We entered Hungary through a small mountain range in the north near Sátoraljaújhely (yeah, good luck saying that) on a breezy, rainy Sunday and upon arrival to the camp site we were intrigued by the word ‘thermal’. Needless to say we spent a good part of that afternoon just brewing in 36°C water and hated the moment we had to get out. In the end we stayed there two days.
Along the 250km we cycled down the Tsiza River we discovered two main things; first of all, Hungary is as flat as a pancake and secondly, campsites rock over there!
We could talk for hours about these two points but actually when you think about it, it makes a great cycling destination for anyone who is not a huge fan of slopes. Add to that the fact that it’s relatively cheap and that they have great wines well, I’ll just leave it there shall I?
From the Slovakian border to just a few kilometres before Budapest the ride was easy, flat and it was July so hot, very hot. Luckily, in every campsite we were always welcomed by either relaxing natural spas, refreshing rivers or someone inviting you to a shot of tonifying Palinka a local liquor (and pride of the nation). It’s not for the delicate mouths but we have to admit that setting up the tent felt always easier afterwards!
As we mentioned earlier, Budapest offered a slight ascent and the rest of the approach to the city was piece of cake; there are many cycle lanes you can follow and hungarian drivers have received the prestigious 421Adventure Golden Wheel of Excellence Award… that just means we think they respect cyclists pretty well…
OK sorry, Budapest. Nothing to say. If you are alive right now you know that it’s an amazing city, someone has told you so already because they have been and they have annoyed you with blabla about this and blabla about that well, they were right. Stop wasting money on crap, save up and visit it before you can’t anymore. Amazing architecture, great food everywhere and friendly people. Go!
We actually stayed with a friend from my (Marco) youth. Gabor and his family in his awesome house in the suburbs and it was fabulous! For the first time in a very long time we felt good while staying somewhere and not just because they are brilliant hosts but also because Gabor, Csilla, their 3 lovely kids (which we had planned to kidnap at one point) and Csilla’s parents just make an amazing family. We really cherished every moment spent with them and will be forever thankful for everything they did for us.
Gabor and his family are also super interesting from an antropological perspective because they are from one of many parts of the world which does not clearly, culturally I mean, belong to one country alone. Quick history lesson: after WWI lots of countries grabbed parts of Hungary (which used to be heaps bigger) and so many people in the south, for example, are Serbian but feel Hungarian. God I hope I’m getting this right. Why are we telling you this? during our stay with the Sepseys we heard lots of stories about the south of Hungary/north of Serbia area and we actually really liked it.
Ok, again, it’s flat but holds many interesting town and cities, such as Kecskemet and Szeged and we met some fantastic people while cycling around down there including Szofia and Szabi who hosted us for a night, made us a great dinner and then took us to an open air cinema (in English). Or other western European cyclists like Camille and his boyfriend who’s name I can’t quite remember… something with A… just kidding guys, Alex, who we met on a boring stretch of dyke and who shaped our trip for a few weeks since we really felt a bond with them from the first moment we met. They are undertaking an amazing long haul trip all the way round Europe that you should definitely check out on their blog; www.cyclingkeepsyoumoving.com
So, to summarise, we really enjoyed our time in Hungary although it was hot and a bit flat and just in case you are wondering, the title of this entry comes from the fact that we were left hungry for more. Not more food of course, more time in Hungary! As always we couldn’t visit all of it and we wish we could have. Maybe one day we will go back to the easternmost part of it but, for now, we are left with great memories of this little corner of our planet.
We also have an amazing YouTube channel with lots of different videos (in lots of different styles) from the road; 421adventure on YouTube
And please don’t forget that part of our adventure consists of fundraising and raising awareness for two incredible NGOs so please help us to spread the word and, of course, if you’re feeling generous, donate here; DONATE