György Vankó has recorded hundreds of Mössbauer spectra in the laboratory of Prof. Attila Vértes, at the Eötvös University, Budapest, to receive his PhD. During this time he amused himself with learning other techniques, which opened his eyes to synchrotron radiation facilities. The enthusiast and (that time) young fellow seeked a postdoc position at the ESRF, where he later became a beamline scientist on the Inelastic Scattering Beamline ID16 (later the beamline moved to ID20 during the ESRF Upgrade). After almost seven years at the ESRF, he managed to become a user and returned to his home country, with the intension of building an X-ray spectroscopy group involved also in time-resolved studies to exploit the novel research opportunities at X-ray Free Electron Lasers. The group has been slowly but steadily growing, and has been developing ultrafast X-ray and optical probes to study the electronic and structural dynamics on fs to ps time scales.