July 27, 2017

It's the last stop before the summer break and we're off to Hungary! A country that's interesting in many ways, starting with its language: did you know that they have two words for the colour 'red'?! Yes, they're 'piros' and 'vörös' and, even if they mean the same, they're used in different ways - 'vörös' is used for blood or wine, but 'piros' is for a red ball or an apple! But then again, a rose can be 'piros' or 'vörös'! How would our team name be translated? We would need our Hungarian friends to tell us... Meanwhile here are other 12STRange facts about Hungary:


1. Measuring almost 600 square kilometres, Hungary's Lake Balaton is the largest lake in Central Europe and is sometimes referred to as the Hungarian Sea.

2. In 1936 Tazio Nuvolari won the Hungarian GP in an Alfa Romeo at the Nepliget Circuit. The event drew a crowd of around 100,000.

3. Famous inventions to come out of Hungary include the Rubik's Cube, the krypton electric bulb and the biro, patented in 1938 by journalist László Bíró.

(the Lake Balaton and Rubik's cube)

4. Erich Weisz, better known as illusionist Harry Houdini, was born in Budapest in 1874 and went on to become the world's most famous escapologist.

5. The first ever race to be called a Grand Prix was held near Le Mans, France in 1906. It was won by a Hungarian driver, Ferenc Szisz, whose achievement is commemorated with a plaque on the wall of the race control building at the Hungaroring.

6. Chess is hugely popular in Hungary, so too are the country's thermal baths. These two pastimes are combined as one can play chess in thermal baths on specially made floating chess boards.

7. The fictional Count Dracula is believed to have been based on the 15th century Vlad the Impaler, the prince of Wallachia (formerly part of Hungary)

8. There is a street in Budapest named in honour of Elvis Presley. The singer was even posthumously awarded citizenship of the city in 2011. This honour was made in recognition of Elvis singing "Peace in the Valley" on U.S. national TV during the 1956 Hungarian uprising.

(Elvis Presley and Vlad Tepes, the Impaler)

9. The paprika pepper is part of Hungarian culture and a mainstay of its cuisine, including desserts, but it is not indigenous to the country, having been discovered in Mexico and Central America and brought to Europe allegedly by Christopher Columbus.

10. Hungarians broke the Guinness World Record for simultaneous kissing when more than 6,400 couples locked lips outside Budapest's parliament building in 2007.

11. In 1946, Hungary issued bank notes with a face value of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 (one quintillion) pengö—the world's highest denomination ever.

12. Film crews are a common sight in the streets of Budapest and the surrounding countryside, as the city's fantastic architecture makes it a perfect venue for atmospheric film locations. Hungary's links to the film industry go back to the early days of Hollywood. Hungarian immigrant to the USA, Adolf Zukor founded Paramount Pictures and Vilmos Fried changed his name to William Fox and set up Fox Studios.