Up nice and early this morning; it was bright and crisp and I managed to get out of the hostel with less than five minutes of key twiddling. The day would be spent in Hortobágy, Hungary's first and largest national park and the largest grasslands in Europe, a destination chosen by my lovely Twitter followers - reasons included "it begins with H" and "it sounds a bit like 'bogey'." In actual fact, it doesn't sound like bogey; in Hungarian "gy" is pronounced a bit like the "Du" in "during" so it's more like Hort-o-badge.
Either way, I walked down to McDonalds (I know, I know, but they have wifi!!) and got a coffee and it was then that I started with the stomach cramps - ugh - Budapest Belly. Maybe it was the water I drank last night, or perhaps the "Hungarian Hamburger" that I was fed the day before, but with a 2 hour bus journey each-way, the positive start to the day appeared to be on the wane.
Still, I had the morning to get better, as the bus wasn't until lunchtime. After a bit of shopping I made it to my ride which was delayed only slightly thanks to the fact that it reversed into another bus just before we were about to board. I could see it coming for miles, but no amount of gesturing could get the bus-driver's attention; even if I'd known "you're about to reverse into another bus" in Hungarian, then I doubt he would've heard me.
Hortobágy is in a part of Hungary known as the Puszta (pronounced something like "puss-ta") meaning "abandoned." It is huge, flat and gets its name thanks to centuries of marauding over the area by rampaging Turks. Today it is mile after mile of pasture and travelling on the bus, you could almost be in Suffolk if it wasn't for the shadoofs (pictured) and the young lady walking her pet ferret on a leash (sadly, not pictured).
95 kilometers (I know because the price of the bus tickets depends on how far you travel) and a couple of hours later I arrived at Hortobágy. To call it a "one-horse town" would be quite disingenuous, considering how many horses there were grazing on the grasslands - perhaps a one-person-town would be a better phrase. And I was that one person. No matter, I had the QI camera and so, after a wander around the area, the sun was beginning to get low in the sky and without a cloud in sight it was perfect conditions to take a sundown shot of some of the horses. I took a couple of still shots with my camera, then put it down and grabbed the video camera only to find that as soon as I pressed 'record' the horses decided to show me their "best side." Result: 10 minutes of footage of horse-backsides against a beautiful sunset.
The sun had set and it was time to go. But where was my camera? Argh, I'd put it down and moved position to get a better shot of the horse bums. Of course the sun was all but down now, and so it was with relief that I almost stood on the camera when retracing my steps. Seeing the bus on the horizon (a good couple of miles away) I ran to the bus stop with not a moment to spare. Back to Budapest tomorrow for my final day in Hungary. :(
A légpérnás hajóm tele van angolákkal