While I’ve spent the last week and a half in the small, peaceful village of Kiskassa, I took a few trips to explore the rest of southern Hungary. The two towns I checked out are the train stop and university town of Pecs (“Pay-ch”) and castle/thermal spa town Siklos (“Sheik-lows”). The common thread? All the cake I was shoving in my face at the recommendation of the son of the lovely couple I’ve been staying with. After my unsatisfied grasps at chocolately desserts in Asia, this was just what I needed.
I returned a second day to Pecs, as the first day was a short sojourn in between a train and a bus. The next trip was meant to be a more in depth adventure that ended up being slightly soaked. A better excuse to eat cake right? I started off going to the market and a lovely lunch with my hosts. They took me to a fantastic half underground wine bar lunch spot for a gypsy pork chop, which means covered in bacon and garlic. No one seems to know why it’s called that as gypsies do not appear to eat like that. I took the starting rain as an excuse to tuck into a cafe for a slice of cake.
The rain did not relent so after my cake I headed outward. Pecs has a bunch of underground early Christan burial sites that were in remarkably good condition considering their age. It was, like the Plain of Jars in Laos, gloriously empty and free of needing to elbow other tourists to see the relics. The condition of the venue reminds me that I am not in Asia anymore. The onslaught of tourism does mean every place wanted to charge me a few bucks on entrance, which didn’t always feel worth it when I spent less than half an hour in some spots. I entered a terrifying clown and teddy bear museum that shouldn’t have any right charging anyone to view what looked like a personal collection ready for a horror movie. I luckily skedaddled straight out of that one without paying. It really started pouring during my sightseeing so I got slightly soaked as I rushed in to peruse bookstores and yet another cafe.
After two slices of cake I really needed to walk around a bit and just did some strolling through the streets appreciating the architecture of the old town.
While I enjoyed the respite from the rain it got dark soon after my hilltop adventure so I headed back into town to find some dinner before heading back to the farm on a bus.
In contrast to the decently sized Pecs is the slightly smaller Siklos, which feels like a town even further back in time.
These towns remind me why I often prefer smaller towns to larger cities. They were both full of charm that were best absorbed as I meandered my way through the stone streets. These day trips ended up being nice changes of scenery from these last weeks that I’ve spent reading and working on the farm.