30th March- Balatonbereny- Budapest (20km bike, 160km train)
Supposed to be my day off the bike today but there’s absolutely nothing to do around here, so I had leisurely cycle along the lake, avoiding a tonne of squashed frogs in the road, then caught the train to Budapest to have more time for sightseeing.
I’ve decided to stop punishing myself for not getting the odd bus/train here and there. This trip was never meant to be an endurance challenge, but a solo journey doing it the way I wanted to and seeing the things I wanted to along the way, so if I don’t want to cycle a part of it I won’t. Ok?! This is more to myself than anyone else by the way.
Didn’t realise you had to buy a bloody ticket for my bike did I and just got a fine on the train. The train man was a right arsehole and spoke no English so I called him a few names and asked him how he slept at night (without him understanding a word), which made me feel a bit better about the fine. Small victories.
Most people when they get out of the city and into the countryside breath it in and exhale deep breaths. I arrived in Budapest and did just that. Ahhhhh a city, a capital city- how great it feels to have noise, people everywhere, surplus choice for food, bars, shops- it seems I missed the city more than anticipated. What an amazing city Budapest is too. I’ve been before, nearly 10 years ago for Sziget festival, but Jean and I explored the city after the festival so I’m not sure how much of it I actually took in or remember.
I’d booked into a hostel for two nights called Paprika Hostel and what a warm welcome I received. They let me keep Baby (new name for my bike) in my room next to my bed, gave me some tea on arrival and a very comprehensive summary on the area. An old guy from ‘Dracula land’ (as he put it) checked in at the same time as me and talked my ears off about Hungarian politics. His mum had baked lots of treats which he kindly offered to me, so I could handle a bit of politics chatter- I warned him if he left the tray that I’d finish them and I almost did.
My days off the bike I can’t seem to stop eating, so much for losing weight on this trip, so when I managed to get away from Dracula man I went in search of more food and to explore the city. I passed parliament, a stunning building that is very strong competition to Westminster, the opera house and then went to check out Margaret island in the north of the city. The island is a runners paradise, they’ve actually got a lane dedicated to runners, but in general it’s a pretty cool place, with mini pedal cars you can rent, a mini zoo, museums, gym and loads of other bits n bobs.
After a few hours walking around it was time for food again. I headed to a place across the road from the hostel the guys told me about. €5 ALL YOU CAN EAT. YES. I stayed there long enough until my belly started hurting, then headed back to the hostel to have a few drinks, relax and watch a film with some of the others- actually socialise 🙂