I have to admit to feeling very tired when I wake up. I didn’t drink enough last night to have any side effects of the booze but I certainly didn’t get enough sleep. But it’s okay because we’re having a short day today with lots of sight seeing and only 30km (20 mile) of cycling.
Our first stop is Keszthely Palace. This grand building reminds me of a French Chateaux. Inside it is laid out as though the owners were still living here. Portraits adorn the walls and a guide inside the palace tells us the story of the people who lived here because the Englishman and Scott show interest. I am glad they do because the story gives colour to the buildings and because I am again too lazy to read the signs. My favourite room by far is the library. It is amazing. I want one just like it (I might be too lazy to read signs but I wouldn’t be so lazy as not to read books in a library like this).
We ride a few kilometers and stop for refreshments. I taste the elderberry lemonade and it is delicious. The Scientist produces some nourishment in the form of aptly named chocolate wafer bars. I recommend these too.
Continuing on the Lake Balaton cycle route we make our way to Szigliget Castle. We see it from kilometers away on top of one of the volcanic plugs that lines this north-western part of the lake. I love castle so enjoy the wander. The Scientist fills me in on some of the stories of Hungary’s past, which brings the place to life a lot more. The views from the top are amazing and I can look in each direction and know I have cycled there (Szigliget is near Badacsony where I came to the lake two days ago).
Szigliget village is also worth a stop. There are thatched roof houses and long stone walls. I don’t know what more a person could want for riding. We stop for lunch and the conditions get the better of me. The food is warm and delicious. After I finish the warm sun, the warm belly, the hum of happy voices and the late night get the better of me and I nod off. You can always trust new friends to take an embarrassing photo to prove it too. And I’m the kind of clown who shares said photo. Snooze over we continue our ride through the vineyards. I think the photos speak for themselves.
The Hungarian knows all the good places to stop for beverages and takes us to a local cellar where they sell wine and also wine mixed with tonic water. I decline but the carved barrels look amazing.
We reach our destination: Badacsony. Here we locate the passenger ferry that I should have take the other day. I will take it today to cross back to the southern side of the lake while the boys continue on their Epic Adventure in Hungary. There is just enough time for a swim before I have to rush off to catch the boat. It’s been a brilliant few days. Even the debacle that occurs with finding a camping cannot drown out my contentment so I check into a hotel that costs more than I want to pay but includes dinner and breakfast. Essentially, I arrived at the camping ground at Fonyod to discover that the man there refused to tell me the price for the night, refused to allow me to depart before 8am in the morning even though I try to leave at 6am, and demanded that I leave my passport with him. Well, if that’s not a whole heap of warning bells then I don’t know what. He was so rude and dodgy that I called him “an a**ehole” (it’s funny how this word is internationally understood even by those who do not speak any other English), took my passport back, jumped on my bike and rode off. I am sure he was not the actual campground guy and that he was just a thief preying on early season tourists who didn’t speak Hungarian. The fact that he wouldn’t tell me a price indicates that he was going to try to extort me for my passport the next day. He had that look on his face that said “I’ve got you sucker” but the smart customer always has the last laugh because he didn’t get a single florint from me. And I got to stay in a relatively comfortable hotel, eat a hearty (if low quality) meal and take my time in a private shower. Why spoil a good day with a bad mood hey.