Museum (top left).

Downtown Debrecen, the University (top right), the Déri Museum (top left), and the Reformed Church (bottom right)

One of my favorite sights was on a smaller street where, in front of cafés and restaurants, plant pots were hand painted with different motifs.

Hand-painted plant pots on Csapó Street.

Hand-painted plant pots on Csapó Street

On the third day of my Debrecen visit I was on my own again, and I went to the Debrecen University Botanic Garden. It is such a pretty garden to walk through!

Flowers along the path in Debrecen University - Botanical Garden.

Flowers along the path in the Debrecen University Botanic Garden

As the name suggests, the garden is under the leadership of University-appointed directors. Like the zoo, this garden falls under environmental protection. Its arboretum and the forests next to it cover nearly 14 hectares, and the Botanic Garden is home to over 5,000 species of plants.

The whole garden was in bloom, and ever so colorful!

The whole garden was in bloom, and ever so colorful!

They had the biggest cactus exhibition I have ever seen up close and personal, over 1300 species. I loved that I got to walk among the benches filled with cacti—in the botanic garden in my hometown they are closed off from public access.

A glimpse of over cacti species.

A closer glimpse of over 1300 cacti species

I also loved the strawflowers the garden was filled with. Bees and butterflies love them also, which made for very nice photographs.

The whole garden was in bloom, and ever so colorful!

The Strawflowers (bottom right) were my favorites.

The Strawflowers (bottom right) were my favorites

Walking in parks is always fun for me, and in Debrecen it was no different. One of my favorites was the Kossuth Lajos University’s garden, where in front of the main building lies a geometric garden resembling Versailles, with high-clipped Hornbeam hedges along the sides and statues of the university’s famous scientists.

Hornbeams and statues line the water fountain.

Hornbeams and statues line the water fountain

The monumental water fountain in the garden’s center is spectacular!

The water fountain with Debrecen University in the background, 2016

The water fountain with Debrecen University in the background, 2016

Throughout the city and in the parks, I came across many interesting statues. My favorite is the book case filled with books behind the Szabó Lőrincz statue.

Look at all those books! (top left)

Look at all those books! (top left)

It was one of the most beautiful holidays I’ve had traveling on my own. As much as I had wished for company at the beginning of my trip, I think I needed this to be able to come back well rested—even if not physically (since I’d been walking for two weeks straight), but psychologically rested, recharged, and fresh to tackle all that life threw at me next.

———

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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