July 1, 2011

A Day Away - Lake Balaton

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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.

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The first glimpses of the lake. Our luck – a rainy day, with storms ahead… The sky was interesting though.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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If you read German, here’s a link where you can see more:  http://www.hungaricum.de/balaton

Although this time we missed most of the summery delights of Lake Balaton, I still loved its overcast beauty and the stories at the German Unity at Lake Balaton exhibition... I'll definitely return...

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6 comments:

fashionforgiants said...

Oh, this was lovely. I love hearing about the history of the places you visit. And that photo of you is just gorgeous. I'm especially loving that lip color on you!

Gracey

The Waves said...

Oh, Balaton! I took the train down there a couple of times during my year in Budapest. I remember the incredibly hot, crowded train ride, the smell of the lake, the feeling that I was almost in another country... Some of my favourite moments in Hungary took place at Balaton. Thank you for posting this!

Lyddiegal said...

looks like a beautiful place to visit! I can't imagine not living within walking distance of water, i'm definitely a shoreline kinda gal.

Madeline Quaint said...

Thank you, Gracey! :) The lip colour is Manhattan Soft Mat Lipcream, it's so much comfier than a lipstick and I love how matte it is.

Madeline Quaint said...

Haha, I'm so glad you have great memories about Balaton! :) An iconic place in many of our lives. :D

Madeline Quaint said...

Hmm, I wish I lived by water! Even more so, by the sea! :)