Cruising down the highway out of Budapest toward Lake Balaton….
Balaton is the largest lake in Central Europe (48 miles long) and is a summer destination for many Hungarians. We drove for a while on the southern side of the lake. Chris and I agreed it had a decidedly Jersey shore vibe – minus the salt air and replacing sandy beaches with grass (I know, weird). Time to cross over on the car- ferry, the lake was a milky blue-ish color and was dotted with sailboats. Stopped for Hungarian lunch and a (small) glass of dry rosé wine for Beth. Now picture the Finger Lakes with vineyards covering the hillsides rising up from the seam formed by water and land and this is where we are (I never thought any destination could be a cross of the Jersey shore and the Finger Lakes, but here it is, before us in Hungary!)!
We stayed in Badacsonytomaj in Pension Óbester, a family-run place (8 rooms) amongst the grape vines and walnut trees – with two dogs, a cat, a tiny tiger kitten, a lake view.
After a short rest, we decided to take a trip up the wine road which happened to be right around the corner! We sampled a few deciliters of wine (with the help of a Hungarian woman living in Germany who also spoke English – so friendly!), bought some bottles of a dry white cuvee, made our way to a hilltop restaurant, and in between stopped at the tourist trap in the village for a scarf to keep warm (when we left Budapest it was its usual hot self, so neither one of us was prepared to be chilly). We both ordered a Hungarian dish – potato pancake wrapped around pork and cheese (yes, it might sound sorta yuckky, but it really was so tasty!) enveloped in the restaurant’s fleece blankets so that we could remain outside absorbing the vineyards and lake.
In the morning after a breakfast overlooking the water with the hotel dogs and cats (well, not at our table, but we were all outside together!) we made our way down the lake to the Castle at Szigliget – a multi-level medieval fortress/ castle remains/restoration. Afterwards, we drove toward Budapest and inland for an interesting tour of the Herend porcelain process.
Back in Budapest again….