House-sitting in the Hungarian Hills - Dr. Jason’s Travel Blog
From Dr. Jason: We spent the first week on the Croatian coast exploring the white-walled villages and castle walls made famous as the location for the Game of Thrones series. After Arnica and Acacia got their fill of seafood, we moved inland to Hungary for our first house sit.
Currently our family of four is spending 3 weeks in a thatch-roofed village just up the hill from Lake Balaton. Lake Balaton is one of the largest lakes in Europe and it reminds me a lot of our own Lake Okanagan due to it’s size. It is a lot more shallow though, and the color can vary from light azul to deep grey depending on the light and wind conditions. The region we are staying is a popular holiday spot in the summers which can get quite hot - thankfully we have a 10x10 plunge pool in the yard to cool off as the first week was really warm. Now it’s settled into pleasant fall weather.
The area of Hungary we are staying in is very beautiful with old stucco white walled houses with wood windows and gorgeous thatched or tiled roofs. The hills are rolling with lots of trees and grain fields where are we let the dogs run. There are also lots of vineyards on south facing slopes. We have been enjoying sampling the local wines, salami and paprika. Arnica has been meeting with wine producers, learning more about the prickly wines made on volcanic soil, and the girls were taking wine surfing lessons to keep themselves busy.
The language has been challenging to learn! but I do know a few simple greetings and phrases, and have managed to navigate the rural bus system to take our kids to their lessons down at the lake and back again, a circuitous hour each way.
As part of our house sit, we are looking after a large family of pets. There are 3 dogs; 2 small sweet mixed breeds and a young bouncy black lab. There are also 3 tabby cats. Days include the regular daily pet duties such as feeding, watering, walking (they aren’t leash trained so we’ve working on that,) up the field to let the younger two run off leash, snuggling and picking up dog poo. Looking after these pets helps us to not miss our Wolfhound and wieners that are staying with several families back home. I have also been enjoying snuggles from one of the cats, Muffy, who reminds me of the snuggles I used to get from our senior cat, Vega.
A goal of mine while I am away is to continue my herbal training in Chinese herbals through the Chi institute. I am currently learning about herbs that help the gastrointestinal system. I’m really enjoying the video lectures from Dr. Xie - He’s such a funny teacher, even when I’m just watching him on my laptop. In Chinese medicine the GI system is the earth element. Digestion is actually performed by the spleen from a Chinese perspective which receives nutrients from the stomach. Yesterdays lectures were all about vomiting and diarrhea, fun stuff for veterinarians! I’m also really enjoying learning because so much of it is familiar after using Chinese herbs for a few years.
In 10 days we will make our way west in Europe to Alsace and then Spain. Our next pet sit will be in an area of France close to Bordeaux, where Simone, our horse-loving daughter and I will be taken care of a pregnant mare, as well as a couple of giant dogs… Including an Irish wolfhound! Chat soon ~ Jason