A Castle With A Fake Festival

The castle in Gyula (click to see larger).From the outside, it looks like a plain, boring castle.

From the inside, it looks like a movie set.

This past Saturday, my buddy Nephi and I headed to the nearby town of Gyula for a festival.  Unfortunately, we ran into a pretty major problem.  The festival is next weekend.


I was told about the festival by one of my students.  She said it was going to be a big event and there would be a lot going on.  Now she is going to fail - just kidding.

We found out there wasn’t a festival before we left, but we had already planned on going, so we went anyway.  There are some other things to see and do in Gyula, so it was worth the trip.  The main highlight, in my humble opinion, is the castle.

I’ve seen this castle a few times before, but I had never been inside of it.  It’s impressive from the outside, but it really isn’t that pretty.  Many castles are built dangerously close to a cliff.  Being on the Great Hungarian Plain, this castle is on a pretty flat piece of land.  I heard that it used to be much larger because it had a big wall around the outside.  Nephi hadn’t heard of this.  We never did solve this mystery, so I’ll have to work on that.

The castle courtyard (click to see larger).As soon as we bought our tickets and went inside, Nephi’s phone rang.  It was one of his Hungarian friends who had driven to Gyula with his girlfriend to go to the festival with us.  This is where I get to make fun of Nephi.  He talked to this guy right before we left, and he never thought to mention that the festival wasn’t actually happening.  Personally, I would’ve taken him into the dungeon room of the castle and tried out some of the old torture machines.

To solve the problem, the two of us did a whirlwind tour of the castle, and then headed out.  From the top of the tower, I’d been told that you can see mountains that are over the border in Romania.  I saw the mountains, and I bet they were across the border since we were only a few kilometers from it.  That was pretty cool.  I’ve never looked at another country from a castle before.  100 years ago, I wouldn’t have been looking at another country – but that’s another story altogether.

People say “it’s what’s on the inside that counts,” and that seems to be true for more than just a person.  Specifically, it can be said about this castle.  I expected the inside to be plain and basic like the outside, but I was wrong.  The central courtyard was surrounded by multiple levels of red-tiled roofs.  There were pretty windows and wooden walkways.  The whole thing looked like a quaint little village that you would see in a movie about the middle-ages.  Those walls do a great job of hiding the beauty within.  Is this a clever Hungarian defensive strategy?

Don't fall from the tower, it's a long drop (click to see larger).After zipping through the castle like a pillaging army, we headed out to meet some pissed off Hungarians.  Fortunately, the day was relatively warm, so a few ice cream cones had put them in a better mood.

The rest of the day was uneventful.  Hamburgers at a popular hamburger restaurant, cakes at a popular cake restaurant, and a train ride on a popular train track.

Will I go back to Gyula?  Yes, I will.  Will I go back next weekend when the festival is?  Maybe.  I suppose we’ll all have to wait to find out the answer to that question.


Hungarian word of the day:


Pronounced like “Toe” and then a long L sound at the end.  This has nothing to do with my topic, but I learned today that this means “pen”.  In English, it means you have to pay to use a road or a bridge.  The Hungarians are lucky.