Monthly Archives: July 2014

HUNGARY IS A BICYCLISTS PARADISE, PART I

It’s summer vacation time and Natasa has 2 weeks off. I suggest biking in Hungary?, she says OK.  Weeks of planning and Budapest and Lake Balaton here we come. Natasa’s daughter Sara her friend Tina, Natasa and me, that’s 3 girls and me, I’ll survive, I must.

READY, STEADY, GO (Billy Idol)

READY, STEADY, GO (Billy Idol)

I DROVE (the whole trip) YET I WAS STILL ABLE TO TAKE THIS PHOTO OF THIS COOL OVERPASS

Budapest has been putting bike lanes “everywhere”, they currently have 200 km of bike lanes. They say Budapest is 13th Most Bike Friendly City in the World, let’s find out.

I read about Ecseri, Europe’s largest antique flea market that’s in Budapest, a must visit. After spending time In Kadikoy, Istanbul’s open market, they are  great for a local cultural experience. We ride our bikes, mostly on bike lanes, for an hour and end up way out of town. No market anywhere? I spent nearly the whole day looking for this market, nothing. I was told it closed 6 months ago, then the tourist office gave me the same directions to it WTF! I was obsessed at finding it, I split from the group to go looking for it, nothing. I’m already coming back to Budapest.  IMG_0252THIS IS THE MAP TO THE MARKET, WHERE WE RODE TO AND THEN THE ADDRESS THAT THE TOURIST OFFICE GAVE ME. IT HAD US GOING AROUND THE BLOCK, THE WHOLE THING IS A MYSTERY. The next day we rode a huge circle around Budapest, hitting all the tourist attractions. ST. STEPHENS CHURCH, was first on the list. IMG_0258I THOUGHT THE OUTSIDE STONE AND MARBLE WORK WERE THE NICEST PART OF THE CHURCH

The PARLIMENT BUILDING, was the most prominent building along the river. IMG_0262                                                       GUARDED BY ONE GUY?

I read everywhere that I had to ride around MARGARET ISLAND,it was just OK. A nice ride but not worth a picture, not one. I saw a post card with a picture of the  FISHERMEN’S BASTION,  it looked like a must visit, at the top of the Buda side of town, in the CASTLE DISTRICT. IMG_0273[1]                      THIS IS THE MATTHIAS CHURCH, (check out the roof). I took some photos for some tourist then I asked them to take our photo. IMG_0266[1]                                                   OUR FIRST GROUP PHOTO 

We had an apartment with a full kitchen, so we headed to the FARMERS MARKET. I read a Paris-Budapest comparison, they said the food was cheap in Budapest, and they’re right. It’s hardly worth cooking. Hungarians spend 1/3 of their income on food, Americans?      6-10%.  Americans spend the least portion of their money on food compared to the rest of the world, yet 1 in 7 people get food aid. 

IMG_0256INTERESTING PIZZA TOPPINGS, HEATED IN THAT CLAY OVEN (hehind Natasa) The Danube River separated Buda from Pest, that’s where the name Budapest came from, the combing of the two parts of town. There are 14 BRIDGES IN BUDAPEST IMG_0240                                               THIS IS AT ONE END OF THE CHAIN BRIDGE

The CHAIN BRIDGE was the first bridge across the Danube River.   IMG_0294[1]               IT’S AN INTERESTING DESIGN, IT LOOKS LIKE A GIANT BICYCLE CHAIN.

Natasa likes to walk, so a walking we will go, to see what we’ll see?  America has several  major sports, football, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey and minor leagues of all these sports too.  So when I saw this sign, I was reminded that there are other things going on in the world besides America. IMG_0282[1]       SHOWING ALL MY FAVORITE SPORTS? I RECOGNIZE GOLF & TENNIS, THAT’S IT.

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My feet were hurting me, so we opted for a bicycle taxi tour.  I had tried to find the Art Nouveau apartment blocks earlier on our tour bike, but no.  He took us there and more. IMG_0286[1]

U.S. EMBASSY ENTRANCE IMG_0290[1]                                                 PHOTO WITH RONALD REAGAN,

We had 3 days in Budapest, not enough, but enough to know we’re coming back.  It’s only a   4 1/2 hour drive from Skofja Loka.  We biked and ate and ate and biked.  Time to head to Lake Balaton and do some real bike touring (with gear). Natasa has just 2 weeks off and sometimes it’s hard to get into vacation mode.IMG_0309[1]                                 BUT I’M DOING MY BEST TO HELP, LAKESIDE (pretty easy)

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THEY WELCOMED AMERICANS, BUT I JUST HAPPEN TO BE THE ONLY ONE, SO FAR, THIS YEAR

We’ve got 10 days to tour around Lake Balaton, by bicycle.  We added some side trips, away from the lake.  The area is famous for wine and hot springs, good combo!  Hungary has over 400 hot springs and the largest one in Europe, which we plan to visit at the end of our trip.

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IT LOOKS LIKE IT MIGHT RAIN, BUT IT’S NOT REALLY COLD (NATASA?)

I’m wearing my Portland Bike Jersey, within the first 10 minutes of the trip, we meet a couple from Portland.  They are riding with their folks,, who were from Seattle.  I’m so excited when I see another touring cyclist, I try to high 5 him.  He just looks at me, like what am I trying to do?  The more we ride, I get it now,  you would be high 5-ing all day.  There were families, boy scout type groups, young gen x,y & z, and older, everyone was  touring, it was so cool.  We finally camped with some bike touring people on the 6th day.  I couldn’t figure where they were all camping?  When I bike toured the Mediterranean, there were so few cycling tourist that you rode and camped when met someone. Carolyn, Tyler, Vincent we all had great times.

WERE IN WINE COUNTRY

WERE IN WINE COUNTRY

THE STONE HOUSES WERE AWESOME.

THE STONE HOUSES WERE AWESOME.

EVERYONE HAD A FENCE YARD, SOME WERE PRETTY AWESOME

EVERYONE HAD A FENCED YARD, SOME WERE PRETTY AWESOME

Check out these houses with a traditional  “GREEN”roof.

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LOOKS LIKE A WIG OR SOMETHING? A STAR WARS HELMET?

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THEIR PUTTING ON A NEW “GREEN” ROOF.

THEY DON'T LAST FOREVER!

THEY DON’T LAST FOREVER!

We avoided the BIG campgrounds, instead opted for Grandmas renting out their yards.  We got ALL our laundry done for $2.  Camping cost about 5 or 6 Euro per person.

CAMPING NEXT TO THE ZOO IN VESZPREM

CAMPING NEXT TO THE ZOO IN VESZPREM, with POOL.

Sara and Tina wanted to go to the Zoo so we went out for lunch and bike toured around VESZPREM 

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THE PORTIONS ARE HUGE HERE, WE USED THE LEFTOVERS FOR DINNER FOR EVERYONE, 6 MEALS FROM 2.  HUNGARY RANKS #8 ON THE WORLD OVERWEIGHT SCALE. (I know why.)

I LIKE PICTURES OF SIGNS AND BEAUTIFUL WOMEN.

I LIKE PICTURES OF SIGNS AND BEAUTIFUL WOMEN.

OUR FIRST "SELFIE" PHOTO, TAKEN AT A CHURCH GARDEN IN VESZPREM

OUR FIRST “SELFIE” PHOTO, TAKEN AT A CHURCH GARDEN IN VESZPREM.

LEAVING VESZPREM

LEAVING VESZPREM

Not before making a stop at the local art gallery to check out the “BIKE” art. (more art photos)IMG_0445[3]

 

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I heard that 20% of working adults in Hungary wanted to leave in the next year to find work. Hence the painting.

I thought I could make this one post, no way.  It’s going to be 2 parts.

Thanks for  reading, Jeff

MORE HUNGARY PHOTOS HERE

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"EVERY PEDAL STRIKES A BLOW FOR FREEDOM"

“EVERY PEDAL STRIKES A BLOW FOR FREEDOM”