A curve ball came our way today. We’d spent the day pushing ahead in strong winds to Székesfehérvár, one of the bigger cities in Hungary. Our plans had been to camp in the city before pushing on to Budapest tomorrow but as we rolled into the campground in the early evening we were told it was closed. The whole area was cordoned off for a concert this weekend and we were out of luck. For us, this is one of the most demoralising things that can happen on the road. We’d worked hard all day, we were more than ready to stop and just as we thought we were home free then the prospect of at least another hour on the road reared its head. This is when cycle touring on a budget is at its toughest. With a bit more money we might have just headed for a hotel but instead we stopped to make supper and collect our thoughts. The only real choice was to carry on and hope to find a field for our tent. Somehow we stumbled on the right road out of town and soon found ourselves on a farm track between two villages. It was actually marked as a minor road on our map and very minor it was too. In the rain it would be little more than a puddle of mud. We bumped over dried ruts for a while before our luck came back. The terrain soon became perfect for wild camping. After over 100km we didn’t need much convincing to stop for the day. All’s well that ends well but it sure was tiring finding our home for the night!
You Are Viewing Hungary
Long live Hungary! Thanks to the wonders of technology, this journal is being put on our website as we sit in our tent on the shores of Lake Balaton. We are really loving Hungary so far. Our lakeside pitch cost us half of what it would have in Italy, if we could have found space by the water at all. Food is also noticably cheaper and they have wireless internet everywhere! And the scenery is every bit as pretty as Italy’s equivalent; Lake Garda. Why haven’t more people discovered this area, aside from the Germans? Before we set out to glide along the lake this morning, we had a reminder of what a small place the world is. As we were packing up our bikes to leave we got chatting to our neighbours in the campsite and we discovered they lived almost next door to Friedel’s aunt in Munich and came originally from the same area in Germany as Friedel’s grandfather. We had a good chat for quite some time about their memories of growing up in the same towns as we’ve come across in our genealogy research; fascinating for us. It was nearly midday by the time we got out of the campsite, stocked up on groceries and hit the road. The terrain was quite easy though and when we weren’t looking at the lake we were enjoying views of the many vineyards and people out wandering on a cool but pleasant summer’s day. The area is filled with beaches, parks and cafes.
Well, it’s my birthday today so of course we had to celebrate!! The weather didn’t really cooperate — keeping us stalled in the campground for most of the morning with pouring rain — but after lunch we went into Heviz and partied with the hordes of German tourists. If there’s one thing German tourists guarantee in any town it’s good beer, so we took full advantage, as you can see from the pictures. The funny thing is that Heviz is a spa town, but all its restaurants and cafes seem to serve is beer and deep fried food. No steamed vegetables here! Maybe the Germans come to detox and then retox instantly?
Our journals are going to take a lot longer to write now that we’ve arrived in Hungary. Have you seen the name of the town we’re in tonight? That’s a relatively simple name by Hungarian standards. And grocery shopping is turning out to be a new challenge as well, with none of the food names even vaguely similar to anything we recognise. Hungary, we surrender! Our first day in the country turned out to be a bit of a trial, not only with the language but also with the ambitious task we set ourselves of reaching the shores of Lake Balaton. We were told before we entered Hungary that it was flat. To this we say, fiddlesticks! We had more than a few rolling hills, none of which were overly steep or high but on a humid day and with the temperature soaring it was enough to get us sweating. The scenery was, however, quite pretty, with large fields of sunflowers and wheat keeping us company as we pedalled. By the time we reached a campsite we probably had a bit of heatstroke since neither of us felt very well. A cold shower and lots of water seemed to put things right though and we’ll take that as a warning to go a bit easier in the next few days.