Well, as I said on my previous entry, I was attempting to play for Norn Iron on Pro Evo Football… I lost. No shame, as afterall, we’re only a wee country & competing with the likes of Brazil & Croatia isn’t easy…
I’ve finally got around to putting up all the photographs from my recent tour to Hungary, Slovenia & Croatia, so please feel free to peruse the albums below. What I’d like to do now is to go through some of the experiences I had whilst I was in each of these places. I don’t promise to complete today, but I’m going to at least start!! So, in chronological order, Lake Balaton Hungary.
I guess my first impression on Hungary was gained on the plane leaving Stansted… that’d have been the pleasant lassie sitting beside me on the plane. She was a Hungarian, who was studying in London, had a part time job as a Dog Walker (yes, really!!), and although she went home 3 or 4 times a year, she never wanted to return to her homeland. Still, she was entertaining & was helping me with my pronounciation.
Upon landing at the RyanAirport, I was met by Josef & Carmen, my hosts for the next two nights. Wonderfully helpful people, keen to learn English, and to keep me right. So stops at the Bank, lessons on the town of Keszthely and the village of Gyenesdias (where I’d be staying), and a brief history of the airport were soon forthcoming (airport was a former Soviet Military Base BTW).
Josef & Carmen run a Campsite which also has a kind of dorm / guesthouse on the side of it. I’d suggest the place was only 3 or 4 years old, as the facilities were first rate, with comfortable rooms, good cleaning facilities and a swimming pool and two jucuzzis!! Good work. The location was, as it turned out, pants. 5KM from Keszthley as it transpired, so I thought I’d see if I could hire a bike. So 30 minutes later Josef appears around the corner with a bicycle… clearly not designed for someone 5’7"… but to not hurt his feelings I managed to get myself up on this beast & got away off down & around the corner. About 150 yards into my journey, the chain comes off… so I fix it, remount and away I go again… another 100 yards to be exact and the chain comes off again. I’m on foot obviously.
So back to the accomodation & cleaned up, and I decide to walk into Gyenesdias to find a Tourist Stop to get advice on the area & on my journey out in a couple of days. The tourist office girls took some look at me when I walked in!! It also transpired that travelling to Maribor (about 150KM west of Kezthely) is not possible directly… I can either go via Budapest (about 150KM the wrong way) or go via Zagreb (i.e. 150KM not in the direction I want to go)!!
So having decided on a journey route, it was time to get some traditional Hungarian dinner. Steak & potatoes as it happens… my kind of people. Whilst having dinner at a thatched restaurant, a Hungarian Wedding arrives for the reception… with some geezer dressed up on traditional garb, and lots of what I would describe as romany music going on in the background, the party got under way.
So far, the weather had been fantastic. There was clear blue skies and probably a heat on 25-30 degrees. Whilst having dinner however, the clouds rolled in & a storm broke, with thunder & lightning for about an hour!! Was pretty impressive, although it had me worried for the remainder of the holiday by that point. Anyways, it was time to get back, rest up & prepare for tomorrow’s walk into Keszthley.
Another beautiful day, I set out on my 5KM walk to the town. My priority is to get my train ticket for the next day sorted, to Zagreb. A fairly pleasant walk in places, I eventually get to the town and visit the high street, the Castle (famous for being involved in the Porn Industry apparently!!), the Marzipan Museum (I know!!) and of course, Lake Balaton, which is Europe’s Largest Lake. I took a pleasure cruise out on the lake which I have to say, following the walk, was great. In the middle of it all, they do a raffle of those on board, and guess what… I won!! One free bottle of Hungarian Wine!!
So mid afternoon, I set off back for the accomodation and sort myself out with some evening dinner and relax before an early night to prepare for the journey the following day (I was also knackered after all the walking). The following morning Josef gave me a lift to Balatonszentgrorgy (St George) train station, where I grab the train to Zagreb & change to Maribor. The train rolls in 1 minute early and departs on time… I’m in second class which has to be said competes with Standard on Virgin in the UK easily. The journey was pretty uneventful to be honest until I got to the border… I’d never done a border crossing on a train before, but 5 people checked me or my passport or my luggage out. On the plus side, I got a stamp!! More of that please!!
And so on to Slovenia, via Croatia.