Category Archives: Hungary

Koloksa to Mohacs

Shepherd with his flock
Shepherd with his flock

Today we were woken up by the sound of a shepherd and his flock at our riverside campsite, making their way to a pasture nearby ………

With the sun soon drying the dew off the tent we were on our way to find a Paprika Centre mentioned in the e-guide to the Danube cycle way that we have been using…. after all we were in the middle of Hungary’s prime paprika growing area….

We arrived at the appropriate village but no signs, no indication of where it may be. Asking a few people we passed with the words “paprika centrum?” “paprika muzeum”, some mime brought one suggestion with a few gesticulations, left, right…. along a winding road….. after a bit more exploration we didn’t manage to find anything beyond what appeared to be a factory shop (which was closed because it was Sunday).

Disappointed, we carried on our route along quiet country roads, decent surfaced cycle paths, and the occasional stretch of gravel.

Being a Sunday we thought the best option was to stop at Baja, a medium sized town on our route to find a restaurant to eat a large lunch so that our provisions we had in our panniers would be sufficient for our supper. We managed to find a mexican style restaurant which provided us with an excellent and satisfying lunch , just under HuF 5000… sounds a lot but it was the equivalent of just over €16… and then Diana located an Italian style ice cream shop which was proving very popular with the locals.

Fields of purple poppies in the distance.
Fields of purple poppies in the distance.

On our way again we were passing lots of fields of paprika seedlings, some fields of purple poppies, maize, wheat and sometimes herds of sheep .

We reached a small village just off the cycle track where there was a campsite mentioned in our e-guide (last updated 5 years ago) … a tour round the village, query at a small bar brought no joy apart from an offer of “zimmer” – a room for the night…. on to the next village with a supposed campsite….. again no campsite apparent… then we followed an overgrown track which our GPS showed led us to the supposed campsite. Here we discovered a concrete wash-house/toilet block amongst the trees…… locked….. a couple of standpipes …turned off …. so we decided to wild-camp at the spot since it was right beside the Duna with a little sandy beach and quite attractive.

Wild camping spot just opposite Mohacs.
Wild camping spot just opposite Mohacs.

Having had a sweaty ride we were both looking forward to a nice shower…. and we didn’t fancy a dip in the cold river( it was getting near sunset)… but we set up camp for a night’s rest on our last night in Hungary. Diana had never wild camped before so unfortunately had a fitful night being a little nervous about the location and her vivid imagination.

Nerd’s Corner

Kolocsa to Mohacs: 58 miles

Distance travelled so far: 1794 miles


Apostag to Kolocsa


Our overnight stay was in what appeared to be a holiday let cottage ( courtesy of the website). The owner had kindly left a couple of pizzas ready to be put in the oven when we arrived , which was a nice surprise since being a tiny village the shops had already shut by the time we arrived. Unfortunately they weren’t gluten free so I had a very skimpy supper with the remainder of the food in our panniers.

The day started with a bright sunny morning, and quick trip on our tandem into the village centre soon had our breakfast,  lunch and tea sorted for the day.

The day’s ride today was on a mixture of good quality cycle paths, minor roads and short stretches of main road, which, because it was a Saturday afternoon, were quite quiet.

IMG_20160521_120113In one of the villages we passed through we noticed a stork’s nest on the top of an electricity pole. There were two adults and what looked like 4 fledglings. They had sublet the nest to one or two sparrow families as well who had taken up residence amongst the twiggy construction.

Our route took us into the main paprika growing area for Hungary… we passed field after field of seedlings which already were around 1 foot tall…. must be quite a sight in August when they are ripening. Maize was also planted in anundance, although these seedlings seemed to be only about 6 to 8 inches tall… still, not bad for mid May.

IMG_20160521_151224We are travelling through a very rural area, and we have seen the odd horse and cart and stooks of corn arranged in the traditional fashion.

Being such sunny weather we decided to make use of the tent we have been carrying with us and camp for the night. We managed to find a campsite on our route right beside the river. IMG_20160521_185016

Arriving at around 6pm we were helped by a kindly elderly couple who spoke no English or German , but twigged that we needed to contact the caretaker by phone to check us in. They rung him up on their mobile, and sure enough, a half hour later the caretaker arrived to book us in . 2,000 Florints for the night… the equivalent of just over €6!

Nerd’s Corner

Apostag to Kolocsa: 46 miles

Total distance travelled to date: 1736 miles.



Budapest to Apostag


We left the bustle of the city behind and set off again on the tandem. Although we didn’t see all there is to see in Budapest, we felt ready to be on the road again.

We knew our fellow traveller, Beno ( who is cycling to China) was setting out today as well, but we set off before him.  Having left Budapest we got a little muddled by the signs for Euro Route 6 in a small town further on. Having a mini detour whilst we worked out how to get back on the route, we saw Beno just about to make the same mistake as us. We called out and we cycled together for an hour or so on our route.

We stopped to enjoy a beer and a cold drink in a small village further on whilst Beno ordered food for his lunch we continued on our way.

IMG_20160520_164103Much of the journey today was along quite bumpy roads and tracks alongside fields planted with maize.

We caught occasional glimpses of a side river from the main Duna…. attractive views with what appeared to be weekend cottages dotted along the banks. We passed lots of little fishing platforms on the banks, occasionally with contemplative fisherman with rods waiting for their catch; it must be a popular fishing area.

IMG_20160520_174657Having done some 50 miles we came to a point where the sign for route EV6 went down a grassy path. We decided against this and went round on the main road, but this was quite busy with fast traffic and we were glad to get off it again!


We were able to find a decent surfaced cycle path and quieter roads to reach our stop for the night in a tiny village called Aposteg. Rather appropriately the village has a set of statues which are the 12 disciples on the village green…..

Some of the 12 disciples in Aposteg
Some of the 12 disciples in Aposteg

Nerd’s Corner

Budapest to Aposteg : 62 miles

Total distance travelled so far : 1690 miles

Two Days in Budapest

18/5/16 and 19/5/16

The Magyars who founded Hungary.... on Hősök Tere -Hero's Square
The Magyars who founded Hungary…. on Hősök Tere -Hero’s Square

Budapest is a really interesting city and so we decided to stay three nights with an Airbnb host, allowing us a couple of days to explore.

Making use of walking guides and tourist buses we discovered the successive waves of invasions, wars and migrations that have influenced not only the capital city, but also the Hungarian  nation.IMG_20160518_170539

IMG_20160518_122307The city has a definate European feel to it with a mostly baroque character, with quite a lot of buildings that managed to survive the “liberation” of the city by the Soviet army from the Nazis at the end of World War 2.

Apparently around 60% of the city was flattened in the bombardment, with some parts reaching 80% where the Germany army had set up their stronghold. Some of the buildings have been faithfully  reconstructed leaving a sometimes strange juxtoposition of severe Soviet architecture right next door to some older beautiful buildings.

Interior of Széchenyi Thermal Baths.
Interior of Széchenyi Thermal Baths.

Whilst we were here we also took advantage of the biggest of several thermal baths that have been built in different parts of the city, including a Turkish style bath that shows its origins from the Ottoman invasion. The Széchenyi Baths were built in an art deco style with a number of pools of varying temperatures and naturally occuring chemical compositions.

During our stay we also learnt that Hungary was established by the Magyars, who originally came from Central Asia – who later were then invaded by the Mongols, led by Genghis Khan….. who then were succeeded by the Ottomans from Turkey, then the Austrians, then the Nazis and finally the Soviets.

Our walking tour guide played a few short pieces on his flute to demonstrate some similarities in musical sounds between Hungarian and chinese music... some evidence of the roots of Hungary from Central Asia.
Our walking tour guide played a few short pieces on his flute to demonstrate some similarities in musical sounds between Hungarian and chinese music… some evidence of the roots of Hungary from Central Asia.

The Hungarian language has its roots in China, rather than Roman, Celtic, Scandinavian influences – even though Finnish has some similarities because of movements from Hungary hundreds of years ago. It makes the language quite unique with few recognisable words from other European languages.

Sztentendre to Budapest

Buildings in the town square of Szentendre
Buildings in the town square of Szentendre


Since we had planned a short day’s ride to explore a little we had a bit of a wander around Szentendre, an attractive town with evidence of lots of arts and crafts people.

Just out of the town we discovered there is an open air museum which showed a large collection of houses and buildings dating from 15th to early 20th century which had been collected from different regions of Hungary and rebuilt in natural groupings around the vast site.

IMG_20160517_151221Having left our bags in the office of the pension where we had been staying we peddled the 5km up there – we were pleased to find when we arrived that we could use the tandem to cycle round the extensive outdoor site.

IMG_20160517_112239There was much to see and the few hours we had barely did it justice. It was fascinating to see the varying building styles from across Hungary…..

20160517_112116We also discovered the influences and migrations that have happened over the years, including one of the forced deportation of German speaking peoples after the second world war.

One of the guides we spoke to was from the former Yugoslavia and lamented the breakup of that diverse nation into 5 separate nations within the EU – Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzogovenia and Slovenia.


Another short ride and we were in Budapest. We found our Airbnb accommodation and to our surprise the young German man, Benno, we met a few weeks back in southern Germany, on his way to China, is staying in the same place. Sometimes it is a small world!

Nerd’s Corner

Szentendre to Budapest: 18 miles (!)

Total travelled to date: 1628 miles.

Esztergom to Sztentendre


The day started with a quick trip back to Slovakia, as it was a bank holiday in Hungary and all the shops were shut. Glad the Schengen agreement makes it easy to nip across national borders!

The Basilica at Esztergom from across the Duna.
The Basilica at Esztergom from across the Duna.

Food sorted, and having breakfasted, we visited the Esztergom Bascilica.  It has a very impressive marble interior and is built on a huge scale on the site of previous churches dating back to 1000 AD. The current structure was built in the 19th century and is the centre of the Roman Catholic faith in Hungary. Indeed, Esztergom was the capital of Hungary until the Mongul invasion of 1249 when the Royal Court moved to Buda, which is now part of the modern capital Budapest.

Amongst the various parts of the Basilica we visited there was a Treasury room where we saw beautiful, intricately shaped gold work chalices and mitres and heavily embroidered cerimonial robes.

There was also access to the dome, high above the town with extensive views up and down the river and surrounding countryside.

Looking downriver to our next destinations, Szentendre and Budapest
Looking downriver to our next destinations, Szentendre and Budapest

The ride to Szentendre was mostly on dedicated cycle paths beside the river, which over this stage performs several tight curves between high hills on either side.

IMG_20160516_154251The banks had trees sweeping down to the waters edge and views of the hills beyond were tree clad with red tiled roof tops, like toblerone triangles nestling amongst the trees.

Many buildings we passed were quite run down, but this balcony with all the geraniums caught Diana’s eye.

Our route meant we crossed the river using two ferries, which, unlike their couterparts in Austria ran at set times, so one had to judge arrival times to have enough time to have lunch or not have too long a wait. Fortunately one of the e-books we have been using to show us the way gave accurate timings!

The ferry over to Szob...powered by a tug boat strapped to the ferry platform.
The ferry over to Szob…powered by a tug boat called Bogi strapped to the ferry platform.


Arriving on the south bank after the second ferry ride, we passed people selling local honey, cherries, strawberries and flowers by the roadside, locally grown by smallholders they were ridiculously cheap. A half kilo of fresh cherries for 400 HuF – around €1.30.

A flower seller we passed
A flower seller we passed






We arrived at Szentendre to find our “Panzo” situated right on the Duna….. We had a bit of a wander through cobbled streets and around the attractive town which clearly is the place where lots of artists and craftspeople live.

Szentendre by moonlight.
Szentendre by moonlight.

We discovered there are lots of serbian connections here, as a result of zserbians taking refuge here between the 17th  and 19th centuries escaping from the advancing Turkish invasion. They brought with them parts of their heritage including their cuisine and the Oryhodox churches


Nerd ‘s Corner

Esztergom to Szentendre: 35 miles

Total distance travelled so far: 1610 miles

Komàrno to Ezstergom


A quick search on the internet informed us the was a fort and some hot springs in Komàrno. So before we headed over the Duna for Hungary, we found the baths.

Happily on a Sunday morning they were open and what a treat. An indoor pool of lusciously hot water. Then an covered out door pool with bubble jets and shower jets. In one of our tumbles yesterday Simon bruised his shoulder, so the hot water and massage jets were just right to sooth the ache.

The fort at Komarno, started being built in 1546 following the Ottoman invasion of Hungary, and added to in the 17th century.It is built on the confluence of the Duna and Vàh rivers.
The fort at Komarno, started being built in 1546 following the Ottoman invasion of Hungary, and added to in the 17th century.It is built on the confluence of the Duna and Vàh rivers.

We then peddled round to the fort, but is was not open and unfortunately there was little to see from the outside.

IMG_20160515_105400So it was off to the bridge and over to Hungary, changing some Euros into Florints on the way; thousands of Florints, it is about 400 Florints to the English pound, 300 to the Euro.

Today’s ride was all beside roads, the first part being quite industrial, so it was a bit boring.

Eventually the factories gave way to attractive countryside.

As we approached Esztergom we could see the dome of the basilica rising above the trees. It was refreshing to see a skyline not cluttered with modern buildings and this historic dome dominated the view.

The Basilica at Esztergom, the centre of the Roman Catholic Church in Hungary.
The Basilica at Esztergom, the centre of the Roman Catholic Church in Hungary.

Again we had a shortish ride, so arrived in time to have a look around.

Nerds Corner

Komarno to Esztergom : 36 miles.

Total distance covered : 1575 miles.

The Maria Valera bridge that connects Esztergom to Slovakia