A quick preview of Lake Balaton that I visited a few weeks ago for work. I have to be honest and say I never heard of Lake Balaton. Then again, Budapest i still the only city I could think of when I think of Hungary. Lake Balaton is a summer paradise, (think lovely and long beaches, swimming in the lake, super chic bars and cafes, wine tasting tours and lavender farms) but when we were there, it was pretty cold. This meant rain, wind and the most intense fog I have ever experienced in my life.
Lake Balaton has an interesting history. It wasn’t the summer holiday location it’s known to be now. It was only in the late 1800s when Hungarians came to enjoy the surroundings. In 1945, the last major German offensive of World War II known as the “Lake Balaton Offensive” was conducted in this region. During the 1960s and 1970s, the area became a tourist destination for Hungarian workers and also the common meeting point for West Germans to meet their families. This continued through 1989. You can still find a bit of German here and there, like on the walls, the shops and you can also easily meet people who speak German.
CNN Travel 기사로 헝가리에 다녀왔다. 제일 유명한 부다페스트말고 다른 도시를 집중취재해야해서 결국 찾아간 곳은 발라톤이라는 큰 호수가 있는 동네. 발라톤 강을 중심으로 도시가 모여있는데 생각보다 너무 괜찮아서 놀랐다. 알고보니 드라마 아이리스를 찍었던 곳이기도. 역사적으로도 헝가리인들에게는 중요한 휴양지라는 발라톤인데 겨울에는 안개가 심해 운전하기도 어려운 상황.
발라톤은 발라톤 작전이라고 불리는 독일의 마지막 작전 중 하나의 배경이 되었던 곳. 1960년대와 70년대에는 헝가리의 노동자들의 주된 휴가지로 알려졌고 독일이 통일하기 전, 동서독간 이산가족 상봉의 장소로 이용되기도 했다. 지금도 독일의 흔적이 조금씩 남아 있어 독일어로 된 가게 이름이나 독일어를 사용하는 사람들을 쉽게 접할 수 있다.
It was a bit of a pain to reach from Stuttgart, but this was mainly because it was a bit of an impromptu visit. I took the night bus, which meant traveling through the night until morning, and although it was a bit stuffy and uncomfortable, it was different (It was cheap and safe but very tiring). It starts with you getting on a darkly tinted bus, and like many things in life, it’s all about location, location, location. The back fills up with the younger, more irresponsible crowd, who usually have some beers tucked away somewhere in their bags. The front is usually reserved to the older crowd, so we managed to just take a sit in the middle. Which was fine, but then these buses normally stop at multiple locations and cities, and also a couple of times for gas and restrooms, which means there are a lot of action: people getting in, getting out, moving seats, pulling down their bags, talking, drinking (please, please don’t. For the sake of not only you but others.)
But then the one thing I liked about the ride was the fact that I could see the city from very early in the morning, say 4-5 a.m. Not from a hotel window or cafe, but from a moving bus. It was fun to see the city wake up so early in the morning, but then again, not sure I’ll be trying that in a while.
갑작스럽게 가야하는 스케줄이라 밤 버스를 택해서 갔는데 주변 경치를 쉽게 볼 수 있다는 것, 가격, 생각보다 안전하다는 것 빼고는 추천하기가 영 그렇다. 말그대로 밤을 새서 아침에 도착하는 스케줄이라 잠은 거의 못자고 불편한 자세로 꼴딱 밤새야한다. 운이 좋으면 조용하지만 그렇지 않으면 뒤에서 시끄럽게 떠드는 사람들 때문에 잠은 커녕, 쉴 수도 없다. 대신 아침일찍 부시시한 얼굴로 학교/회사 나가는 사람들의 모습을 보는건 신선.
This kind of looked like a scene from Harry Potter or Narnia. Minus the yachts.
All photos by rachelsanghee.