Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The smell of burning horse filled the air

Look I blame Annabella for most of the problems on the weekend. She said she would provide me with the name of a really good fish restaurant - but failed to do so.

This lapse on her part caused Cate to eat the ‘worst meal she has ever had’ (Now that is a big call).

The hotel star system is not the same in Hungary is it is elsewhere – it may be self regulatory. The hotel had given itself 5 stars. I would give it a 3 for the rooms and a ¼ for the food. It looked good on the Internet (I can hear you all groaning again and saying ‘when will the fool ever learn?')

All the suites are supposed to have a view of Lake Balaton. Ours would have had a really nice view until they built the block of apartments in front of it. We had a spectacular views of the apartments and some trees.

But it was really very nice and we could not complain about it at all – apart from the smell in the bathroom - but if something dies in a brick wall you can hardly expect them to knock the wall down to get it out.

But the second major mistake I made was to arrange for accommodation with meals included. You will want to know why won’t you? Well - 5 Star hotel – food must be good! and it is the start of winter – so there won’t be much available locally.

Cate was very good and chewed every mouthful. She was very quiet during dinner. She ordered a bottle of Hungarian Red Wine for €70. She was unable to drink any of it. She said it was the worst wine she had ever tasted – the perfect accompaniment to the worst meal.

Tihany is a very pretty and popular little village and was absolutely packed with tourists. We couldn’t park anywhere and ended up going back to the hotel and walking the 2 kilometers into the town. We visited the local church and Cate went inside while I stayed outside and counted the paving stones.

We went to a village ceremony where they had big bonfires and men were planting smoked fish on sticks in circles. People were buying and eating these fish but we were not tempted as they looked a bit challenging and were very finny.

Instead we went to lunch in a local restaurant which was full of smoke and we apparently arrived just after a horse had caught fire in the kitchen. Not that I have ever smelt a burning horse but it seemed to me that’s what it was. There were bits of ash floating about and I assume this was its mane.

We had authentic Hungarian Goulash soup in a really big plate with big chunks of meat and vegetables. It was delicious but I couldn’t finish mine as I chipped a tooth on a horseshoe.

Cate also chose the restaurant for dinner and the less said about that the better.

I had expected people to speak English – but they all spoke German – I guess because it is so close to the Austrian border. Many signs are in Hungarian and German – and sometimes

We bought a bunch of Hungarian crockery and an especially fine cat for the Guest Room.

The weather was delightfully overcast and cool and the countryside is really pretty. We both just love Autumn for the coolness and the changes in the landscape.

All in all it was a very successful weekend.


  1. Gulp - well, I did try to find out the name but they only took cash, hence we have no receipt and I even looked at the photos for any inspiration. All I could find was a few family shots and a pic of an enormous dog. Naturally neither my husband nor myself could remember the name, which I think may have begun with an "O" and had lots of umlauts and accents. We actually had the intention of looking at Google map and searching that way, as Walter knows exactly where it is, but I'm sorry to say we didn't manage. In any case, here's the link to the hotel we stayed at should you decide to try again!! We stayed in the apartment which was nice - nothing fancy, mind, but suited us well. Had an unobstructed view of the lake, though!

    Kalmár Zsuzsa
    Hotel*** Panoráma
    8237 Tihany, Lepke sor 9-11
    Tel/fax: 06/87/538-220, 221

    By the way - we have also had the same experience with Hungarian wine - we only by it by the glass as more often than not the white wine tastes "sherry-ish" and just plain weird. Same in Slovakia and Croatia.

  2. I know why I love Burgenland so much! ;-)