Spring beauties

After a very long and cold winter, spring has finally arrived. Brace yourselves! The trees might feel confused because it’s warm all of a sudden, but they certainly try their best to catch up.

I had plans you know… Each year I’m visiting the magnolia trees with my best friend. We take pictures and just admire its beauty. Never missed one since I’m in Szeged. This year was different though. They began to blossom very quickly. I wanted to shoot some portraits, I even found a model. Last Monday after work we were heading to the trees on Széchenyi Square. And then there was nothing… There weren’t even petals under the tree.

It made me very sad that I missed it this year, but instead I was shooting pictures of other natural beauties. There are thousands of colourful tulips as well in Széchenyi Square, they are certainly worthy of attention. Then I went to my hometown, Kecskemét for the weekend and took some shots there as well in Deák Ferenc Square and my parents’ garden.

Wishing all of you a beautiful spring! I hope you find beauty around you.

 

Szeged Christmas Fair

Every year when Advent takes in, the whole city becomes full of lights that reminds me of a great mass of sparklers. Though the Cathedral, Széchenyi Square and Kárász Street with the town’s Christmas tree are the most beautiful in this time of the year, my favourite sight is the huge reindeer in front of the university building. It’s 7 meters tall!
The vendors are selling more regular stuff, not like the ones in Budapest, where 90% of the fair is of Christmas ornaments. Here you can buy clothes, jewelry, toys, tea, soaps and if you look carefully you can find treasures like this:

Now let’s see what you can eat or drink here:
– mulled wine (forralt bor) of course! This year’s relevation is the one made of blueberry wine with rose hip in it.
– krampampuli (I don’t think there is an English word for it) is kind of like mulled wine but with more ingredients like mandel, walnut, dried fruit and black tea as well.
– apple punch is for children.
– chimney cake (kürtőskalács) is a Christmas usual! You can taste it in many flavours: vanilla (that’s the basic), cocoa, coconut, hazelnut and my favourite, walnut. There has been a trend of making salty chimney cake, mainly pizza flavoured but I’m protesting every year by eating regular ones as often as I can.
– kenyérlángos (no English word for that either) made of raised pasta with bacon and onion on top.
– cheese coctails made of different types of cheese served in a cup. You can take in your hand while walking. Yummi!
– strudel (rétes) stuffed with cottage cheese, sour cherry, poppy seed and hazelnut.
– and no Christmas can come without gingerbread! But these are meant more as decoration than for eating, you can find some very artistic ones.
– but you can eat for lunch or dinner as well, there are many stalls selling cooked meals, from meat on a stick through home made chips to hamburgers made of trotters. Yep, not so good if you are on a diet.

So grab a chimney cake and wash it down with mulled wine and get the ultimate Christmas feeling!

 

Favourites of October 2017

From now on there will be a new series on my website that represents all the things I really liked in the month. Books, movies, travelling… everything can happen! 

Book experience of the month:
I started October by reading Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, because I saw the trailer of the upcoming movie (can’t wait to see Kenneth Branagh as Poirot!). I’m sure you agree with me that a book gives you so much more than a movie. Still I take the chance of being disappointed rather than reading the book afterwards. This was my fifth Poirot story, previously I read Third girl, Peril at end house, And then there were none and Curtain. I liked Poirot’s last story, Curtain the most, it was absolutely fantastic!
After that I read Burmese days by George Orwell. He is one of my favourite writers and this novel presents the true nature of human beings just like his other novels.
Aaand I ordered the new book of Dan Brown, Origin and I’m very excited about it!

Audiobook experience of the month:
To tell you the truth, I’ve never listened to an audiobook before, and now I know what I lost. I started with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone written by J. K. Rowling and read by the amazing Jim Dale, who makes it very realistic by his acting.

Movie experience of the month:
La vie en rose 
pictures the troubled life of Édith Piaf, the voice of Paris played by Marion Cotillard, who recieved the Oscar for her performance. Interesting fact it that original recordings of Piaf are played in the movie and Cotillard had to learn to mimic and gesticulate exactly like Piaf.

Cinema experience of the month:
Last week I went to the screening of the upcoming Hungarian movie, Budapest noir and after watching the movie one of the actors came to talk about it. The movie itself and the audience meeting were amazing, though it’s really hard to talk about a movie you just saw 5 minutes ago.

Series experience of the month:
The 11th season of the Big Bang Theory started and it makes me laugh every week. Sheldon and Amy are the best TV couple I know.

Travelling experience of the month:
I spent a weekend in Siófok and on the way I saw Simontornya and Ozora castles, but I’m not saying more about these now, because blog posts about them are coming! 🙂

Photography experience of the month:
Besides the travelling photos, I went to the Cathedral in Szeged to take pictures, I made some really good shots about the frescos, a post is coming about it as well. 🙂

Music experience of the month:
I was listening to the soundtrack of La la land. I love the way Ryan Gosling sings ‘City of staaars, are you shining just for me?’ Even made it my ringtone.

Food experience of the month:
There are two dishes I tried for the first time in my life. One of them is quesadilla, which originates from Mexico. It is a flour or corn tortilla filled with basically everything you want. Mine was with chicken and cheese with salad on the side. It was amazing!
The other fantastic dish I tried in Siófok is fried ice cream. Yes, it exists, and it is yummi! They cover the ice cream ball in an almond based coating and then deep fry it. When you open the covering, flowing ice cream comes out… I think I have to eat something now! See you in the next blog post!

 

Szeged Zoo

90. Szél Street
Opening hours: Open every day! In January, February, March, November, December: 9:00-16:00, in April and October: 9:00-17:00, in May and September: 9:00-18:00, in June, July and August: 9:00-19:00
Tickets: 1600-2400 HUF
Click here for more information!

Every summer I visit my good friends, the meerkats in Szeged Zoo. These sweet little animals from South Africa are very happy to meet anybody and they are ridiculously photogenic, so this was a great opportunity to test my Nikon.

The world’s first zoo was founded in 1828 in London. The one in Szeged was opened in  1989. The founders started collecting animals already in 1985 and it consisted of 3 monkeys, a giant snake and a couple of deers and boars. Right now it’s the biggest zoo in Hungary (45 acres) and has a large collection from Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and South-America as well.

Although I like this place, it makes me think every time. The sad thing about zoos is that animals are taken away from their natural habitat and they may not get all the things they need (for example: enough territory or proper food). But on the other hand a lot of zoos are now joined to the European Endangered Species Program to help animals that are close to extinction and also if someone finds an injured animal you can take it to Szeged Zoo and they’ll take good care of it. Their main job is to educate about all the species you can find there and of course you wouldn’t be able to see 95% percent of these animals in your lifetime. So it’s really not easy to decide what would be the right solution but maybe a little kid who today is a visitor will become a saviour someday.

 

Salvador Dalí exhibition in Szeged

“Every morning when I wake up, I experience an exquisite joy — the joy of being Salvador Dalí — and I ask myself in rapture, what wonderful things this Salvador Dalí is going to accomplish today?“ /Salvador Dalí/

Due to the 10th anniversary of REÖK Palace in Szeged, it hosts a great collection of litographies and etchings of the surrealist Catalan artist, Salvador Dalí. The pieces of the exhibition came from the Gallery of Art in Prague, which I saw a couple of years ago on a trip. So obviously, I was pretty excited to see this artwork again. I always admired him, not only because he was a extremely talented artist, but also because he built his empire and the ‘Salvador Dalí brand’ like a true genius.

The 60 pieces contain not only the master’s work, but also Portrait of Salvador Dalí by Josef Nálepa…

Josef Nálepa: Portrait of Salvador Dalí

…and my greatest discovery of the exhibition: Václav Chochola! I always loved this photograph of Dalí holding an egg, I even have it as a badge on my bag, and now I got to know, who took it! When I got home, I searched for the internet for more information about this photographer, and I found some very amazing facts. He was born in 1923 in the Czech Republic and he started publishing his photos (mainly of sport events) when he was only 16 years old! He studied photography in Prague and had his first studio in 1943. He took pictures of people like Louis Armstrong, Marcel Marceau and between 1968-1969 also of Salvador Dalí, when he repeatedly went to Paris. Chochola unfortunately died in 2005 but his daughter and grandson became photographers as well and they are handling his inheritance.

REÖK Palace hosts many exciting exhibitions. In the last couple of years I’ve been to a Marylin Monroe and a Miró exhibition and saw the year’s contemporary paintings, press photos and the artwork of John Lennon.
Click here to find out about the current events of REÖK Palace!

 

Night photos

Altough taking photos at night are extremely hard, because everything is dark, the lights are so beautiful, it’s worth a try. I’m always experimenting with night photos, and I think I’m becoming more and more experienced with each shot.

My tips for you when taking night pictures are:
1. Try to use high ISO testing first.
2. Use a stand or a tripod to avoid shakey hands.
3. Use flashlight.
4. Try using a lens hood.
5. When you are ready with shooting, try adding a filter that brings out the contrast.

Here are my best night shots so far:

 

My Szeged

Szeged, the capital of Csongrád County is the third biggest town in Hungary and lies next to the Serbian border. It has already been occupied since the 10th century. In 1879 the town was affected by a flood and most of the town’s buildings were destroyed. Many European capitals joined to help and sent money for Szeged. In memory of their kindness the boulevards were named after Vienna, London, Brussels, Paris, Moscow, Berlin and Rome.

Szeged is most famous for its paprika, fish soup, Pick Salami, slippers and the annually held Open Air Festival. It’s a perfect place for you to spend your university years or for a semester with Erasmus, because there are 25 000 students in the town every year. Because of the German and English programs, many of them are from abroad (for example: Israel, Germany, Palestine, Turkey, Romania, Spain, Japan, Korea, India and Nigeria).

Dóm Square in Szeged

What to visit in Szeged?

Cathedral with Dóm Square and the Music Clock on the opposite side
15. Dóm Square
Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday 9:00-17:00
Tickets: 600-1000 HUF
Click here for more information!

Kárász Street
The town’s pedestrian precinct can be visited any time. Many stores (Adidas, Fuji, Drogerie Markt), restaurants (Subway, McDonald’s) and the most popular confectionary, Acapella can be found here.

Széchenyi Square, City Hall and the Bridge of Sighs
It’s the continuation of Kárász Street, where you can find City Hall, the Bridge of Sighs and Szeged Restaurant. Every spring for 2 weeks the magnolia trees start to blossom and there are thousands of tulips next to them.

Dugonits Square with the University Building and the statue of Albert Szent-Györgyi
One of my favourite statues in Szeged is of Hungarian Noble Prize winner, Albert Szent-Györgyi, who is captured with a pipe in one hand and walking down the stairs of the main building of the University of Szeged. In winter the fountain is replaced by a huge reindeer made of lights.

Fountain on Dugonics Square

Móra Ferenc Museum
1-3. Roosevelt Square
Opening hours: Monday-Sunday 10:00-18:00
Tickets: 890-1390 HUF
Click here for more information!

Szeged at night

Botanical Garden
42 Lövölde Road
Opening hours: Open every day! In March: 9:00-17:00, from the beginning of April to the end of September: 9:00-18:00, in October: 9:00-17:00, from the beginning of November to the end of February: 9:00-16:00
Tickets: 400-900 HUF
Click here for more information!

Szeged Zoo
90. Szél Street
Opening hours: Open every day! In January, February, March, November, December: 9:00-16:00, in April and October: 9:00-17:00, in May and September: 9:00-18:00, in June, July and August: 9:00-19:00
Tickets: 1600-2400 HUF
Click here for more information!

Sissi Statue on Stefánia
5. Stefánia, next to Deutsch Palace and the National Theatre.

Statue of Empress Elisabeth in Szeged