Tuesday, September 04, 2012

St. Stephen's Day

Before going to Hungary, I contacted a Hungarian friend to ask if she had travel tips or recommendation for us. She then told us about St. Stephen's Day on August 20th and I was grateful for her info, because had she not told us about this, we wouldn't have known. She told us that most shops would be closed that day and that there would probably be special programs to commemorate the day.

In Keszthely itself and the beach, a few days prior to August 20th and most especially on August 19th, we felt the festive mood. They had bands playing in the beach for a few days prior to the day and there were lots of food and wine stalls as well as a few souvenir stalls. Here are some of them:

In the first pic I failed to capture the moment when some water came out of some of the holes on the ground behind R2. That was why the area looks very wet ha ha...

One of the bands performing...

One of the food stalls...

The closed-up picture of the food sold by the above stall. It cost 600 HUF (€ 2.2) in Heviz, but only 450 HUF (€ 1.6) in Keszthely. In the pic below, we were in Heviz. I wanted to buy one more before going back to Budapest, but alas...the stall that sold this was closed after St. Stephen's Day! :-(

One lovely marzipan stall:

There were also some stalls intended for kids like this one behind R2. We secretly called the balls "Hamster Cages" he he he...

And then a few days before St. Stephen's Day we went to a tourist info office in Keszthely and THANK GOD this time the woman spoke English. She said that there would be fireworks on August 20th and she showed us the leaflet with some programs on it. She herself didn't particularly know the performing bands, but at least it was enough for us to know the schedule.

I then asked if everything would be closed on August 20th and she said that big stores and supermarkets would be closed, but museums would still be open as well as restaurants. In fact, some of the museums were free on August 20th, so we made a point NOT to visit those museums before August 20th so that we wouldn't have to pay HA HA HA HA HA...ahem...

Anyway, I personally feel that after August 20th all the places become SO quiet, including Heviz and Keszthely. The guy who was at the Thai massage place said that around Balaton area, it's always like that after August 20th. All the private souvenir stores are closed earlier than before and there are no more food and wine stalls in Heviz as well.

The pic below is a pic of the stage in Heviz, though we never stayed in Heviz long enough to enjoy any of the performers there, but we did see a few performers in Keszthely beach and in Centrum.

The two "towers" on the right is the entrance to the famous Heviz Thermal Bath. The bus stops are directly on the left side of this photo, so it's very convenient for people who want to go to this thermal bath. 

Here's another view of Heviz Thermal Bath taken from the air balloon just to remind you that it's a HUGE area.

On August 20th there were SO MANY PEOPLE in the beach area, waiting for the firework display. I suppose many of them were the locals themselves. I was a bit worried that we wouldn't be able to watch the firework comfortably 'coz I'm a short woman (145 cm), but thankfully the beach is a huge area and the people didn't stand too close to one another so we had clear views of the fireworks. Here are some firework photos (silly me, I only found out last year that our camera had a firework mode! Doh!).

I took lots of pics, but some of them failed 'coz I obviously clicked at the wrong second ha ha ha...

It started at 9 pm and lasted about 15-20 minutes. In the beginning they shot only smaller fireworks but then they got bigger and bigger and bigger. Lovely! :-D


  1. You've captured some fab moments! Love the fireworks, they must be one of the hardest things to photograph, so I think you done well!

    1. I didn't have to set anything up with the firework mode, Nikki. All I had to do is aim and click at the right second. That's all. So it's the camera that's doing a good job ha ha...