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HUNGARY    INFO & DIARY

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 GENERAL INFO (Jump to Diary)
Hungary is a unitary parliamentary republic, covering 93.030 square kilometres. It is the home to 9.830.485 citizens, of which 76% Christians, 21% have no religion while 3% have other religions.
The currency is Hungarian Forint, worth 0,0241 Danish krone and €0.0032. The GDP is US$125.297 billion.
It is a rather flat country, with a peak of 1014 metres and no coastline. That causes for a rather homonym, typical European continental climate.
Among the more interesting, larger mammals are the Wildcat (Felis silvestris), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), Gray wolf (Canis lupus), Golden jackal (Canis aureus), Brown bear (Ursus arctos), Eurasian badger (Meles meles), Boar (Sus scrofa), Moose (Alces alces) and the European otter (Lutra lutra).
Despite Hungary has a very diverse flora, I have not found any species I would like to see in particular.

DIARY
17/5 2017. It is a smooth drive from Slovakia into Hungary, but then the smoothness ends. The sealing is really bad on several of the first roads. In some places, the speed-limit is set to 30 km/t, just because of the surface! The Slovakian police officer told me; I had to buy a Hungarian road-tax thing, but not at a gas station. There should be a blue something along the road. I see nothing before I turn off to my first sight.

Near the city of Boldogkőváralja, the huge and rather impressive Boldogkő Castle take up an entire mountain top. I have a hard time finding anyone, but finally, I get to pay. It is a rather intact castle, and especially the timberwork is nicely restored.

Here are several exercitations with the blacksmiths work, the torture chamber, some coins through time and alike. The huge room in the top of the fortress is the war-room with different battles displayed in models. Despite the cloudy weather, there are some great views to the lower lands.

From here, the huge flat wheat and grass fields are transformed into slightly sloping vine fields - and a lot of them! The small towns are humble and depressing, except from the amount of storks. In some small towns, every and each lamppost have a nest with storks in!

I reach Tokay, which should be "a nice little town". I am probably spoiled but despite I walk quite a lot, I can't really find anything special about it - unless I compare it to the others I just passed of cause. But they have a tourist information office - a thing I have newer used before.

They speak English, and are able to tell me: The road tax are bought at a gas station, and I get a dot on my GPS for the nearest in my direction. Around €10 for ten days, but no sticker. Then I head out through the endless vine fields.

I pass what look a bit like family tombs, but I later learn: It is vine cellars. Then I reach the large city of Eger, which have some nice old houses and a large fortress. It is the first time I see a fortress which have  been cut through by a railroad! The fortress have a huge wall and a gathering of strange churches and remains, newer buildings and - stuff. I don't get it at all.

I drive right through town to a camp, and here I am recommended to go around the corner to "the street of the lovely ladies". It is over 50 of these old vine cellars that have been transformed into small bars. Several busses of 80 years old women at stumbling around, and I do a fast tour around. On the way home, I find a single Lesser Stag Beetle (Dorcus parallelipipedus).

It feel wrong, going to bed and let all the nightingales and thrushes sing without enjoying it. Boldogkő Castle, vine fields, Tokay and Eger.

18/5. The morning start with birdsong as well, and I stay a bit in the area: Investigation the rest of the little road the camp is located on. Here are tiny houses, some are less than 20 square metres! They are well kept and their gardens are large.

Then I set the GPS for Route 24, which should be a great tour. It leads into the big hills, turning into mountains. The first part is through oak forest, then the beech take over. There are only a few glimpses of the valleys along the road, and I have to stop and walk a bit around from time to time.

I fail to see the greatness of this road, as it is mainly through forest, blocking the views. It passes some of the depressing small towns, but I can't talk my self into leaving the comfort of the car for them.

The road end at either a ski resort or an old asylum. It is at Kékestető: The peak of Hungary with its 1014 metres. I do a walk in the forest, but fail to find anything I couldn't see in Denmark. Then I head down the bends to Gyöngyös, and further on towards Holloko.

More forest, and when the hills flattens out, plantations of fruit trees and some elder covers some fields, while vine have others. Here are also some sunflowers, wheat, barley and corn.
I reach the little road to Holloko, and a huge, black raven on a big boulder marks the spot.

Holloko is truly a pretty little and old town. If I should nag a bit: It is too "polished". Almost all houses are newly painted white, the fences are mended, the red Pelargoniums fill the pots and the lawsn are mowed. Here are some discreet shops with craftsman ship, one with pottery. I really love his animal figures with their melancholic eyes.

Some of the houses in the end of town is a bit more natural, and eventually, I reach the fields. On the way back, a nice bell-play comes from a stand of bells. Real nice work!
I have seen it all, it is too early for lunch, so I set the GPS for the next sight.

The road is not really interesting: It look most of all like the better parts of Denmark, with a good mix of forest and fields. I pass a few larger towns, and stock some food. Then I almost reach Visegrad, but the huge Duna river is in the way. The GPS have a blue line across,  but here are no bridge, nor a ferry.

I can see a road on the GPS 50 kilometres back to where I came from, but I rather not. I start driving back, and after around five kilometres, I see a sign with a bridge. Well, it leads to a cable ferry, and it is just about to sail.
It is a short tour, and so is the drive op on the mountain Visegrad is found on.

Visegrad should be a "Camelot-like castle", but I fail to see the magnificence. It is a nice little castle, and the views down over the big Duna is great. I see it all, and then head on. The next target is the old town of Szentendre. It have truly been "discovered", and here are just too many souvenir shops, restaurants and alike. It is hard to imagine how the old houses are supposed to look.

Never the less, it is still cosy and interesting to walk around in. Strangely enough, the long waterfront out to Duna is not used a all! I do several loops, and end up on the little mountain with a big church on. It is getting late, but I have a camp just a few kilometres away.

Rute 24, Kékestető mountain, Holloko village, Visegrad Castle and Szentendre old Town

19/5. I drive through a rather flat agriculture landscape with a few forests. The fields are huge, the villages scares and small. I only see a few huge farms, and wonder where the machinery is?

A few villages are actually towns, one having a massive cathedral, which look strange in a domestic area. I don't make many photos of the landscape, as it look so much like the Danish.
Eventually, after hours of driving, I reach Tata. The town is famous for its old watermills, castle and lake. And one more thing, it turns out: A massive medieval market!

I find a place to park next to the huge lake, and pass some of the old watermills on the way to the castle. The creek is crystal clear and clean. The houses old and pretty well maintained, but here are hardly any people.
Then I reach the castle grounds, and this is where people are. I have to pay for a days access - for what I don't know yet.

Then I see the first authentic camps. Apparently the Turks, as they have water-pipes standing around. Most people I see are really well dressed out, and their costumes are really detailed and have taken a lot of effort to create.
Here are many stands with goods and food. Most are rather authentic, like the black smiths and the different wood-works.

The food lack a bit - and that might be a good thing. I find one stand with a guy talking English (rare around here!). He make a lot of different fruit/nut bars with organic ingredients. No preservatives - guess the share amount of sugar is sufficient. They all taste great, and I have to get a slice of the liquors and - other stuff.

A stage is set up behind the castle, but the poor girls sinning and dancing there, don't even have their own mothers as audience. On the other side, I can hear gun and canon fire, and that does seem more exiting.
As everything is in Hungarian (close to Finish, I believe), I have a bit hard getting the details in the huge play which are going on, despite a speaker keep telling it.

Apparently, the Turks have invaded, and enlisting is going on. Here are several hundred extremely well dressed-up men, horses, canons, banners and everything which can be supposed to be found at a battlefield. Muskets and canons are fired, and while the smoke clears, battles on sables and swards are fought.

As I don't understand the details, I concentrate on making some good photos, although the sun is in their back. Then I do another tour around the rest of the market, and try a falafel dish with lots of vegetables. Not authentic, but tasty.

I believe this goes on for days, and people are really into it! Despite the Turks haven't get their ass kicked yet, I head on. I did get to see some watermills, the lake and the castle, and the medieval market was a huge and unexpected bonus.

It is yet another long drive through the rather people-empty farmlands, and I do a few stops to botanise. About ten minutes after I had the thought: I had expected to see at least a few horse wagons, one turn up in a village with a load of haw. Here are many signs banning them from bigger roads, but the few horses I see is slender riding horses.

I don't really see many animals at all. In 1000 kilometres, I see one herd of sheep, two small groups of cows, five horses and nothing else. Well, a fox runs along the road, and here are quite some wild birds like swallows and storks. I guess some of the huge farms have a lot of darycattle inside the big buildings.

I reach the edge of the high plateau I have been driving on for a long time, and another hill lies ahead. The area is a bit moor-like, and I find some nice flowers. I also find a single silk-plant, which I had forgotten was here.
I reach the big river, and then eventually Veszprem.

It is a bit hard to find parking, as a wedding is going on. I find half a place, and squeeze the Lupo in. Then I do some loops around town. Once, it had been a rich and magnificent town. It still have some nice buildings, and great views to the lower lands.

I have yet another long drive, but the perfect summer weather make it a nice drive. Again, I choose the route on the minor roads, through the countryside. It still look like the best parts of Denmark, only here are no small farms scatted around at all. A few villages, which by the way have two name signs: Either two in Latin letters, but different names, or one in Latin and one in what resample Runes - and another name. Some names are a bit strange for a Dane: Mor, Papa and Brandmajor. Others are too Finish to be remembered.

Just before six, I reach Sopron. I passed a camp 21, 12 and 7 kilometres before town, but I got one within - I though. When I have passed right through the old centre of town, I reach a closed camp. And no chance I can find the way back, which I entered, to find the camps I passed! Well, the GPS know one outside town.

It guards me through some real narrow alleys, one road is literally going through a barn! Then I end on a gravel road in a forest, and later on copplestones in what could be a pedestrian area? But eventually, I end at a camp - which also is closed. Plan C is one 18 kilometres out of town. Before I reach it, I see some signs for another, and despite is is rather primitive and without Wi-Fi, I call it a day.
Tata medieval market, countrysite of the north, Old Veszprem town

20/5. I head straight for the nearby medieval town of Sopron. It have seen better days, but a lot of renovation is going on in the back alleys, and some houses have been renovated. I do several loops around the old town, and see several churches, single towers and a castle.

Then I head for Koszeg, which is an even more pretty medieval town. I guess they have started the renovation a bit earlier - or at least finished it before Sopron. The houses are a bit smaller, and it is a real cosy town centre. As it is Sunday, only in front of the church and in a few morning bars, people can be found.

I walk the centre and even get out to some outer areas. The remains of a fortress and a huge monastery lies here, along with some small humble huts. Guess there were not money to go around these days - either. When I have seen it all, I set the GPS for Örseg National Park, and enjoy the drive.

It is still rather flat, with huge fields. I only measure one, and it is a 1800 metres of rape! Others might be bigger. Here are no small farms, just the massive ones. The villages get even more miserable, but the storks are thriving, it seems.

I reach Örseg, but not much changes at all. Well, there might be a bit more nature, but here are still farmland and small villages. I stop at a little pond in a forest, and here are a lot of green frogs along with some others. I also find a few flowering plants, and it is  a real nice spot.

As I head on, I find a little meadow with a herd of long horned cattle. I really don't see many farm animals, and it is nice to see some who have such a great life.
The houses have not really changes all the way through Hungary, but here I see two thatched huts, the first since Denmark.

I reach the castle of Sumeg, and it is perfectly located on a hilltop. The road winds it way around the hill, and the sides is covered in herbs.
The castle is like no other I have visited: It feel alive. Here are small gardens with herbs, live hens and rabbits, some goats and donkeys. The castle is rather intact, and several rooms are with replica of the original interior.

Here are quite some activities for children; horse riding, bow shooting, "riding" on planks, torture instruments and cages and alike. Pretty popular, but here are not crowded; just perfect.
An old fart sit and play an ancient instrument; citer or? Anyway, he is good, and it add to the atmosphere. The staff is dressed accordantly to the present time too.

I really enjoy the visit until it start to drizzle. I guess all these excellent summer days create some mushroom clouds, creating local showers. I have a long drive ahead of me, and head off. The first 100 kilometres is though more fine farmland, then I head Slovenia.
Photos of the day: Sopron, Koszeg, Örseg NP, Sumeg Castle and western Hungary

Hungary have been a nice country to visit, but the nature and farming is not different enough from Denmark, till I will come back. I have driven 790 kilometres and taken 1117 photos. I have spend €176, €55 on diesel alone. The rest pretty equal on camps, food, admission, souvenirs and road tax.

Photos   Map & Plan   Diary