Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hungarian Highlights - Part 15 (Sarospatak)

Link to Part 14

Sarospatak (meaning "Muddy Creek" in Hungarian") was a little off the beaten path but that was one of the things that made it a perfect destination in my mind. A second reason was that it didn't really have an Old Town so to speak. This was just a simple town with a castle -no tourist traps or kitchey souvenir stalls to be found. Getting here also entailed using a train, a welcome relief after many hours of traveling the countryside by bus.

Another reason this place stands out to me was because of my little hotel. The receptionist, as I had come to expect in the eastern part of the country, spoke English about as well as I spoke Hungarian. However, upon seeing my Canadian flag t-shirt, she asked if I spoke French. I do speak some French but I haven't really used it since high school. Now, I was forced to dig back into my memory in order to communicate. Seems the lady who owned the little hotel was originally from France but had emigrated to Hungary years ago. It was a strange sensation speaking one of Canada's official languages 7000-odd kilometers from home. In any event, by piecing together a little French, German and Hungarian, I made out just fine.

Here are several views of Rakoczi Castle (also referred to as Sarospatak Castle). Random fact #1 - Rakoczi Castle is pictured on the back of the 500 forint bank note. Random fact #2 - The castle served as ground zero for the Wesselenyi Conspiracy, a failed 17th century attempt to end Habsburg rule over Hungarian lands.

Some pictures of the inner courtyard. I believe these sections of the castle were added in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Nice views from the top of the Red Tower.

The Red Tower is the oldest part of the castle, dating from the 15th century.