An interesting fact about Hungary is that there is a large population of people living outside of the official borders of the country who identify as Hungarian and speak mainly Hungarian on a daily basis. The Szekely people located in Transylvania are one such subgroup of the Hungarian peoples, inhabiting a beautiful wooded landscape of hills and forests in Eastern Romania. Szekelys are often spoken about as the “Truest Hungarians,” reflected in their flavorful dialect, traditional livelihoods, and their loyalty and knowledge of ancient Hungarian folk customs.
I had the good fortune to visit Szekelyland in May, and experienced the delicious flavors of foods, national culture, and language dialect firsthand as we rolled through the hilly countryside. Many a joke is told about the slow tempo and easy-going nature of the Szekely peoples, where nothing seems to stir too much water.
Our route took us to Timisoara (Temesvár) first, where we visited the birthplace of the Noble-prize winning mathematician Janos Neumann and stretched our legs after a 16 hour ride.
At our next stop, an annual event for some, we joined an amazing annual event, the Csiksomlyoi (Read: “Cheek-shom-yo-ee”) farewell. This traditional Pentecost mass is the largest Hungarian gathering in the world with thousands of pilgrims pouring in on foot, by train, by bus and car. Whether or not you are religious, the sight of thousands of people in different beautiful folkdress singing folk songs in the sun filled valley was an experience to remember. Our group of Slovak-Hungarians brought a sign written in ancient Hungarian ruins, and was soon joined by many more like it, creating a magical, harmonious atmosphere.
The next week flashed by as we stopped in Rimetea (Torocko in Hungarian) with the towering Szekely rock standing guard, Torda, home of a salt mine city equipped with bowling alleys and an underground lake, and a sea of bobbing hills and pine forests. Transylvania doesn’t mean “through the woods” for no reason after all…
I captured some moments and sights on the way, for my May trip…Take the trip with me!
#take12trips is a challenge to take 12 trips in 12 months. The creator, Clair fromNeed Another Holiday started the challenge in 2013 with her own 12 trips. The trips can be small or big. It can be an overseas adventure or a quick weekend getaway to a European city on a cheap flight, or even a few sunny days in a Balaton getaway or another close city. I really loved Claire’s idea and decided to take up the challenge. From February 2015, bold.color.glass will be taking a trip every month. I’ll be blogging about my trips and creating videos, so stay tuned!