The “Hun” in Hungary probably refers to a warrior tribe of horsemen who settled in Central Europe in the 5th century. Their most famous leader was Atilla. Another household name of Hungarian origin was a Mr Rubik with his famous cube.
Hungary had been on the losing side of WWII and at the end of the war the country was handed to Soviet Russia. After the fall of communism in 1989, Hungary became a parliamentary democracy and, in 2004, they joined the EU. Like Poland, Hungary retained its own currency, the dinar.
Recently the Hungarian government had refused to accept the immigration quota set by the EU. We could not fail to notice in both Poland and Hungary that there were very few black or Muslim people. We talked to our Hungarian guide about immigration and he said that Hungarians were not racist and they would protect those who needed it – but economic migrants were unwelcome, whatever their colour or religion.
On leaving Hungary and entering Serbia a few days later I was made to feel extremely uncomfortable by the attitude of the Hungarian border official processing our exit. When I handed over our passports, the official asked to see our vehicle documents – he spoke in Hungarian and without looking at me so I failed to realise that he was actually speaking to me. There was silence for some moments before I asked if he would speak in English. His response was to make a monkey gesture by pushing out his bottom lip with his tongue. He then spoke in perfect English, “Good afternoon, is this good enough for you?” We have survived many scarey border crossings where we have not been sure what was going on but this was the first time I had come across an official that was so obviously rude and insulting. Pity anyone that was an illegal visitor.