Balaton in watercolor

Winter is coming! With chilly gray days that are getting progressively shorter and colder, I’m thinking wistfully about warm waters, richly hued sunsets and long lazy days. That’s why I chose to paint the sunset at Lake Balaton in Hungary, which was my last real taste of summer for the year.

This was particularly easy—it only took me two sessions to complete, and I had lots of fun doing it!

Since I opted to stop going to watercolor class in Haarlem from November onwards. I plan to use the off time from watercolor to get cracking on a few sewing and knitting projects for Little Mango. So, look long and hard… this is going to be my last watercolor project for a while. Hope you like it!

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Lake Balaton, the Hungarian Sea

A sandy beach and water sounded like paradise after being cooped up in scorching Budapest. After Marlon’s work in the city was done, we decided to cool off in landlocked Hungary’s most popular summer destination: Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Central Europe.

We arrived at Budapest Deli (one of Budapest’s two central train stations) bright and early Saturday to find a huge mob of overheated Hungarians all raring to escape the city.

Budapest Deli station crowd

Fortunately, we had booked tickets online a few days in advance. An eager, English-speaking trainee immediately spotted us looking lost and guided us to a ticket machine to print our tickets. He also helped us reserve seats in an air-conditioned car.

A little over two hours later, we arrived at the town of Siofok on the south shore of Lake Balaton. Walking to our apartment along Ady Endre utca, this main road lined with dozens of eateries began to feel oddly familiar. Then I realized it reminded me of… D’Mall.

Lake Balaton restaurants

All the tiny restaurants, people walking around in bare feet and swimwear, even the knockdown tiangge stalls hawking cheap bikinis felt so much like a slightly seedier Boracay, it began to feel bizarre. All that was missing was coconut trees, a tricycle service and Andok’s Lechon Manok (I really could have used the tricyles). “Can you believe we’re in the middle of Hungary?” I asked Marlon.

Seeing this poster knocked me right back to reality. No beach party in the Philippines would ever advertise topless pool girls so shamelessly. God bless the Eastern Europeans.

Lake Balaton beach poster

Now, the beach. It wasn’t Boracay, heck it wasn’t even Puerto Galera. But red-faced and sweaty at 39℃, with the prospect of a dreary Dutch autumn looming, I ran to that beach like a long-lost lover.

Lake Balaton shore

And the water… well, it was blue, clean, swimmable, with enough of it for me and half the population of Hungary. Above all, it was warm. Holland’s North Sea makes me shriek every time I dare to go in it, but Lake Balaton elicited nothing but embarrassingly orgasmic groans of pleasure.

Lake Balaton bathers

“Oh my God. Oh my GOD. I could spend the whole day in this water,” Marlon groaned as we waded into the lake with idiotic, summer-starved grins on our faces. And that’s exactly what we did.

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