Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel
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Ancient hand-carved molds used to make honey cakes in Debrecen, Hungary

Click on above photo to view it in large format: Carved by hand, these wooden honey cake molds have been used to make the popular Hungarian cookies for hundreds of years in Debrecen, Hungary

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Preparing to package honey cakes, which have for generations been made by one family in Debrecen, Hungary

Click on above photo to view it in large format: Preparing to package honey cakes, which have for generations been made by one family in Debrecen, Hungary

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Precarious walkway in northern Hungary leads to the head of Lion's Rock at Boldogko Castle, used as a watchtower for centuries during medieval times

Click on above photo to view it in large format: Precarious walkway leads to the head of Lion’s Rock at Boldogko Castle in northern Hungary, used as a watchtower for centuries during medieval times

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I am on a rickety train, inching my way to Debrecen from the tiny village of Panyola in eastern Hungary. We are picking up speed now – making headway at perhaps 20 miles per hour. The 60 mile journey will take nearly three hours, with stops at every small town along the way. But I don’t mind; I have all the time in the world. Slow travel allows me to soak in the landscape.

My clickety-clack rural train to Debrecen, Hungary

My clickety-clack rural train to Debrecen, Hungary

I spy on backyards with enormous vegetable gardens and farm fields planted with chest-high corn and golden wheat, rippling in the breeze like a giant inland sea. The train spooks a pheasant, elegant in his turquoise cravat, who flees into a field of golden sunflowers. Hungary is the world’s leading producer of sunflower seeds and oil, and Szatmar county, where I have been been lounging for the past ten days, is its epicenter. In this achingly flat landscape, where rivers undulate toward the Ukrainian border, I have recovered my sanity and some of my physical strength. Read More

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Reenactor portrays a medieval knight at Boldogko Castle, one of the most fascinating castles in Hungary

Click on above photo to view it in large format: Reenactor portrays a medieval knight at Boldogko Castle. Even though it one of the most fascinating castles in Hungary, it is little known and even lesser visited.

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Vineyards cover the hillsides in the Tokaj Region of northern Hungary

Click on above photo to view it in large format: Vineyards cover the hillsides in the Tokaj Wine Region of northern Hungary, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site