Sunday, 31 January 2016

(Almost) Five Weeks in Hungary in 2013, vol. 2: Gyula + Gyula 2015

Okay, moving on to Gyula, which is a lovely little town on the Romanian border in the South-Eastern part of Hungary, also sometimes referred to as the storm corner. It has this adorable small town vibe and for me, it was love at first sight! I love love LOVE going to Gyula in the summer because it is definitely the place to be if you want to enrich your life with some summery activities: Gyulai Várfürdő, or the Castle Spa, is like a mini waterpark, partly outdoors and partly indoors with a sauna and wellness section (which is amazing, by the way! And I come from the country that invented the sauna so I should know, right ;)?) as well as several hot mineral pools that Hungary is famous for. You can also rent pedal boats and pedal down the canal Élővíz-csatorna, or bike around with the whole family on board the same bike :). You won't want to forget about the ice cream, either - THE place to go is Korzó Fagyizó. Just join the longest queue you can see and that's always the right choice ;). Huge, huge scoops, too! Foodwise, the most popular place is Hamburger Bár, but obviously you'll have places for a fancier taste, too.

The main sight of Gyula, though, is probably the medieval castle, Gyulai vár. It's quite small because the outer and the middle castle are no longer there - what you can see is the inner castle. My partner is telling me to write that it is in fact the only medieval castle in Central Europe that is intact, made of brick and stands on a flat surface. You actually have quite a lot of stuff inside so I recommend you visit the castle, and you can also go up the tower and walk around on the rooftop. In the summer, there's a bar called Rondella in the castleyard where you can enjoy a cold drink in the scorching sun. A lot of different festivals are also organised in the castle grounds, such as Gyula Days (on the name day of Gyula), a Pálinka Festival, Végvári Napok ("the castle days", with concerts and fireworks), a big folk festival...In the summer, they also build a stage on the pond that is next to the castle and there, you can see various theatrical plays. So, a lot of stuff happening!

Since my partner is from Gyula, I've now been there several times. That's why these pictures are not only from 2013 but also from my other visits, especially last summer (2015).

The castle!



A világóra, or the world clock in downtown Gyula.

There are lots and lots of fountains everywhere <3!




One of the best days ever! We rented a pedal boat and went down the canal...and they decided to switch on ALL the sprinklers whenever we were just about to go right under them :D! Obviously, being the skillful pedallers that we are, we couldn't control the boat at all, and ended up being soaking wet :D :D!


The Town Hall.



Aaaand, fastforward to 2015! We spent I think five days just holidaying in Gyula, and it was SO MUCH FUN!!



This is the ice cream I talked about before!


Hamburger Bár behind one of the fountains!

We also took the tourist mini train ride around town :)!
In 2015, we also went to Szanazug, which is an area where you can go on a mini boat trip, swim, camp, have your own summer cottage there...lovely! It's a bit difficult to reach if you don't have a car, but the local tourist information arranges trips there with the mini train so their website is worth checking out. We had a lovely day!


We went on one of the mini cruises :).


Love all these things! In Finland, we have so many lakes but NO activities whatsoever :(.


Now THIS is a must in Gyula! Százéves Cukrászda is a coffee shop from 1840 and they have the best cakes in town!



This is what I usually have, Erkel torta, named after the national composer of Hungary that comes from Gyula. By the way, you can also visit his birth home in Gyula.

This is from the Castle Spa sauna section - they have this sauna experience where you have a Szauna Mester (a sauna master :D) who will throw water on the hot stones, also using different scents, while performing interesting things with a towel, making you feel even hotter than you would otherwise. I have to inform everyone, though, that in the country of the sauna, namely Finland, we DON'T do stuff like that at all. Having said that, it was a VERY cool experience and I highly recommend it! In between, you can spend some quality time in a cool barrel <3. I felt such sauna pride, by the way, and I'm not patriotic at all in general :D!

Indoors, you have more saunas and ice to cool yourself down.

A cool dipping pool <3. LOVE!

Afterwards, we had dinner at Várkert. Now, the food is EXCELLENT but the service is very poor, heh. Slow and absent-minded. We still went twice :D!


One of my favourite things in Hungary is that you can see storks!!! Probably not very interesting to someone who comes from a stork country, but I LOOOOOOOOVE seeing and observing them :)!
So, what can I say? Gyula is THE place to be in the summer! There are lots of tourists there from Germany, Austria and Romania as well as Hungary itself, and you can stay at one of the many B&Bs. Everything is closeby and the town is buzzing with people throughout the day. Go and see for yourself :)!

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