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