30 July 2007

CYCLING HUNGARY - Budapest to Szeget

11 July
London – Budapest

In London I tried endlessly to get a visa for Europe but all in vain. One needs to apply in one's home country and have proof of accommodation in Europe. In the end Eddie and me flew to the first place outside of the EU, Hungary!

We arrived in Budapest and what a very interesting city with loads of old buildings, cobble streets and the mighty Danu River. Budapest is a large and very interesting city covering an area of 525 square km, it became a single city occupying both banks of the river Danube in 1873. (West-bank Buda and east-bank Pest).

12 July Budapest

This truly is the land of the paprika and sausage. We wondered around the city staring in awe at all the beautiful buildings.

13 July- Budapest – Esztergom - 5O miles (80km)

Perfect weather, lovely day, cycling along the Danu River until we reached the small town of Esztergom sitting on the bank of the Danube river. There was still enough time to visit the Basilica, Hungary's largest church. The building's imposing sizes (Height: 100 m, the inner diameter of the cuopla: 33,5 m) make you feel like a dwarf.

14 July Esztergom – Győr – 60 miles (95km)

We cycled through forests, fields of sunflowers and small villages to the town of Gyor. Nice hot day. Gyõr, is richest in historic buildings with plenty of Churches, palaces, museums, characteristic corner-balconies and narrow lanes, all reminders of a historic past.

15 July - Győr and surrounds – 50 miles (8Okm)

Decided to camp in the same place again and just cycle around the country. Past many small villages, farm lands and more fields of sun flowers.

16 July - Győr – Papa -58km

Decided to head for Lake Balaton. Boiling hot day with a strong head wind. Very very hard work. A local Hungarian who speaks no English offered us ice cream and 2 slices of some smoked meat. Pápa is a historical town dating back to 1061. The town had many lovely old buildings specially the Great Church in the Main square, which was built between 1774 and 1786.

17 July - Papa – Balatonfüred 40 miles (64km)

Left Papa for the last stretch to the lake. Another blistering hot day and quite
hilly as well. At last we reached Lake Balaton a freshwater lake and the largest lake in Central Europe. We hardly had out tents up before diving into the luke warm water of the lake.

19 July - Balatonfüred – Badacsony 30 miles (48km)

Another very hot day, could only manage to cycle half day, found a nice campsite and headed straight for the lake again.

20 July - Badacsony – Fonyód - 35 miles (56km)

Still debilitating heat, it took the entire day to cycle 35 miles, had to stop every 10 km or so for a beer, what a live.

21 July - Fonyód – Balatonszeme - 20 miles (32km)

At last a bit of a breeze, and the wind picked up and was quite strong by the end of the day, then suddenly it dropped again and back to paradise.

The campsites, 20 in all around the lake, are all very well equipped all with access to the lake, shops, bars, and restaurants, as well as loads of entertainment, specially for children, waterslides, games, cable skiing, and paddle boats.

22 July - Balatonszemes – Siófok - 20 Miles (32km)

This must be the closest place to paradise one can find. Blue skies, luke warm water and no wind, no wonder there are so many tourists around the lake. The lake shore is very shallow and excellent for just floating around. Shops, restaurants and bars are scattered all around the lake, all adding to a great holiday atmosphere.

23 July - Siófok

I have now cycled around the entire lake and have decided on another day laying around and enjoying the sun.

25 July - Siofok – Budapest 110km

A fairly easy ride, back to Budapest to pick up my Romanian Visa.

27 July - Budapest – Kesckemet 90km

A very pleasant and easy ride, nice and warm perfect for cycling, found a campsite in the centre of town, very convenient.

28 July - Kesckemet – Szeget 65km

Another easy and flat day on the road. Arrived in Szeget and what a beautiful town it was. Town located on the river with an excellent campsite as well as a thermal bath!!! Now that is the way to go.

29 July - Szeget

Spent another day at the spa and why not?

30 July - Szeget – Arad – 78km

We left Szeget with a stiff tail wind which became a near gale force cross wind, difficult to keep bike on the road, with all the trucks, the road was extremely busy. Arrived at border post to find that Hungarian visa, was not what I had expected, but in fact 2 x 10-day visas, (where did that come from?). I therefore overstayed and after a lot of hand signals, back and forth from building to building, I was allowed to go.

We arrived in Arad very late looking for a campsite, as indicated on the map but all that remained of the campsite, was an abandon field. So now it is raining and quite dark. So booked into a pension at 120 Lei. 3.1 euros to a Lei.

The language still remains a problem, everything (as expected) is in Romanian.

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