Posted on July 17, 2012 by vicki
Tags: hungary, tour

Day 5 12/7/12 Budapest to Velence 100km

The cycle network in the centre of Budapest is quite good so we had a nice ride along the river for a while. Once out of the centre, it became a little nasty in the vicinity of the airport, with lots of trucks. We couldn’t find any maps of a decent scale in Budapest (they just don’t seem to make them) so we did a bit of backtracking trying to find the right way that didn’t involve an autobahn. Eventually we found it - an overgrown access road beside a railway line that contained quite a few stinging nettles.

Now, why did the cycle path just end? Overgrown track to ride through

Once that was past us, we rode under a nce viaduct and then entered pleasant wine country with rolling hills and reasonably quiet roads. We met a local who stopped us and regaled us with a mixture of German and Hungarian for quite a while before pressing on Rodney a high-vis safety vest (apparently cyclists are required to wear them in Hungary, although no one does).

Viaduct in Hungary Lovely Hungarian wine region

There was quite a distance between campings and we debated about staying in a hotel we passed, but decided to keep on going. A few hills and about 40km later we got to Lake Velence at about 8:30pm and found a nice pension that had a restaurant attached.

Day 6 13/7/12 Velence to Balatonkenese 82km

Another hilly day that started out raining but got hotter in the afternoon. We cycled through similar country to the day before, although had to do a short stretch on the motorway which wasn’t so pleasant. Once we reached Lake Balaton we stopped at a ‘romantic’ camping in the first town we came to - I think ‘romantic’ must be euphemistic for cold showers. It started raining while we were cooking our tea so we retreated into the tent.

Good stretch of cycle path

Good stretch of cycle path

Day 7 14/7/12 Balatonkenese to Zanka 55km

This was a hot day riding along Lake Balaton, which is very popular with Hungarian holidaymakers. A pattern in the cycle route developed - we would ride along the waterfront in each town (mostly paid access to beaches with lots of kiosks and stalls) on a path shared with lots of pedestrians carrying inflatable rafts, etc, then we would ride up the hill and away from the lake to a cycle path along the main road. This would be repeated with each town. For lunch we tried the traditional Langos, a deepfried savoury dough about the size of a small pizza that was covered with cheese and sour cream. Pretty good but Rodney had to finish mine off! We stopped riding early and camped on the beach. We went for a swim bit it was pretty rocky and then muddy. Afterwards it got really windy. We ate an entire rockmelon between us for dinner - they are sold at stalls by gypsies all along the lake.

Cycling along the main road Every little town has a church Day 8 15/7/12 Zanka to Keszthely 58km

This day was a little cooler and overcast which meant that the cycle paths weren’t so crowded. There were some nice vineyards along the bank of the lake. We shopped at a big TESCO hypermarket in Keszthely (the only thing open on Sundays, and very busy) and it started raining. The next camping was 35km away so we decided to stop for the day. Of course, as soon as we had our tent set up the rain had stopped! But we went on a long walk through town to see the palace and the nice town centre. There was some sort of festival going on in the main square with lots of food stalls. Rodney tasted wine while I queued for the popular kärtöskalács, baked dough cylinders covered in sugar and cinnamon. Hungarian food is not so healthy!

Palace in Keszthely, Hungary Day 9 16/7/12 Keszthely to Galambok 52km

Another shorter day, we were getting quite tired and there is a lot to see along the way. We left Lake Balaton behind us in the morning and rode along unsealed tracks following a railway line for several kilometres. I got my first flat tyre in at least three years. This route took us through a buffalo reserve which was quite interesting. Not only did they have a lot of buffalo, but also donkeys, horses, goats and gophers (gophers are endanged in Hungary so they had been relocated for preservation). We rode through a town that seemed mostly occupied by gypsies before arriving in Galambok. The campsite is almost deserted, despite being attached to a thermal. As it was nice and quiet, we decided to stay an additional day to rest, wash clothes, write blogs, etc. We relaxed in the 34 degree spa for a while, although it doesn’t seem especially clean but it was probably good for the legs. We cycled into the next town for lunch, and to buy groceries, and it seems like the whole area is dedicated to thermal camping and hotels.

Track following the railway line Rainclouds coming Buffalo calf

We head for the Croatian border tomorrow and will see how the cycling compares.