balaton | tihany

September 16, 2015

Lets start from the end!  We went to the Balaton lake exactly 3 months ago, and it was our last trip while we were in Hungary, a kind of a “goodbye trip”, only a week before we went back to Poland.The weather had been nice for a long time, but we waited till the middle of June, to arrive in Tihany exactly during the lavender festival. Now I know it was a mistake, we should have come to Balaton more often, it turned out to be so great (and so close to Budapest!)

“The lavender week” made it easy for us when it came to choosing where to go. Usually we are a bit afraid of places described as the top tourist location, but Tihany turned out to be actually quite nice, and not so crowded (although we have we visited during the week). The town welcomed us with rain and freezing wind, but thankfully the next morning the dark clouds were gone and we could enjoy the amazing turquoise waters of the Balaton.
I don’t know how it looks any other time of the year, but in June it’s just simply “all about the lavender”. For a start, there is a Lavender House, which is actually more about the volcanic history of the region (there is an interactive exhibition and some movies to watch), but there is also a small shop with lavender souvenirs, and a cafe, where you can get a lavender tea (free during the festival) and some nice pancakes with lavender jelly.
A short walk up the hill and we are in the main part of the town. There are some lovely old houses, some restaurants, and souvenirs shops. Of course, everything is violet. You can buy some lavender oil, perfume, beauty products and some lavender flavoured food.  It’s truly everywhere! There is also a nice cosy cafe, with a beautiful view, where a couple of old ladies sit by a basket full of lavender and try to make some small bouquets. We order lavender lemonade and a cheesecake, with the same flavour. Oh yes, and before we go back to our b&b we need to get some ice cream. Lavender, of course. And yes, the place is also called Lavender. We know it well, you can find it in a couple of places in Budapest – we love going there, especially for their ginger or cinnamon-plum ice cream.
The lavender fields near Balaton are not that big, but they still look quite amazing. But the violet hills have also one more quality, that I somehow did not expect – they are super noisy! What you usually don’t see on the beautiful romantic lavender photos are the thousands of bees, flying around, making just unbelievable noise!  Since it was the festival, we were allowed to pick some lavender ourselves, we only had to pay 2000 forints (around 5 euro) and we could fill a big paper bag with as many lavender as possible. It was really fun, but the next days, all the places we went smelled like lavender!

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