Szeged – Paprika Capital of Hungary

Mea culpa times three. There I said it and I am truly sorry. For years now, I have been saying that once you have seen one Hungarian city outside of Budapest, you have seen them all – the Deja vu experience I called it. One more time for good measure, mea culpa.

Ron and I took the 2 1/2 hour train ride to Szeged today so I could do some research for my upcoming book. The section on Szeged is small as is Eger, but still there was a burning need to refresh my memory of these smaller cities. According to, Szeged ranks number four in size, but Eger is not even on the top eleven list.

On an IC train, we were surprised at how crowded it was. Why weren’t all of these people going to Balaton instead? With Mr. M on his own adventure, I could not keep him from popping up in my mind. He had to catch a train at 6:30 this morning. We reached ours at 9:30 am. He had a seven hour train ride ahead of him to reach his destination, we had two and a half hours. He had two to three hours at his destination before returning again, we had all day. He had another seven hour ride to get home, we had two hours and fifteen minutes. Oh, life is good.

It also occurred to me that with a perpetual mantra of “What should I do? What do you think I should do?”, he reminds me of a remote control toy with the toggle controls in someone else’s hands. He just goes where directed, without much self-control. When he crashes into a wall, he can certainly blame others. He did not direct himself there; someone else set him on that course of action.

Back to Szeged. This is another city we have not trained to before. The last time we visited, we came by bus with Fulbrighters. The train station is beautiful, but like Eger away from the city center. A full day transport ticket was 750 Forints and the tram directly outside took us to one of the main squares from where we walked most of the day.

A healthy person could easily become a sugar comotose mess here; there are more pastry shops than there are restaurants. Each of them have similar versions of all of the basics, so it is vexing why one would choose one over the other.

Checking hotels and restaurants for the book, we allowed ourselves to take in some sites too. We found architecture, which I had web researched for the last edition, but had not seen in person. Stunning!!

Szeged is lovely in parts, but it is spread wider than Eger, so to get from interesting point A to interesting point B is not as compact. Being a Saturday, everything was closed by 1:00 pm, even the little convenience stores that we rely on in Budapest for when the grocery stores close for the day. Interesting! Also, we were hard pressed to find a hotel in the heart of downtown, with one exception, but its looks were so unappealing from the lobby view, I could not bear to walk in to offer a reader recommendation. They will have to deal with the two that I have.

The weather was congenial. Not a drop of rain fell from the sky, though I did pack an umbrella, which I would have shared with Ron had the need arose. All in all, we had a delightful and productive day, home again lickety split by 10:00 pm.