Autumn Harvest 2015 in the Zala

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Every village or town we pass through in the Zala seems to have its own Autumn harvest display.
In similar places in France and Italy, Autumn festivals are held in a much grander scale
where a schedule of programs are organized that usually lasts for days,
but here in the agricultural region of southwestern Hungary where scantily populated villages
are far between, it’s more of a combined effort

of the farming locals, as a way of keeping their tradition alive, to put up a modest display
of their produce accompanied by lifesize dolls which they made themselves.
And since it’s the Autumn school holidays of the kids. it also serves as an exciting sight to look at everyday.
Nice!

Autumn colours and quotes… at home in Hungary

20151027_101222B Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth
seeking the successive autumns.
by George Eliot

20151027_101235c“I sit quietly, listening to the falling leaves – A lonely hut, a life of renunciation.
The past has faded, things are no longer remembered, My sleeve is wet with tears,”
~ by Ryokan

20151027_102446b“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all,”
by Stanley Horowitz

 

20151027_104121b “How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days,”
by John Burroughs

IMG_4731aNo spring nor summer beauty hath such grace, as I have seen in one autumnal face..”
~ by John Donne

20151021_093211b“Autumn is the hardest season. The leaves are all falling, and they’re falling like they’re falling in love with the ground,”
~ by Andrea Gibson

Winter project

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Autumn makes gardening and other outdoor projects too soggy and cold to indulge in
so I decided it’s time to work on my indoor tasks in front of a warm fire
First on my list is making curtains for the home
but the sewing machine started playing up
Oh no, I’m stuck!
What do I know about tinkering with an apparatus that is older-than-me?
Luckily, there’s Google…
so after searching for troubleshooting tips,
I began to putter around tensions and bobbin casing..
and voila!
My Singer started working smoothly!
Thank goodness for the men and women in this world who are kind enough to share their knowledge, for free.
Now I can finish my project happily…

Varazdin, a little piece of Vienna in Croatia

It would have been one insignificant weekend morning when H unexpectedly announced over the breakfast table, “Let’s go somewhere different this Saturday. Let’s go to Croatia!”

That’s the beauty of living in Central Europe, you see,  particularly in the Zala region of Hungary.  We have Slovenia, Austria and Croatia just at our doorstep.  We have thought about going to Croatia anyway to buy some fish.  Saltwater fish in landlocked Hungary seems to be a never heard of thing and we are dying to eat seafood!

So I googled the “most beautiful towns of Croatia” and Varazdin flashed onto the screen.

“Croatia’s Baroque gem.  A little piece of Vienna.  The  ancient capital (1756 to 1776) until it was destroyed by fire and the capital went to Zagreb.  During those two decades of reign, religious orders, noblemen and wealthy tradesmen brought in the best architects, designers and painters to construct monasteries, churches, palaces and mansions.  It is one of Europe’s most preserved Baroque centers.”  H didn’t need convincing,

So a quick drive and a short queue at the  border control later, we arrived in Varazdin at mid-day, just when the open market was just starting to pack up.  Our dream of buying fish disintegrated in thin air.  But we’re not fretting.  We’ll go to the supermarket later.

When I saw the Old Town, it reminded me of Prague and Bratislava.  The cobbled streets, the medieval castle, the pastel coloured facades of the Baroque buildings, make it looking like a town coming out from  history and fairytale book combined!

 

 

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20151010_132357bIts religious character is shown by the shrines that are built everywhere.

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The Stari Grad (Old Castle) was a defensive fort but the fortification has now been transformed
into a delightful circular promenade where you see a good view of the town amongst a green landscape.

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In the summer, I can just imagine this square teeming with day tourists coming from the more popular coastal towns of the country

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20151010_132559b“The Crinoline of Love”

The uniqueness of Varazdin’s universal language of love is the placing of a padlock on this crinoline
to gradually build a sculpture with all the peculiarities derived from the colour and shape of the padlocks used.

20151010_130902bEgg dispenser…. egg vending machine…. Yes, you’re seeing it right.
Croatia’s first egg vending machine was launched last year in this city.
It can hold up to 600 eggs and the aim is to keep people employed in agriculture-related
business focusing on family-run operations.

Bought a souvenir of Croatian honey brandy or "med rakija" in their language. Sweet and mild, Great as "digestif"
Bought a souvenir of Croatian honey brandy or “med rakija” in their language. Sweet and mild, Great as “digestif”

 

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“You should visit our cemetery, it’s famous all over the world!”, said a waiter whom we passed by cleaning the front of his restaurant. So glad we stumbled upon him, we could have easily missed it. It’s also the most visited park in the city because the locals find it more peaceful and more beautiful.

“Varaždin cemetery was established in 1773, and in 1905, Herman Haller began to arrange about 7,000 cypress, maple, ash, red beech, boxes, magnolia and birch. Clipping Thuja in geometrical bodies made the cemetery more similar to the French fleet.” (wikipedia)

 

cemeteryBut what are these? The living already preparing their final resting place?

We had lunch of chicken and chips, beer, dessert and coffee and guess how much we paid for two?  10euros!
In Paris and London – this amount will only get us two cups of capuccino, accompanied by a coin-size chocolate if we are lucky!