Posts Tagged With: Hungary

Photo Update

Bags by the van by 6:30am each morning

The ever present problem of laundry

Old woman in Hungary

Danya, me and John at the Slovenian border

Danya and Yarn at the Slovenia border

John engaged in one of the favourite rest day activities

And Walli too

A tractor (seriously, that’s the caption Kaye gave me)

Interesting sky photo

One of our bikes by a field of sunflowers

I saw this flyer and got all excited as I thought it was in Bratislava (where I was staying) and I thought I would be able to ring my daughter Michelle (who loves pandas) while looking at a panda! But sadly this was advertising the zoo in Vienna.

Lost in translation Sign 2

You can’t quite read it in the photo but the above sign from Szomathely camp site says:

Dear Guests
We ask please, keep a look out your things better.
We can’t take a responsibility on your thing.
But you have a possibility to leave your jewel, camera, laptop, cash in a reception.
Thank you for your understanding!
Topart Kemping

Categories: Cycling trip | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Day 35: Szomathely to Moravče – 90k

2,912km down: 3,313km to go.

There were only three hills of note today, one was a 12% gradient with a stop sign down the bottom of the start of it, that which I couldn’t get a run up it.

Today started off with nice cool weather, with a threat of rain during the day. Luckily the group I was riding with managed to stay just in the middle of it and avoid getting wet – some of the riders got soaked. We could tell it had been raining as the road was soaked. One of the tour guides comes from Hungary so was able to tell us some of the key sites to look out for.

In Jak there was a beautiful old church built in the 12th century usual style, in that the outside and the inside are all stone.

The church, all made of stone.

There was a 12th century bell tower in Pankasz on a little hill in a village. It had a thatched roof and an old bell.

Bell Tower

Thatched roof of the bell tower

We crossed the boarder into Slovenia just at the end of the ride. We are staying at a huge camp site tonight, and we are tenting again. We could have gotten a room but it would have been 100 euros just for the night so I decided not to. I might have reconsidered this if it had been pouring with rain when I got here, like it was for some of the other riders. I got to the camp site at about 1pm; I then put up my tent, and also put up Walli’s tent, as Walli gets in at least a couple of hours after me. I went to have a shower and when I came out it was pouring with rain.

I was feeling a bit tired, and thought I may be coming down with the cold that is going though the riders but was hopeful that I wasn’t. I decided to have a nap, and slept on and off for the afternoon. When Walli got in it was pouring, so it was lucky I had already put up her tent. While writing this the weather is fine, but it looks like it could rain again.

A topic you don’t usually discuss on blogs is toilets, but given the ones here they deserve a mention. In the past two countries (Hungary and Slovakia) the toilets all have pull cords instead of flushing buttons. There is also no soap, although this has been common to all of the camp sites as well until now. The toilets have been dark and not very clean looking, but the most unusual part is there is no toilet paper in the stalls. It is kept in one central place outside the toilet. It is questionable whether the toilets are ever cleaned as they are full of spiders etc. Also often there are no separate showers so you have to shower in a line. Well today we have separate showers, hot water, toilets with paper, soap, toilet seat covers and music. Plus a board where it noted that it had been cleaned every two hours.

We only have 60k to ride tomorrow, I am highly suspicious that there will be big hills.

Categories: Cycling trip | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Day 34: Hengko to Szomathely – 58k

2,822km down: 3,403km to go.

Yes that’s right only 58k and mostly flat, what a gift, we were at the camp site by midday, so we had an unexpected half day to ourselves. For a change I rode with Walli, seeming it was a very short day.

We had the option of making a packed lunch or buying our own, I decided I could easily do without another sandwich. When we got to the camp site we organized a cabin instead of tenting. Then Walli, David, John and I headed off for a restaurant lunch. I enjoyed it twice as much as it was unanticipated. I had a very nice Hungarian chicken soup.

After lunch we went for a walk around the town. I also wanted to find a post office to send some stuff home. I have been trying not to accumulate stuff but I pick up a bit here and there, and it is so much cheaper to post than pay excess luggage at the airport.

I don’t think I would have achieved this simple sounding task without Walli because I had not thought of the Customs Forms and the fact I wanted to buy a box to put it all in (in Krakow the Post Office had them on display so I made the assumption this would be the case here). Luckily Walli is fluent in German, which is a widely spoken language here, so she was able to request a box the size I wanted, explain why our address was Topart Kemping (the campsite) and ask for the cheap option. Phew, the stuff we take for granted that we can do with such ease at home.

We had a look around and saw an amazing building of a ex-synagogue (it’s now a music school ). We went through some pretty cool little towns on the way here including one called Szakony, it had really old buildings and churches. Once again the houses opened up straight onto the street.

The Ex-Synagogue (Sadly the camera “does something weird” to make the photos blurry . . . )

The Synagogue sign (apparently the camera only decides to be blurry sometimes)

I have been asked what we talk about in camp, anybody who thinks we may be having deep and philosophical discussions maybe disappointed to know one of our favourite conversations is designing the perfect camp site:
1. It would have a downhill gradient whichever way you entered it, and downhill again when you left.
2. You would be given a care pack as soon as you entered which had cold beer, washing powder etc.
3. We also talk about the stuff that you would be able to buy at the campsite
Some ideas are really good, some can be a bit out there, but it’s hard to explain, I guess you really need to be here, but is fun to talk about.

A week or so back we discussed how if you wore your bike shorts inside out your butt would resemble a baboon! So this morning we had baboon ride with all the riders putting their shorts on the wrong way and riding around the camp. Some rode all the way to the next campsite like that!

The Troop of Baboons

Another thing we talk about is doing a stand up skit of your most funny or embarrassing moment on tour:
1. Danya and Jan are going to do their experience in the Russian restaurant where they were trying to order food and tried to explain what they wanted by pointing to another diner’s meal what they wanted, the waitperson was horrified and thought they wanted the other diner’s meal.
2. Gen of course would have to do a laundry skit (she ended up at yet another drycleaners in Bratislava).
That got us onto the conversation of playing pranks. The locals still turn up at the lunch truck and wander around picking up lids, looking at what’s on offer etc . We thought we could get someone who spoke the language – like Walli – to enlist a couple of the locals to really wind up the tour guide on lunch.

So now you know what we talk about – nothing deep and meaningful, but all light hearted and fun.

Once we got to Slovakia, and so far though Hungary, we have been riding past field after field of sunflowers. Unfortunately we have missed them at their best, their heads are drooping and the centres of the heads are now dark. But the sheer sizes of the fields are still breathtaking. There are still fields of corn and sugar beets but not the numerous fruit trees dropping fruit everywhere.

This is a field of sunflowers, can’t you tell?

As soon as we crossed the border from Austria to Hungary the standard of the roads and bike paths deteriorated! There are also a number of really old cars that I have not seen in New Zealand for years. Of course I am not great on the names of cars (I could tell you the colours) but I did recognize a really old Humbar and a Fiat, like early 70s style. There also of course a lot of new cars.

Once again the translation of campsite information for campers from Hungarian to English caused a few smiles.

Interesting translation (there was another photo but you couldn’t read any of it)

Tomorrow we have a few hills including one the tour guides refer to as challenging.

I have now been away 6 weeks today (11/08/12) and in 6 weeks today I will be home. In some ways it seems I have been over here a very long time, in other ways it has gone so very quickly. I am enjoying the simplicity and the ability to stay in the moment and enjoy it, rather than having to focus on stuff you haven’t done or still have to do.

Categories: Cycling trip | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Day 33: Bratisalva to Hengko – 95k

2,764km down: 3,461km to go.

So I was up early today. I slept badly but had my bags out by the required 6:30am.

Today we were in three countries, amazing. We left Slovakia after 8k and crossed into Austria, and then it was about 60k before crossing the border in Hungary. We left the city in the usual convoy but it did not take long as there were only two sets of lights to get through. Once we got out of the convoy I was enjoying riding, looking at the views.

I went through a town for about 5k into a headwind and was wishing I was going the other way, well you know what they say about being careful what you wish for. Yep, I had missed a turn so I got my wish, cycling 5k back. With the wind behind me it was not so bad, I got up to about 45k an hour on the flat. Thankfully the turn that I had missed went the other direction so even though the wind was not behind me it was not coming straight at me.

Austria, or at least the bit I saw, is quite a pretty country. There were huge wind farms which made ours look like play farms. The houses looked newer and of better quality material than the Slovakian houses.

We spent the whole time in Austria on a bike path (it was often a road but we had 20k that was just bikes). There were an amazing amount of bikers, the most I have ever seen, and whole families as well.

Just after the border into Hungary, in Fertod, there was a castle called Esterhazy Castle, with the most amazing gardens. Here is a link to it: http://www.esterhazy-palace.com/en/media/our_photos.html. There is also a you tube of the castle on the link.

The flags had been removed from 8k onwards to where we were staying, so I had to back track a couple of times checking I was going in the right direction – especially before I went down a large hill.

We are staying at a place called Termal Kemping. Today was meant to be 95k but for me it ended up being 110k. Tomorrow is a very short day only 60k, so will be almost like a rest day, but after that there are four more days until the next rest day and very, very hilly!

Categories: Austria, Cycling trip | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment