This Friday I’m hosting a superb shot from Hortobagy National Park in Hungary taken by Alyson Long from World Travel Family Blog.
Alyson is 51-year-old travel mum to a teen and a tween has been living life on the road for almost 5 years and loving it.
She is all about taking the kids to the most interesting places on the planet and giving them an incredible childhood and education.
Photo Story: Hortobagy National Park
The blue-robed, trick riding, plains horsemen of Hungary’s Hortobagy National Park grabbed our attention early last year and brought on another trans-European road-trip from our remote village base in Romania.
We’ve been hanging out in Breb, northern Romania, for 2 years on and off, soaking up the lifestyle and culture, struggling to learn the language and hanging out with villagers and fellow wandering souls.
Hungary is the country next door, but we’d seen relatively little of it as the fastest route from Breb to London is straight through the north, skirting Budapest.
Hortobagy is far to the south, so it took a special mission to track down the horsemen and heritage breeds of the Puszta. The Puszta is a wide expanse of plains and wetlands and has been used for raising and trading livestock for two millennia.
Today it is preserved for visitors like us and you can experience a tiny part of what life was like back in the days when grey cattle, the racka sheep and curly haired pigs were common in this part of the world.
The cow cart below is almost identical to those pulled by horses in our part of Romania today, much of Romania, of course, used to be Hungary and Hortobagy sits squarely on the trade route.
Back then the grey cattle carts transported salt from the region’s plentiful salt mines, today you’re more likely to see them piled high with hay for winter animal feed or manure to fertilise the fields.
The blue-clad horsemen are famous for their trick riding, whip cracking displays of horsemanship. I doubt you’ll see a horse sit like a dog anywhere else.
It’s an amazing part of the world and an incredible place to visit. I must admit, that being Europe born and bred, I always found my home continent rather dull, but gems like this give me the same excitement as the temples of Asia or antiquities of Central America. Europe can be a pretty cool place.
Hortobagy National Park is an 800 km2 national park in eastern Hungary, rich with folklore and cultural history.
The park, a part of the Alföld (Great Plain), was designated as a national park in 1973 (the first in Hungary) and elected among the World Heritage sites in 1999.
The Hortobágy is Hungary’s largest protected area and the largest semi-natural grassland in Europe.
One of its most iconic sites is the Nine-holed Bridge. Traditional T-shaped sweep wells dot the landscape, as well as the occasional mirage of trees shimmering in the reflected heat of the Puszta.
Part of the national park is a dark sky preserve.
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