Sights from Hungary

My country is a very small country but it has a lot of sights and traditions. Perhaps the most important thing is that my country's capital is Budapest and it is bisected by a river called the Danube or Duna. The population of Hungary is about 10 million people. Budapest is home to the Parliament , a beautiful building with four floors and 690 rooms, and it is 92 m high. This building was chosen as one of the ten most beautiful buildings in the world. The building was inaugurated in 1904, designed and built by the architect Imre Steindl. The Hungarian crown is in the Parliament House, and I saw it when I was a little child. My parents took me and my brother to see the crown and we stood in line for a very long time as people from all over the world came to admire the crown. I was amazed that people from India, Germany, and many different countries came to see the Hungarian crown.

If, after the beautiful parliament, you feel like looking at beautiful buildings, castles, or palaces, Hungary is the place to go. There are many castles in Hungary, but my two favorites are the Andrássy Castle in Tiszadob, and the Grassalkovich Royal Castle in Gödöllő. The first castle is in the village where my family's holiday house is. This castle has a beautiful park where my parents, brother, and I always used to walk. When my brother and I were younger children, we used to play in this castle park because there is a big labyrinth where we used to run around. We like this place very much because it is so beautiful. This castle is located right next to the river Tisza and a little further down you can walk in the castle park and you can see the Tisza. I really like this place because I have fond memories of my dad fishing along the banks of the river, and my brother and I used to run into the labyrinth. My parents and my brother and I used to count the entrances, the towers, the rooms, and the windows of the castle because that's what it's famous for. It has four entrances which represent the four seasons, 12 towers for the 12 months, 52 rooms for the 52 weeks of the year, and 365 windows for the 365 days of the year. 

The second castle is another of my favourites because it's in the city where I live now. It is very famous because it was one of the favourite castles and future homes of Queen Elizabeth of Hungary, Empress of Austria. I have very fond memories of this castle because we used to come here a lot for walks with my parents and my brother because it has a huge castle park. When I was a little girl, it was always nice to imagine that we were walking in the same park where Queen Sisi (Queen Elizabeth of Hungary, Empress of Austria) used to ride. There is a big concert hall in this castle, which used to be a riding school, but now it is used as a concert hall. I really like this hall because when I was in primary school my class and I used to perform with my choir here at the end of every school year. It's a beautiful baroque castle, probably one of the most beautiful in Hungary, so it was always great to sing here. 

I will tell you a little bit about Hungarian cuisine because we have a lot of good food. We have a lot of good soups, stews, desserts, and I could go on. Everybody, when they hear the word "Hungary" they think of goulash, but that's only a small part of the good stuff. 

For example, when we go to visit our grandparents, there is always homemade broth and scrambled meat on the table with rice or potatoes, and sometimes Hungarian pancakes.

A Christmas, Karácsony dinner is definitely worth trying because it's very special. A fish soup, halászlé, is served first, followed by either goose, turkey or duck legs with braised cabbage and rice or potatoes - my favourite menu. And for dessert, we have apple puff pastry, rétes, or cherry or cottage cheese - my brother's and my dad's favourite - and bejgli with cocoa or poppy or walnut served on the table too.

Christmas also includes putting up a Christmas tree, which I usually decorate with my family. We always put snipe sugar, szaloncukor, on the Christmas tree, which is also a Hungarian speciality, as far as I know, only in Hungary. It's a little chocolate wrapped up and we put it on the tree, and when we open the presents, we eat it. We always make gingerbread, which we usually decorate with my brother and me. At Christmas, the children usually get a bigger present from Jesus. Another thing that is perhaps special is that in Hungary, the presents are brought to us on Christmas night by the baby Jesus. However, there is a day on December 6 when Santa Claus visits in the evening. The children always clean their boots and put them in the window and wait for the morning to see what Santa Claus has brought them. Usually, they only get tangerines and hazelnuts; the bad children get a rod and a couple of chocolates.

Another famous Hungarian holiday is Easter, Húsvét in my country. It also has a lot of folk customs. It is customary for the boys to recite a poem to the girls, and at the end, they sprinkle them with perfume and the girls give them a painted red egg, hímes tojás, in return. This is a very old tradition; in the old days the girls were doused with large buckets of water, but nowadays they are doused with perfume. I really love this celebration because I always get excited to see which classmate is going to sprinkle me with perfume. Usually, the boys make up these little short poems themselves and they are all very funny. 

This holiday we also have delicious foods on the Easter table. The Easter dinner is usually ham with new onions, boiled eggs, braided yeast bread and always a different dessert. Every year my mum comes up with a new treat that she likes to surprise us with.

Another famous holiday in Hungary is the busó walking, or busójárás. It is a very fun holiday. I loved it when I was a little kid. It consists of a few people dressing up as busó by putting on big furry coats and masks that are a bit scary. It's a day to celebrate the fact that many many years ago we drove the Turks out of our country who had been in Hungary for 100 years. Children love this holiday because the busó shout loudly in the streets and make as much noise as possible while performing all kinds of tricks. In between watching this show, people always cook some delicious food. At such times, they prepare good stews, which we usually eat on bread. I remember when my parents used to take me and my little brother to these busó walks; we used to have a lot of fun because there were all kinds of activities for the little kids where we could make busó masks or try on the scary costumes of the scary people. It was really funny to watch the busós doing all kinds of stunts and making people laugh.

And finally, I would like to highlight three beautiful places in Hungary that are definitely worth a visit. The first one is the Fátyol waterfall, one of the main attractions of Szilvásvárad Szalajka valley. Many people consider this waterfall to be one of the most beautiful places in Hungary. My parents used to take me here when I was a little kid. It is possible to get on a small railway and admire this wonderful landscape from there. There is a bridge under which this beautiful waterfall flows. I remember really enjoying it with my little brother when we first saw this beautiful place. It's really nice to come here for a hike because the views are really beautiful and there's such a peaceful atmosphere about the whole place. You can hear the water lapping and it really feels like a long veil. Everybody really loves this place because it's amazingly beautiful and you can see all the scenery from the little railway.

The next amazing place to visit is the Aggteleki Cave. This whole cave is about 30 km long with a 22 km section in Hungary and another 8 km in Slovakia. This place is so beautiful that it is hard to imagine that it exists. When you go down into the cave you encounter long tunnels between stalactites several metres high. The acoustics of this place are very good, so there are often concerts down here. I remember that there was a part of this big cave where they had carved a stage out of the stalactites with a few tables and a few chairs where they used to hold performances or concerts. If you go down here, I would recommend that you dress well because it is very cold in the cave. It's incredible to think that a 30 km cave underground can be a good hike. It's so famous that people from many other countries come to see it, so I recommend it because it's an experience of a lifetime.

And finally, the nine-hole bridge, Kilenclyukú hid, is on the Hortobágy in Hungary. This bridge was originally built to divert herds of cattle from one side of the river to the other. It is 167 m long and rests on nine arches. This bridge is surrounded by a vast plain. The little river that runs under the bridge is very small but has a great atmosphere with frogs croaking from the reeds and crickets chirping in the big plains. It has a very nice atmosphere, because if you look into the distance you can see herds of cattle and small farms. It's like coming to an island of tranquillity. I remember when I used to come here and run around in the big fields and jump from one hay bale to another with my brother. What else is great here is that there are real Hungarian restaurants where they play Hungarian music and you can taste the best food in the country. My family also went to one of these restaurants and I think I had the best meal of my life here. This part of Hungary is very good for tourists because it really shows you what our customs are and how people used to live in our country. 

I love my country because for a small country, it has a lot of traditions, sights, and beautiful landscapes. I recommend you to visit Hungary once because you will not be disappointed.