Hungarian Cowboy Country

photo 3 (1)Imagine trying to get from Mill Valley to Tilden Park using public transportation and the bus ride ends on San Pablo Avenue so you have to walk the rest of the way and of course no one speaks English. That was what it was like to get to the “Bugacpuszta”, a traditional Hungarian horse show 30 miles from my hotel in Kecskemet, which is a little off the beaten track to begin with.

But the effort was worth it  — a very impressive performance of some of the most beautiful horses I have ever seen.

Horses do not normally sit down. (The whip is never used on the horse or to threaten it. The horses and their men are very connected to each other.)

DSCN0332Now I am staying at Somodi Tanya, a horse ranch in the middle of a gorgeous national park.  (Wendy, it is especially great for birders!) Hungary’s Great Plain or “Nagy Alfold” is romanticized by Hungarians the way Americans have romanticized their own Wild West. Somodi Tanya’s owners, Rolf and Monica, run the ranch during the summer months and winter in Switzerland when the lodge is closed.  They are charming but I only know that because they laugh and smile a lot.  They don’t speak English and I still haven’t learned Hungarian. Fortunately, their winter caretaker arrived the same day I did. He knows English. Anyway, I don’t need to know Hungarian to ride a horse.

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Here I am on Diamant after a long ride in the countryside. Diamant loves a dead gallop and I am used to collected canters but we reached a compromise.

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I don’t know where I am going when I leave Samodi Tanya on Friday. That’s part of the fun.


  1. It sure seems like the fun part of the trip has started! But why is it that you always seem surprised when you have tough and occasionally frightening experiences traveling on buses to obscure destinations? Perhaps that’s the nature of things when you go to Outer Scaryvania!!!

    The horse show looks absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to see all your pictures. Even better, the The Hungarian “dude ranch” that you’re at now sounds like the perfect place for you. I wonder why you’re even considering leaving?

    And yes, not knowing where you going to be next is a big part of the fun!


  2. What an amazing adventure, Kim! I can just see you galloping across Hungary. Thank you for noticing the birds for me! And I can’t wait to see where you end up next. Many years ago in France Larry and I bought a poster of a decrepit window frame looking out over beautiful countryside with these words, “La vraie liberté c’est le vagabondage.” We framed it and consider it our motto, and I think it’s yours, too.

    1. What a great poster! I had a happy moment today on our riding adventure when I asked the caretaker what kind of bird built the nest in the exposed crook of a tall tree. He said “like an eagle but smaller I don’t know the word.” So I said the only bird I know that is related to an eagle and he yes “yes a vulture!”

  3. Love the photos of the horses! I can totally picture you there. (And myself). Glad you are being a vagabond and don’t know where you are going next! Enjoy and safe travel on your next chapter!

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