|view towatds Lake Balaton from St. George's Hill, Tapolca Basin, Hungary|
For some, the death early last week of Otto Habsburg-Lothringen, eldest son of the last Emperor of Austria, and so by default the last King of Hungary, marks the final closing of a chapter. To others, and here we should include our Hungarian friends Zoli and Viktor who merrily lunched with us on Saturday, the demise of this nonagenarian in exile in Germany largely went unnoticed.
Although, as has been suggested, his heart is to be buried in Hungary, it is very unlikely that the chosen spot will be this wonderful Baroque church which sits in splendid near isolation on a hill of the same name high above the Lake Balaton in the Tapolca Basin.
|the Church of St. George situated on St. George's Hill overlooking Lake Balaton|
|detail of the Church of St. George showing the Saint [top, centre niche]|
But there is a connection, albeit remote, for this, and the adjacent house of the wine maker, shabby chic surely at its best, both share the now faded colour wash, Habsburg Yellow, which takes its name, and hue, from the original Habsburg flag of 1686.
|house of a wine maker on St. George's Hill showing entrance to wine cellar|
|detail of the entrance to the cellar of the house of the wine maker|
And whilst the Austro-Hungarian Empire might be no more, lonely settlements such as this continue to delight the occasional traveller whose fortune it is to pass this way. As, indeed, it was ours during our recent, and most memorable weekend, spent with the Kondors at their home in nearby Kapolcs.
|a general view showing vines, woods and farmland in the region of Lake Balaton|
For this is a land which time has almost forgotten and where traditions, centuries old, of a life determined by the seasons and the soil persists.
|the National colours adorn a post set among the vineyards of Hungary|
Kings may come, and kings may go, emperors too, but just for now, and for this we are grateful, this most lovely piece of our adopted land remains true to itself.