This week has been an eventful one with a birthday, a three wheeled van and some Hungarian pictionary…
Sunday started with Michaels 25th Birthday and we left Munich and headed for the small town of Cesky Krumlov in southern Czech Republic. Cesky Krumlov is a beautiful little place with the old town situated within the bend of the river. We stayed upstream on the water at a campsite that can only be described as ‘tent city’- as it was definitely the most tents we have seen so far. The river was teaming with activity with rafts and kayaks, and people would kayak in to the campsite from somewhere up stream and pitch a tent for the night. We spent the afternoon exploring the town and walking around the castle, which had great views and even bears in the moat. Michael has decided to start a tradition of ordering something strange on his birthday after last year when he ended up with bait fish in Croatia, so ordered the most expensive meal on the menu- Wild Roe (10euro). Thankfully better tasting than the baitfish.
We headed back into Austria to Vienna (we will be seeing more of the Czech Republic
on our return to Amsterdam), and ended up at possibly our worst campsite yet- very hot with no shade. Vienna is beautiful as every Austrian city seems to be, the main streets are filled with amazing architecture and performances of all sorts- one lady even had her piano out. Naturally we had some Wiener Schnitzel for dinner and of course it was delicious.
We left the comforts of Austria behind and headed into Eastern Europe, and naturally 100kms into Hungary our back left wheel decides to fall off and try and overtake us while we were doing 75km/h. Thankfully straight away the people behind us pulled over to help out and phones were withdrawn and a mechanic soon arrived. Unfortunately he couldn’t fix it so we had to call the road side assistance hotline and wait a few hours for a tow truck.
The truck driver couldn’t speak any English so once the van was loaded on the tray we hopped in with no idea where he was taking us. We went back the direction we had came from and passed a few nice looking towns with castles that we thought would be good to spend the night
in but we pressed on. Nearly an hour later I noticed we were approaching a city so assumed we were going there but then he turned off and kept driving and ended up taking us to a tiny one street town, where the mechanic was in someone's back yard. We hung around the mechanics for a while and watched as multiple men came out and looked at our car, each voicing their opinion by the looks of things.
Luckily there was a guy who spoke some English who was attempting to get his car serviced (our van took priority), so he drove us to the only ‘hotel’ in town (after pointing out elementary school) which was an old couples granny flat. We were the first Aussie and Kiwi he had met. We ventured out to the one restaurant/bar in town and had a giggling waitress who couldn’t understand any English, but we did manage to get two huge pizzas, four beers and two cokes for about 12euros.
The next morning we walked back and forth to the mechanics a few times hoping they would be able to fix it, and Michael played a game of pictionary with the
landlady trying to explain that we didn’t know when we would be leaving. At about 2pm it was ready- they had managed to scrape together some parts from who knows where. Michael went to pay for our accommodation and got a tour of the house and shown the other bedrooms and bathrooms that were available to stay in and even got a postcard and two made up business cards- just incase we are ever in the area again, who knows. We were keen to leave town and had to head back down the same road we were stranded on but this time managed to continue onto our destination- Lake Balaton.
We passed Lake Balaton in a train last year and thought it looked like a good place to camp. It is the largest lake in central Europe, so provides a bit of an Oasis for Eastern Europeans and is therefore full of resorts. We stayed at the town of Balatonfured and spent a couple of days swimming, and biking to other towns.
Next we headed up to the beautiful Hungarian town of Eger- full of history and churches. Eger was formed in the 10th century and has a
huge castle towering over the town, which was invaded by the Turks in 1596. The town is also famous for its wine and we stayed in ‘the valley of the beautiful women’ which is where a lot of the wine cellars are.
Next week we will continue east to Romania, before beginning our journey back west towards Amsterdam.
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