One of the things I like about house-sitting is the arbitrariness of it.
Sometimes, I get invited to cities like Vienna, Berlin or Stockholm. Places that everyone would want to go to, with plenty of things to see, cultural activities to indulge in, and friends to make. (Well, maybe not in Stockholm.) Cities where nobody asks what on earth I am doing there.
But just as often, I get invited to villages in the countryside. Places like Oberstenfeld, Venta Micena or Chastre. Places that I never knew existed. Villages that I would never have visited otherwise. Where everyone wonders what on earth I am doing there.
I enjoy both of these categories equally, especially when they alternate.
First, I soak up big city life and everything it has to offer. Then, I retreat to a village, where I can read books all day.
This month, it’s village time again, as I find myself in Lepsény. That’s in Hungary.
There won’t be much to write about, not least because I find Hungarian an impenetrable language. Almost none of the words are similar to any other language I know. (The Hungarian language used to have many more loanwords from Latin and German. But in the 18th and 19th century, the age of nationalism, Hungarian linguists invented tens of thousands of new words to replace anything that sounded vaguely foreign. Thank you!) When I am at the supermarket, I can only buy things that are sold open or that have a picture on the packaging. As if I was illiterate. Today, looking for milk, I luckily found a carton that had a cow on it.
So, instead of stories, here are a few photos, for you to imagine life in a typical Hungarian village.
I don’t actually mind a small village, as long as the owners leave me a car or – even better – there is a train station. Having grown up in a village (in Germany) with terrible public transport myself, I am always amazed when small villages have a train station.
Lepsény, with a population of around 3.000 people, not only has a train station. It has, and that really blew my mind, direct trains to Budapest, to Zagreb and to plenty of other beautiful cities.
Also, I can always take a walk down to Lake Balaton.