5 to 11 May 08
Our arm wrestle over a Russian visa dragged on into another week and consumed more of our days. By Wednesday our plan had solidified and our passports were dispatched back to Canberra with a courier company. This was no cause for celebration, however, as we are still not entirely sure that the Russian Embassy in Australia will give us the visa.
With 10 days before our passports return, we finally escaped from tourist central in Budapest and rode south to find lodgings in the provincial city of Pécs (pronounced Paytch).
A rock band was organised to celebrate our arrival in Pécs (there didn’t seem to another good reason) doing covers of 70s metal standards.
This beautiful and sleepy university town is 200 km south west of Budapest and is a good base for exploration of the wine growing district of Villány and the Drava Duna National Park. We found a cheap panzio (pension) and settled in for a couple of days.
The city was very pretty, but like the other provincial towns we have visited it is very quiet. We visited one of a dozen small museums in the town.
We found a beautiful, clean and well presented city that seemed very liveable.
The historic centre of Pecs has been well preserved.
This one dedicated to the work of Csontváry a modern realist painter and contemporary of Picasso. On the same street we found two sections of iron fencing on which people had attached thousands of padlocks.
Thousand of padlocks record the commitment of Pecs’ lovers
Many padlocks have names engraved or written on them.
We didn’t find out how this custom started, but the locks were put there by couples who use them as a symbol of the strength of their relationship. Many of the locks had been engraved with the names of the couple. Others had the names written in felt pen.
Jo found this ferocious guard dog in the old town. What every dog needs, a stuffed toy pillow.
This week we have finally started to come to grips with Hungarian food and drink. Our main conclusion is that a vegetarian would starve to death in this country. Meals include huge slabs of meat with little by way of vegetables except the ubiquitous fried potatoes and sour kraut. Jo, always one for the vegetarian option, ordered a vegetarian pizza one night. It was the first pizza made with tinned corn and peas that we have had. It will also be the last!
As we have travelled north we have left the salads and olives of the Mediterranean behind and moved into root vegetable country. Never mind, the slow cooked pork hocks are fantastic.
We haven’t found the great Hungarian red yet either, but we have discovered Hungarian Tokay which is a great treat. We also give Hungarian beer high marks, so much so that we signed up for a tour of the local Pécsi Sörfözde brewery.
Jo checking the brew on our brewery tour.
Pipes! Everywhere pipes!
Our guide, Norá, showed us around this small but modern brewery and was also able to answer some of our more general questions about the city and its people. We finished the tour with a glass of the local product and a pleasant stroll back across the city in the lengthening twilight.
Our guide Norá points out yeast in a sight glass in the chilled fermentation room.
The best part of any brewery tour.
The Elephant got a new set of front brake pads in Pécs that Mike Green had brought over from the UK. The others still had some miles left, but these will get us all the way home and we didn’t want to carry the extra weight of a spare set.
Our meander around the Hungarian south led us to the town of Siöfok on the southern shore of Lake Balaton. The towns around this large lake are the seaside resorts you have in a landlocked country; all the fun of the Gold Coast with none of that pesky surf and no sand in your pants. Unfortunately we arrived on the Sunday of a long weekend and the place was crowded with holiday makers soaking up the spring sun.
A day at the beach when you don’t have a beach. Enjoying the sun on the lake at Siöfok.
As in many other countries, some of the Hungarian waterfront has been alienated from the non-paying masses.
The previous week had included a four day weekend for May Day which had caused us some accommodation problems. You will understand, therefore, how surprised we were to be caught out two weeks in a row. It took us an hour of shuffling around to find a bed but we ended the week in adequate digs with a bottle of local merlot and a box of treats from a Hungarian cake shop. All we need now is half a kilo of good olives and life will be perfect.
Stopping for a brew in the countryside.
Next HU Events
- Germany: May 29-June 1
- Greece: June 5-8
- Bulgaria Mini: June 13-14
- HUBB UK: June 19-22
- Montenegro: June 26-29
- NEW! Canada Maritimes: July 4-6
- USA Colorado: July 11-13
- Ireland: July 18-20
- Canada West: Aug 21-24
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- France Mini: Sep 5-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
Buy the Achievable Dream Collectors Set and get Road Heroes Part 1 FREE!
Cooped up indoors in crap weather? Binge watch over 20 hours of inspiring, informative and entertaining stories and tips from 150 travellers! Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to order them both and use Coupon Code 'BoxSet+' on your order when you checkout.
What others say about HU...
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders
10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
New to Horizons Unlimited?
New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!
Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.Read more about Grant & Susan's story
Membership - help keep us going!
Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.
Books & DVDs
All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!