After two nights in Szekesfehervar, the next leg of our journey would see us drive a full circuit around Lake Balaton, which is the largest lake in Central Europe. With an area of 592 square kilometres, it is almost the size of Singapore!
Our destination for the day’s drive was Keszthely, at the western corner of the lake, which is an important cultural and historical hub in the region. It was a lovely drive, and we took a few detours off the motorway because we wanted to catch a glimpse of the beautiful lake!
Not the best vantage point of the lake, I know, but better than nothing. This was our first view of Lake Balaton and we were immediately struck by its vast expanse. Compared to the seaside, the waters were so calm and gentle. You could barely make out the silhouettes of the hills at the opposite bank of the lake, and they seemed to blend in perfectly with the skies in the horizon.
After getting our Lake Balaton fix, we quickly made our way back onto the motorway to find our accommodation for the night – Beata Apartment, a homestay at a suburb just a short drive from Keszthely town.
This was the first time we have tried booking a homestay, and I must say it was a memorable experience. It took us a bit of time to find the exact location, but we were given directions by a helpful neighbour who pointed us the way to the house.
Our hosts, Feri and Beata, were super hospitable, and their house gave us a very homely feeling.
After settling us in, Feri told us that the 6th of December was actually St. Nicholas Day in Hungary, and we had arrived just in time to observe the festivities at the town centre at 4pm that day. Grateful for this information, we made our way back to town to check it out!
We were not disappointed. At the town centre, crowds were gathered in anticipation, with a real festival atmosphere with lovely games stations set up for the kids to play for free!
There was also the requisite nativity scene, as well as a little barnyard maze made from hay for the little kids to get themselves lost in.
Finally, the highlight of the afternoon – Santa’s arrival on a horse-drawn carriage! He brought his bag of presents and distributed little sweets to all the children present. It was certainly unexpected that we would luck our way to the St. Nicholas Day celebration, and we were extremely grateful for the recommendation of our hosts.
This is part 8 of my Hungary Winter Drive blog series, click HERE for part 9 where I share about our visit to the wonderful Helikon Kastelymuzeum at the Festetics Palace!
- Part 1 – 2017 Hungary Winter Drive
- Part 2 – Sprain Pain and Piano
- Part 3 – Driving in Hungary as a Tourist
- Part 4 – First Taste
- Part 5 – Matra Mountains
- Part 6 – Szekesfehervar Forever!
- Part 7 – Museums Galore – Toy, Diocese & King Stephen
- Part 8 – St. Nicholas Day in Keszthely
- Part 9 – Festetics Palace, Keszthely
- Part 10 – Tihany, Completing the Balaton Loop
- Part 11 – From Siofok to Simontornya
My wife and I enjoy having guests over at our place for fellowship over a nice home-cooked meal. If you would like to drop by to try some of my wife’s wonderful cooking and to talk more about travel and life, do drop me a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a dinner date! Everyone welcome!