I am almost inclined to say that as of today we will no longer come across any bizarre accents in the names of the villages, towns and monuments we visit. But that would seem strange to quite a few readers. The fact is that I have got accustomed to the Hungarian accents by three years of evening classes in that language and that I hardly notice them. Also because I know how to pronounce them, which can help, of course.
Just like speaking a few languages when crossing a border, one would think. And even though my Hungarian, after not using it for a year, is a bit rusty, it is nice that if you have to cross the border between two “foreign” countries you can on both sides say “good day”, “please”, “thanks” and “goodbye”. Nice indeed, but not very useful if customs officials are going to be a nuisance. That does not appear to be the case on the Hungarian side - where today, as will be the case in the coming days, we can drive in and out after about half a minute - but on the Croatian side. The latter anyway whenever we want to drive back into the country in the evening.
“Where are you sleeping?”, “What is your destination?”, “What is the goal of your travel?” are more or less standard questions (although not inside the European Union) - even if I'm like "You can't check it anyway, who cares?" - but having to open the luggage compartment or the rear window of the car, followed by nothing more than a look in it, without even asking to open any of the bags in it, that is ridiculous. And asking the registration papers of the car to inform after five minutes where the license plate can be found on those papers, that is completely stupid, especially if you know that these papers are supposedly uniform throughout Europe (and the license plate is not on them, since you don't buy the car with the plate on it).
But at least we waste less time at the border than the truck drivers who have to cross the border here, near Mohács. From the Hungarian side, they are put on a separate section a few kilometers before the border (the border post is on a simple two-lane track) and are allowed to pass slowly along a barrier, but from the Croatian side in the evening they are standing still on the road from miles before the border. And then the cars cannot go any further, unless they always slalom between the trucks, taking into account the oncoming traffic. So it’s a good thing that we take the reverse course today and the following days: in the morning it is not too busy and we pass the border in ten minutes on average.
And so today we end up in the Hungarian town of Siklós, which has one of the best-preserved castles in the country, according to our travel guide. The fortress, and later the castle, was the only one in Hungary that from its construction (sometime in the first half of the 13th century, although there had previously been a Roman castrum called Serea), until the state took it over in the 20th century, was inhabited continuously.
However, that does not mean that it still looks the way it originally looked: over the centuries it came into the possession of several families, monarchs and occupiers, who changed or added their own things. And so Prince Batthyány created the baroque element that determines the architectural character of the entire superstructure, while the state has subsequently tried through restoration and reconstruction (in Hungary, but also in Croatia, for example, the boundary between the two is becoming increasingly blurred) to partially restore the castle to its medieval appearance, in particular with regard to the Gothic castle chapel. Given that the museum starts at the entrance gate, you have to pay ten euros for the visit, and we do not really want to pay that for a walk along ceramics, painting, costumes and dungeons, we limit ourselves to a walk around the castle , which also keeps us busy for an hour.
Then we walk into the city and come to the conclusion that about everything in Siklós is to be paid for: from the parking lot, over the castle, to the Serbian Orthodox church and the former mosque. Thanks but no thanks, we will look at it from the outside and then drive on to another town with castle, Szigetvár.