It was a sunny October weekend and we spent two days in and around the Gemenc forest with a fun group. The Gemenc forest is one of the biggest floodplain forests in the Carpathian basin. When the water level of the Danube is high, you can actually paddle in the forest, among the trees, it's a very special experience. The area is very quiet, you only meet some fishermen in their boats. There is a good chance to see wild boar and deer, but if you don't have luck you can at least see them in a fenced area near the railway station of the forest train in Pörböly.
On our first day we took the group on a canoe tour on a smaller branch of the Danube river, and we truly enjoyed the sunshine and the reflections on the water.
This time we did not see a wild boar, but found some cute frogs, birds and the traces of beavers.
In the afternoon we visited our favourite Swabian village, where houses from the 1930s are beautifully renovated and come in many different colours. We very lucky as we had a chance to peek inside a house as well, which is under renovation, but we could already see that it would be beautiful once ready. We also tasted stifolder, which is a Swabian salami.
It was already dark when we got to the Serbian orthodox church in the forest, so I show you a photo I took another time. This was a really magical experience though. As the chandelier of the church was previously stolen, there is no light in the church. So we visited using the flashlights of our phones. We were looking at the icons, then suddenly the nun, Szófia, started singing a religious song in the dark, which gave us the goosebumps. Once we said goodbye to Szófia, we had dinner in Szálka, famous for its lake. We opted for the deer stew with a glass of wine from the nearby Szekszárd wine region.
Next day we travelled with the small forest train, then did a hike in the Gemenc forest.
We headed to a fishing farm hidden deep in the forest, by the Danube. The farm has been here for more than 100 years. Uncle Zoli and his wife were waiting for us and offered us pálinka (a strong Hungarian spirit) right away, then he started preparing the fish soup Baja style in a cauldron. They serve the fish soup with a special pasta and no bread. The same kind of pasta is used for the second dish, we ate it with walnuts and poppy seeds. After lunch fisherman Zoli did a demonstration of traditional fishing techniques with the help of some people from our group, who played the role of the fish. They were caught in the big fishing nets, so needless to say it was very funny.
Gemenc is one of our favourite locations for canoe tours, so we are returning in the spring, expecting high water levels. Drop us a line if you'd like to join us and we'll send you the details by e-mail.