Egar and Budapest in Hungary 2 to 5 June 2013

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June 7th 2013
Published: June 9th 2013
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Egar and Budapest in Hungary 2 to 5 June 2013

After saying goodbyes to Slovakia’s northern mountains and the eastern provinces, We drove south, down through Kosice through the border crossing, into Hungary. We decided to take the secondary roads to Egar which was a lovely little town in the middle of the country’s wine industry. This is a popular tourist destination for local Hungarians with its walking malls. We could see the Turkish and Ottoman Rule era influences through the design of their buildings and churches. We stopped and walked around the town and saw beautiful outside dining and cafes with a river running through it. There were cobblestone roads and paths. Worth a stop.

Travelling SW to Budapest, we stopped at a service station to buy a 7-day vignette with is like a road tax. You display it in your vehicle. Some of these countries require vignettes, others have road tolls and some have both.

We easily found out Arena Camping with our trusty GPS. It was about 10 kms out of the city but we learned from the very, very helpful manager, the easy way to catch public transport. He spoke pretty good English also. The camp site had free WiFi (but slow), free washing machine (slow but we had to do our major wash) and beautiful, clean showers. It had rained so there were a few puddles around the place. We got the 3rd last spot so it was busy. It filled up within 30 minutes of us arriving. We later found the power supply was frugal and with so many vans, it was low supply!

Tom was worried about the breaks to the camp manager took him across the road to a local garage and interpreted for him. The front brake pads were replaced by 4.00pm that day. While it was being worked on we went into the city. The camp manager organised a taxi ride and we were dropped off at the 1st stop for the Hop-on-Hop-off bus. What great service. We hit the sights of Budapest.

WE absolutely loved Budapest. A city divided in 2 by the mighty River Danube, with Buda section to the west of the river and Pest to the east. The city is actually the result of 3 cities joining, Buda, Pest and Obuda in 1873. It was 1st settled by the Romans and then in the 1500s the Turks arrived, followed by the Hapsburg Austrians, who stayed for 200 years. World War 11 was brutal for Hungary with much destruction throughout, particularly in Budapest. In 1956 was a major revolution and all has been reasonably peaceful since then. It is a member of the EU.

Budapest has 20%!o(MISSING)f the country’s population, with its administrative and commercial centres here. The beautiful buildings hug the gentle curve of the Danube, with the Buda Hills on one side and the Great Plains on the other. We saw so much on the hop on hop off bus. It occasionally showered with rain but not too bad.

Budapest is a party town with many beer gardens sprinkled through medieval buildings. The dominant buildings of the city are the most amazing Parliament House we have ever seen, and Buda Castle in the Palace District, the latter of which we visited. There was a funicular going up to it but we took the bus. The best coffee place was the New York Café (see photos) – spectacular. There is also a big Jewish presence in the city.

We had a 1 hour cruise down the Danube, stopping at Margaret Island where many people go to do their daily work-out. This was to be the last day that boats were taking passengers as the water level was rising fast as a result of all the rain that Germany has been having. It was only about a metre below the footpath levels that day. Since we have left Budapest the city is in a State-of-emergency. Some of the banks are quite low. They told us they were expecting the worst flood in 100 years.

After the cruise we went to see the Royal Palace which was also impressive. We visited the Budapest History Museum and came across a group of children and adults who were singing in one of the court yards. The acoustics were fantastic. In this area we also saw several bullet-ridden buildings which have been left for history preservation.

We samples Hungary’s essential dishes: Hungarian goulash served as soup, paprika-infused stew (the country is known for its paprika), and small gnocchi-like dumplings that go with the stew. Lots of coffee was also the go.

Budapest is also known for its thermal baths. There were many to visit, all of which are beautifully warm and medicinal. It’s known as the spa capital.

At the camp site we met more helpful travelers and got lots more hints on what to see and do. We ended up staying in Budapest for 3 nights which was excellent.

The last day we drove down to Szeged and crossed the border into Serbia.

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