Now I’m not normally a big city type of guy, having been brought up in rural seaside sunny Devon, and then spent the last 10 years living in the shadow of Dartmoor, where a traffic jam normally consists of a tractor going a little slow, so with that in mind I tend to prefer the small town, high up in the mountains or sat alongside the crashing waves in the sea, but Budapest has left a lasting impression on me, a place so vibrant and a different experience around every corner, that a Return trip will be a must!
Leaving behind Budapest, the road was calling, but the traffic had other ideas ! Crawling along at a snails pace, gave me, for once the chance to see my surroundings as I drive, from the Rattling old yellow trams running in the central reservation to massive adverts for the Hungarian F1 Grand Prix ( at the end of month- dam) to the array of cheap supermarkets every few KM along our route. Once we had finally made it out of the multi lane network, past the remains of communist tower blocks we hit the perfect tarmac motorway and onwards towards our next destination.
Firstly we needed to replenish the fridge, another trip into the dreaded Tesco. All too soon we’d bought everything we needed as well as a selection of baked things for lunch( extra yummy).
At the checkout we were again impressed how cheap it was, mainly because we’ve bought local stuff, we are yet to see how the local baked beans stack up to Michele’s I only eat Branstons but they were a fraction of the price and available !
On the map we had marked a place Eger and just written castle next to it, a quick bit of googling, we have pictured in our heads a historic castle, with a few odds and ends around.
How wrong could we be, yes medieval castle, plus buzzing cafe culture town and to top it off lots of historic monuments.
More by luck than judgement we ended up on Tulips Camping, a beautifully landscaped site, with a hedged pitch, so no close neighbors this time. We picked up a town map in the sites reception and headed off, with no more than a vague plan to visit the castle…
To reach the castle we climbed the cobbled street to the edge of the town, entering the now museum that the castle has become. It wasn’t your English expensive tourist attraction, with tickets for the both of us coming in at 3200 Huf or about £9 ( come on national trust keep up).
The many exhibitions tell of the history of the castle and how it became to be thought of as satigicly important in the past. Historically, it is known for repelling the Turkish attack in 1552 during the Siege of Eger, where the 2000 inhabitants of Eger, fought off, with help from sub zero temperatures over 10000 Turks, changing the course of history.
The views over the town are something else.
The legendary Hungarian writer Géza Gárdonyi wrote his novel titled ‘Eclipse of the Crescent Moon’ (‘Egri csillagok’), with inspiration coming from the castle, on his death, he was laid in state in the town and now he is now buried in the castle grounds.
From here we walk the short distance to Dobo square, reconstructed sometime in 2014, the restoration work on the building has left them in a perfect photogenic state, the fountain added that relaxing sound of running water, what a perfectly built square, with a European style cafe culture, perfect for people watching.
The rest of this charming town delights in the same way, stopping for lunch in one of the many restaurants, we were faced with the choice, follow the locals and eat the two course set menu at 850 Huf ( about £2.50) or go wild, try and translate the menu, we opted, of course the hard route, in the end going for what translated as let us surprise you……
A perfect surprise,with more than enough for us both coming at at 3000 Huf….
Lastly we stopped off at the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Apostle, another rather epic church, as you enter up the grand steps, past the huge columns, your eyes are instantly drawn toward the huge fresco paintings. I always thought people were slightly strange for visiting church’s on holiday and the like, but this trip has opened my eyes to how beautiful and ornate theses building are.
On the way back towards the campsite, we stopped off in a local artists bar, with its rather fancy painted walls outside and it eclectic decor inside….
Sometimes this adventure isn’t about the places we see, the different cultures, sometimes it’s the other people we meet, last night whilst I was telling Michele how the campsite was brilliant for having continuous running water for the shower, ( its amazing how endless hot water without either me having to fetch it and then empty the waste or a campsite having some annoying button system is a luxury) a voice says “it that an English accent ?”
This is how we meet …..
A New Zealand couple, Trish and Wayne who took a much bigger leap of faith than we did, buying their motorhome only by pictures on the internet, catching flights over and then having to kit out the van from scratch before embarking on a Europe wide trip.
What I did learn is how lucky we are in being able to travel so freely around the EU, as they can only do 90 days in every 120 in schindgen counties, so they have been on countdown ever since they got off the ferry in Dunkirk.
Trish is working remotely whilst they travel and thanks to the time difference means that she puts a few hours last thing at night or first thing in the Morning.
Umm maybe that the sort of job I need ?
Check out their blog here Kiwi Travellers 2017
Also joining us for a glass was Richard, (This travel blog here)a very early retiree who is currently tripping around Europe in his motorhome, having taken the opportunity to leave a long term job in IT, he is now traveling alone (very brave), until his girlfriend flies out to meet him in August, at which point he hopes be in a Oslo and heading due north….