Entering a previously unknown country is sometimes an exciting thing. Since the beginning of 2020, it has once again been possible to “enjoy” this thrill within the EU and the Schengen area. For a long time, border crossings usually went unnoticed, but now entry forms, passports and confirmations of all kinds are once again welcome.
At least that is the information on the website of the German Foreign Office regarding entry into the next country in mind – Croatia. Whether one has to expose oneself to this if one has the choice? Not necessarily! And so our itinerary is unceremoniously rerouted from the south to the east. Because entering Hungary should be possible “unnoticed” as usual!
So we approach the border between Slovenia and Hungary via country roads. We had not bought a vignette for the time in Slovenia, because with our style of travel we were usually travelling just as fast off the toll roads as we would have been on them.
Still enjoying the sunset on the Slovenian side, we approach the border to Hungary at dusk. What is in store for us? After all, one usually hears negative things about Hungary and its government. A first sign suddenly points out the border in 150 metres. Once there, we find ourselves in front of a forest where open barriers and signs with the Hungarian flag welcome us to our new destination!
Who would have thought two years ago that something so self-evident could be so exciting 😉 In any case, we are happy about our decision to have chosen the “path of least resistance”.
Sooner or later we will certainly be able to report on the actual “thrill of crossing the border”. 🙂
New currency, new language, no mask requirement and friendly greeting people. The first days in Hungary start relaxed with temperatures of over 30 degrees near lakes and forests. Some of these are in the Örség National Park.
Speaking of lakes, of course we can’t completely escape the “pull” of Lake Balaton. We are deliberately not drawn to the shore of the lake, but to the Balaton Uplands National Park on the northern shore.
There we learn more about the area, which has received its appearance and formations through volcanic activity in prehistoric times.
Click on the following gallery for a few impressions:
We drive straight on to the capital Budapest and, as if we had unconsciously guessed it, happen to arrive there for the National Day.
The city with its impressive buildings is already a stunner, but after 1.5 years without any public event, the hustle and bustle that prevails there this weekend is almost beyond belief. The whole city is on its feet and we are happy about the informality that reigns on the streets, sniffing into this new freedom without a mask.
The final event of the day is a firework display along the Danube, which artistically and sometimes breathtakingly depicts the history of Hungary over a period of half an hour.
Thanks to the inconspicuous appearance of our motorhome, we spend 4 nights near the city centre and explore the city by bike and after the second “flat tyre” by public transport 😉
Click on the gallery for more pictures:
After the hustle and bustle of the big city, it can be a bit quieter and greener, so we head south towards the “Great Hungarian Plain”.
On the way there, we spend the night at a branch of the Danube. The captain of a cargo ship anchored there speaks to us in German, asking if we would like to “come up”. So we spontaneously get a personal tour of the entire ship. This ship was built in 1942 and is one of the last active ships of the former 1,000 that were in service throughout Europe.
Not only is the site close to the Danube, but a large supermarket chain also has a branch around the corner. As we arrive there in the dark, we take advantage of this to have a look around “in their delivery zone”. There are usually containers for the disposal of food.
Nowadays, most supermarkets put all the food there, which used to be given away the next day at half price or to food banks. Here, too, we find what we are looking for and save 2 loaves of bread, 3 bread rolls and 17 bakery rolls in one fell swoop. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these foodstuffs and they are still more than edible after a few days when toasted in the pan. After several experiences in this direction, we are absolutely no longer surprised why twelve million tonnes of food end up in the waste along the supply chain every year in Germany alone. One doesn’t even want to imagine what the figure would be across Europe.
In Hungary, we again travelled off the toll roads. Up to Budapest we travelled very pleasantly through the country. However, all the roads in a southerly direction give us quite a shake due to the many uneven repairs to the road surface.
So we bump along to our next destination – the Kiskunság National Park. Situated between the rivers Danube and Tisza, it does not cover a continuous area as usual, but a mosaic of nine individual protected areas. For a whole week, we shimmy our way through the diverse landscape and immerse ourselves in this national park, which has existed since 1975, by following various nature trails.
We marvel at the sand dune landscapes, swamps and bogs, floodplain forests and alkaline lakes in peace and quiet and usually have the paths all to ourselves.
Things get a bit wilder and louder at the “Bugacpuszta”, during the daily horse show. This “Einödhof” (puszta = barren plain with little vegetation) is located on the edge of one of the protected areas of the national park and shows in an exciting and informative way the former life of the shepherds and their skills in dealing with horses.
The national park extends to the “border triangle” of Hungary-Serbia-Romania. After Budapest, we had deliberately taken the southern direction, as entry into Romania is also supposed to be relatively problem-free for today.
Therefore, our last stop in Hungary is the city of Szeged. We gain a very positive impression and are lastingly impressed by the great historical buildings. You can see more by clicking on the gallery:
We continue overland towards the next border, not without passing a roadside stand selling langos by chance. We stop, after all we haven’t really had a chance to taste this speciality of Hungarian cuisine. Fried “cakes” made of yeast dough, one with sour cream, cheese and garlic sauce and one with cheese and fried onions, please! 🙂
Well fortified with great memories, we left the surprisingly beautiful Hungary and would love to come back again. Romania, we’ll be there soon!
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Chris & Sophia