With our bags packed from the hotel, we left for a relatively short (36km, 30 minute) drive south-west from Kecskemét to Kiskunság National Park, arriving just after 11am. The park was established in 1975 and is made up of nine 'islands' of land totalling 50,000 hectares. We headed to Bugac, which is the main destinations for tourists for the famous cowboy show aka 'Bugac Puszta'!
We drove to the main gate following the road signs when we got to Bugac parking at Karikás Csárda restaurant. Tiger was free and my ticket was 4000 HUF (£9). The trip into the show (which actually starts at 12.15 but you have time to look around beforehand) was by horse and carriage and when we arrived we were able to look around at a young foal, a Shetland pony, sheep dogs and cattle.
We then moved towards the little café to buy Calippo ice creams just before the absolutely incredible cowboy show started. Seated on benches, there were probably over a hundred people there for the show which was jaw dropping. The cowboys in traditional dress cracked their whips, there were re-enactments of races (including riding the donkey who really was the star of the show!), the cowboys got the horses to lie down and play dead, before getting them up on their bottoms. One cowboy even lifted a horse onto his shoulders! The highlight of the show itself was watching the cowboys ride 'five in hand' with one cowboy racing 5 horses whilst stood on the backs of the two at the rear. Incredible stuff!
After the show finished, all the children were allowed to pet the horses and then some were allowed a quick ride of the horses. Tiger was looking on in wonder at them with pure determination in her eyes. I wasn't quite sure, at three and a half, if she would be allowed to actually ride a horse but when I told her that, she started crying because she so wanted to go on... As the cowboys only spoke Hungarian, we managed to convey that she just really wanted to ride, and finally she got to go for a few minutes. I couldn't believe how brave and fearless she was and she was absolutely buzzing afterwards!
Similarly, on the way out, she was absolutely desperate to sit at the front of the horse drawn carriage getting in a proper strop when I tried to get her on the back! She eventually got her way after we (conveniently for her) missed three carriages back so she was at the front of the queue!
The rest of the 'experience' was wonderful and so well organised. We were dropped off at a playground at the back of the Karikás Csárda restaurant, and then had lunch there before driving onwards to Pecs. By the time we left it was after 3pm and Tiger was completely shattered so slept most of the 2 hour 20 minute drive (170km), dreaming, I expect of her future career as a cowgirl!