On the train again!
Boyfriend and me went off for a day to see friends by Lake Balaton, the biggest lake in Hungary, simply called „The Hungarian Sea”. We’re a landlocked country, so obviously we all have strong feelings about this huge lake, as well as myriads of childhood memories. Honestly, the whole country holidays at Balaton.
The first glimpses of the lake. Our luck – a rainy day, with storms ahead… The sky was interesting though.
Lake Balaton’s prime years were in the 60’s and 70’s, up into the 80’s. The reason might seem strange if you’re unfamiliar with Eastern European history. When the Berlin wall was built in 1961, it physically separated two parts of the same country, Germany. Families, lovers were parted, forbidden to meet for years and years. Sounds absurd doesn’t it?
After socialist Hungary opened its borders for Western tourists, our „Sea” became the meeting point of East- and West Germans, who otherwise couldn’t have met up easily. It became a place where Germany was united again.
We went to see an amazing exhibition in this wonderful building, the Vaszary Villa, of video installations, where some of these long-ago tourists talked about their summers by Lake Balaton. Some reminisced about the happy, carefree cameraderie, others remembered finally meeting their father after years of separation, there were touching reels of old film, oozing love, showing a girl scene after scene, enjoying Balaton’s delights, and then there were the haunting stories of several people who were smuggled to West Germany after first travelling to Hungary.
These two cars, typical of the East- and West German tourists, a Trabant and a Mercedes, tied together with the Hungarian stripes, are an absolutely wonderful symbol of it all…
If you read German, here’s a link where you can see more: http://www.hungaricum.de/balaton