It was time to change a place of living. For too long we were stuck at the same one. The days turned into weeks, those in months, and many months in even more months, during pandemic. It is all over now as we can breathe normally and travel some. I was very enthusiastic about the brand new caravan and my first trip abroad. Farewell to everybody, this was my time to check new places, discover new lands and possibly, hunt some pheasant or ostrich. I hope there are plenty of those birds at Hungarian seaside – Lake Balaton.
The clouds were gathering but I didn’t mind, it would be better to drive without scorching sun on the road. There was only the pair of us, my silly dog and me. Everybody was curious, not amazed and looking down on me for taking a silly dog along for a first holiday in many months. I refused to say anything, but I was thinking, deep inside, I am sick of all you lot and all your problems with politics involved in any situation. With that in mind I took only one passenger to lovely Balaton lake, just across the border, non-speakative one. I must exclude occasional barking and random tail movements, which speaks a lot if you can read it. The caravan I had purchased as a bargain wasn’t new; there were many parts in different colours, but in the long run it could prove a good investment. No hotel and other bills. All you need is single parking space and adventure can start. Everything seems very good, except heavy rain, I can barely drive in this weather.
I need to get out, the air in here is very stuffy. Although nice, fresh and new, the trailer lacks my dog-house, all I have is one corner, with some blanket, that I could call my room. At border crossing I have a chance for a little stroll and to go where even the tsar must walk to. Only a few hours later, we arrived at Hungarian sea, or it looks that way to me. The other coast can’t be seen since the rain has turned into a monsoon coming from Arabia, I guess, and also because this is a big and vast body of water. I immediately rush out, not minding the weather and into the lake, scaring several ducks, floating around the surface. They are also proper nature’s being, not afraid of a little rain. We were only one around with my master coming out just for the moment and returning back inside. I decided against it and went around exploring my new home and its beauties. When I say this, I mean, of course, searching for my favourite prey, the pheasants and maybe some other birds, my next to favourite prey.
It was pouring rain, typical English weather in the middle of Pannonia plains. I hope the sky will cry itself out and tomorrow, my first full day, I could do many interesting things here. There is so much rain, one can’t see the other side of the lake. Hey India called, they want their monsoon back, I shouted out through a small kitchen window. There was water near to it, so I realized this caravan isn’t a great option after all. I had to put many towels and one sweater around the windows and change them all night and long into the morning. I totally forgot about the dog, since there was a new problem emerging. All thankful to rain that stopped only for a brief moment, somewhere around 10.15 and quarter to eleven. It seemed to me that it continued even harder, to make up lost ground. I have parked very close to the shore, I wanted to jump, every morning, straight from the caravan, directly into the beautiful, crystal blue and tranquil surface of the lake. It was like that on the internet presentation. I am aware that those things are much more embellished, but still, the rain made it awful, no soul in close vicinity, if we exclude a few drifting ducks, which are here no matter the weather or the time of the year. Front pair of tires was sinking down in the mud. I parked too close to the edge of the lake. There was a chance that my, not so new caravan, would end up as a brand new vessel and submarine, probably first ever at this magnificent lake. The only thing to do is to shovel the tires out and put some wooden boards underneath to stop sinking. I knew theoretically what to do, but I lacked practical skills and more importantly – the spade. The dog could be helpful as I saw him working as an aardvark with his feet from time to time back home. He was nowhere to be seen. Whilst I was contemplating what to do, searching for any tool, I instead have found LP records of pop-songs from DDR and many postcards with Lenin and other Eastern European communist leaders, together with one of President Kennedy. I could bet the previous owner was a character from the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. One smart local fellow came to me with a no-no head position looking at the trailer at a very dangerous angle. He wanted to help me and asked for it only 500 Euros, his words. I refused, I planned to spend that kind of money here, but not at once, and not for wrong parking of my not so new caravan. I tried to negotiate. The time and the weather were against me as stupid caravan was leaning more and more into the river, I mean lake. I was afraid that he would ask for more money so I put white flag out and paid him to do what is necessary. I have wished that the dog was here, maybe I could persuade the man to take the dog instead. This silly adventure was because of him. All alone I could stay in some motel.
The pheasants and other rare birds don’t like heavy rain so my hunt was futile like any back home. Despite that I enjoyed freedom this place offers to us dogs. Not a single idiotic human to pass by and the traffic was slow. In the forest surrounding this lovely place, my nose spotted some deer, which I chased a little bit and when I got tired I entered local fortress. It is not even close to our own, Gibraltar on the Danube, as he likes to address it in this fashion, but that is my opinion as I could match fortresses like I could make mashed potato or tomato together or separately. However I wasn’t alone, since other four-legged pets without their respective companions emerged from their homes. Soon we became best buddies, chasing the cats, swimming in the ocean, I mean lake, digging and playing with each other as real wolf packs do in the wild or a Zoo. After a while I got hungry. The caravan seems too close to water for my comfort. With my excellent smell I was sure to find better cuisine. Let’s face it, my “walking manager” isn’t good in cooking, at shoveling or on picking fine and sunny travel destinations. My nose has brought me to a kitchen window. There was no commotion inside so I entered vigilantly. Nice Hungarian stew was on the stove. If you are here you must try “gulash”, any local would recommend it. It was hot and spicy, but I was very very hungry. No problem for skilful dog to get on a chair, take a lid off and enjoy the finest home-made Hungarian national dish. My ears picked up a sound in the other part of the house. It was time to go, with no time to put the lid back on. “Fox, fox”, I heard screams from the older woman, but with the full belly I could continue my adventure, remembering at the same time, location of this “restaurant”. Tomorrow menu could be Duck or Ostrich a l'orange.
The caravan and my things inside were saved, but my pockets were depleted. Rain was pouring as I offered tea to my savior and robber at the same time. He wanted a stronger beverage, which I haven’t – not all Balkan residents are heavy drinkers. Out in the rain, the man mentioned tonight’s festival at local ballroom. For the modest price of 50 Euros you could drink, dance and eat snacks all night. “The rain moved it indoors”. I wanted to ask is this normal weather for this region, the lake is great, the water should come from somewhere, or this is another feature of fast climate changes, but he was gone, with my 500 Euros, probably becoming a legend at local pub, just for tonight, at least. At eight o’clock I was ready to go. I put on my finest clothes and made several bold steps. There was no trail, only less mud and pretty muddy. I tried zigzagging, avoiding huge piles of mud with the rain and rain going on and on. I felt as if I am in Georgia or in that song “Rainy Night In Georgia”. I could only wish that it is “… raining all over the world…” and everybody’s holiday is ruined, not just mine. My pants were muddy but I hoped the rain would wash it a little bit. Wishful thinking. I took a wrong turn ending up in muddy “theme park”, losing a shoe. I had to go back and change my outfit. This time I walked straight on, leaving another shoe to the enemy. I should have known better, when I picked this location for an interesting and funny holiday. In Slavic languages Balaton means muddy, it clicked to me. I was furious at myself, at the weather, t old caravan, to that man and again to myself. The sole guilty party was me, which was an awful truth. When I arrived at the party, everybody had a fine time, like they should. I was miserable both inside and outside. However the theme, Habsburg fashionably with local orchestra playing wonderful music, Hungarian gypsy music and Vienna waltzes, together with the abundance of tokay wine and cheerful atmosphere made me smile, first within and from time to time to some old ladies. The hall was nicely decorated and many people wore proper clothes and uniforms of bygone age. As there was a shortage of fine young men, I had to dance with many ladies. Despite my poor looks, sport jocks and huge rubber boots, reminiscence of the first owner of the caravan, I had to be involved in every dance since I was probably only one under 50.
Our group has investigated both shores for any pheasants, but without any success. I bet they migrated to Lake Huron or Ontario or some other in Africa. One smart fellow, a husky or a malamute discovered small boats out on the water, not attended. It was our time for funny sport activities on the lake. I had a problem navigating the devil’s vessel until I put my tail as an oar. I think I won the race as I came to the shore without anybody behind me. I was near a trailer so I went to check out my master. He wasn’t in, but some shoes were not far away. I always wanted to play with them. I chew both pairs and put the lace out. Very happy with myself and full of esteem, winning the race beautifying the shoes I cruised around. Awful sounds were coming from one long building. I was on the window looking inside. To my surprise, there he was, my driver, enjoying himself at the geriatric party.
I saw my dog on the window, just for the moment, as another duchess grabbed my arms and “Moldau” tune propels her into her youth, during Bell Époque I figured that quickly and cynically, giving those ladies nobility. I hoped that they came here with their nieces and daughters, but youth escorts were nowhere to be seen. I could barely get away into the corridor, heading home. Then I heard it, distance party music from the other side. All daughters and nieces were there and many more fashionable young ladies. That local guy tricked me, I was as mad as some dog when I entered my caravan. My roommate was there, wiggling with his tail just in front of my right foot.
I decided it is time for me to come home. I looked at my master from beneath and something in his eyes I didn’t appreciate. My posture was friendly and obedient but I was wary. In that particular moment his left foot made a sudden move towards the end of my body. He was sure for a hit, but I sensed it, as we, the canine family are one with nature, and skillfully avoided his punch with the leg, Beckam style. I was out through the kitchen window as fast as some hawk.
Instead of soft tissue and the satisfaction of kicking someone in the groins my right foot was broken, hitting only steel piece in entire stupid vehicle. I cursed and cursed, screamed and yelled, until that local fellow came, again with his head in no-no position: “Doctor, you need a doctor, only 100 Euros”. I wanted to swear at him, the Balaton lake resort and all the dogs of the world, but I didn’t say anything. In a few days, there was another similar retro party with a lot of empathy for my foot in bandages. I was glad for it, until the moment when nieces and daughters came along and started dancing with gray heads and beards, since there were none eligible young guys. I had to sit down and chit chats with fine old ladies, swearing inside.
All wet, I was fed up with the rain and my fellow dogs, so I got into the corridor, slowly walking near the wall, wishing I was invisible. They let me pass and I was in a big hall with strange sounds echoing. I saw him sitting and I raced towards him, through the people acting wild in the centre, moving in all directions. I put my head near his left hand, looking at everybody with my sad eyes, wanting for things to be as they were. He didn’t look at me, but his hand, mechanically or not, petted my muzzle. Through the window I could see my mates, all wet, jealousy looking inside. My master really needed me, since I was the only one left, the caravan slid into the pond, I mean lake but he was unaware of it yet. Sometimes it is better not to share bad news. We are going to stay at this rainy paradise for some time.