Published: September 10th 2007September 10th 2007
Hi guys...Ian on the Mic ...big shout out!!...bigadibigadibong
a bit behind here on the blog as been getting some serious miles in across Hungary (just read an email about his mileages from Chris Edm that has just made my head spin!! - dude give it a rest!!)
Seems so long ago that we crossed the Danube and into Hungary. We headed straight down to Budpest stopping over night at a 'Danube bend village' ,Szentendre. Nice village, small streets. Bought some tat to send home..sometime its got to be done!! haha. Few fun and games getting into the centre and to the Hostel me RJ and LLoyd stayed at last year which was cheap and pretty near the centre, cycle lanes and routes were ok and then had to christen Jenny with a bit of city centre riding continental style (ie on road when it suits, on pavement when suits and ready for anything at any time and like Billy Bragg says your laws do not apply to me).
Bit disapointed with hostel as they put is in a different building and it cost more than i remember. But we had a self contained flat and it was in an ok location - and importantly we could put the bikes in the flat.
Enjoyed budapest again, i knew what to expect somewhat although instantly we felt the expense - and the rip off effect..got ripped off or tried to get ripped off in the first 3 places. we went so a nice italian restaurant got the brunt of our frustration im sorry to say and i refused to pay the tip...which they had added on the bottom of the bill as an obligation and not choice...this is common practice in Budapest so infact everything is costing you 10% more and tips are not optional even if you aint happy with service..service was actually ok in this place but thought we were getting wool pulled over our eyes again so put our foot down...ahh well...live and learn.
One thing i remember about Budapest last time (apart from my funny turn!!! ) was a little bar underground called 'champs' sports bar near our hostel...it was still as a remembered ...blooming ace.. about 8 different sports on big TVs around the cellar, great food and drink and each seating booth done out in a different sports theme..we sat in archery and fencing and watched our girls doing us proud in the 400m in world athletic champs!!..
Our second day in Budapest was rainy and grim, we were on a mission to pick up Jennys parcel from her mum and dad of spare contact lenses from post office, which was an adventure as we were at the wrong place to start off!!..in the end we found out that they had returned it as they only held it 2 weeks, which isnt a big window when we aint got an itintery that far ahead...gonna have to be real careful with those peepers Jenny! Sent off a parcel of our own but as far as i know it aint got home - worrying...siblings or parents can you let us know when you get this..
Double bad news she missed her thermal spa she was looking forward to as we had been mis informed about closing times. pah..
so pretty poor weather leaving Buda (well pest actually) and we headed south for Lake Balaton...biggest fresh water late in Europe outside scandanavia for you fact fiends. Apparently like the coast in Hungary and everyone goes. Took a couple of days to get there which to be fair werent actually the most riveting and once there found pretty much nothing going on...on further investigation found out that after 15th Aug its out of season on the lake and when we were here at end of Aug places were shutting for the season...mad...would have been pretty nice (if a little butlinsy) if the weather had been hot. Had sporadic sun on our rest day along the coast line...in normal circumstances a dip in the lake wouldnt have been on - but we are on holiday so you defy the cold!!! yeoooow....bonus campsite we stayed at let us have a room for same price...wow luxury (about 5 times cheaper than Buda and 5 times nicer!!) - blew our savings on pizza and chips and beers..
Thought we may have to rethink our camping plan as the campsites we stayed at were closing the weekend we we there. Preparing for some hotels and hostels etc and a chunk out of ians tight holiday fund...
Had a wicked day heading south to Pecs (pronounced paich)..clocked up 79 miles easy peasy in cracking weather..only problem was a few of the roads had no cycling signs on and a bike path next to it. Then one appeared to ban cycling (and horse carts) but offer no alternative...quandry....an old Dude on a clapped out bike just waved at us and said "Dont worry about it my dear chaps, just cycle down there as fast as you can and if the old bill do stop you just play like an idiot and you didnt understand, thats what i do all the time - hey what..you want some of my freshly made Hungarian fire water hic?" If my translation and understanding was correct....
Campsite was shut in Pecs....hmmmm....shut for the season or shut full stop we dont know....we had just done a really steep (Jenny can vouch for me) hill for 4km ...gave us a cracking view down onto the town and south 25km away top the hills bordering Serbia and Croatia...but those adventures await...we are heading west to Romania first.
Got a Panzio (room), well self contained flat and if this is the sort of price and accomodation we are going to be used to then im a happy chap...watched tv till about 1.30pm!!! cos i could!! This one was 13 quid..
Next day we zipped the 4km down to the town and had the morning looking around the place...nice....lot of Turkish influence ..ermmm and city walls...and well it was nice ...and there were people there unlike Balaton.
Heard some bad news here...the weather was about to break and we are due to have some wet and cold stuff.
Got a nights camping in about 35 miles away...most of whcih done on a road with no cycling allowed between 4pm and 8pm (rush hour??) ermmm not really as it was pretty dead on the roads.
Next day we got the bad weather ( thats good weather to you Carl!!) ...really puts a downer on things when you are wet and cold and not knowing where you are going to be staying. We now basically had 200 miles to ride accross to the Romanian border all across the Great Hungarian Plain (and as far as we were aware all in bad weather )...I think this is where my Coffee addiction started!!...
WARNING Cyclist only analagy here...we decided that these 4 days were like a feb tour on pilling sands...- there you are DC add that to your list of new jokes!!
also devised that cleanliness is not next to godliness, dryness and warmth are nearer
sort of switched our brains off for these 4 or 5 days and i dont know what the heel we were playing at but we camped the first night and it was really horrid...(also ironically the campsite had a thermal baths which we used to get warm)
The next few days were spent doing amazingly long straights, getting sore bums, using all the tricks to keep dry and get things dry (like using placcy bags in shoes and abusing gas and electric ovens and cookers to create unnofficial drying rooms, and praying for cafes or etterens at lunch for a hot drink...)
Think we both zoned out a bit on these days...
Weather still isnt hot - maybe it wont go hot again till we hit the mediterranian??
Probably wouldnt have done this section of our tour if we could go back and do it again...Pecs worth doing but the rest, well i guess we are hardened to the weather now and can rattle of 60 mile days like nothing.....i did enjoy Hungary dont get me wrong...Was very interesting on the plain with lots of wildlife (saw a dead otter, and
loads of eagles) and little farming villages and hundreds of people on clapped out bikes...
Crossed over into Romania now and are 3 days into it in a place called Turda (fnnnaarrrr)....just deciding wether to spend 8-10 days looping around the north to the very well written about Maramures and Painted monastaries of South Bucovinia, feeling a bit like time is running out a bit...still dont know how we are going to get from Bulgaria to Croatia??
Anyway La Revedere from Romania (its like French the language!! )
both me and Jenny are fighting fit now and no real problems. No probs with bikes so far really ( my sidewall went on a 25 quid Schwalbe marathon XP tyre which i wasnt happy about) now got a 4 quid czech republic special on!!
Sorry...was going to add photos here but cant get my USB thingy working so hungarian pics will be a seperate entry sometime soon...