December 03, 2007 GMT
No.4.Hungary. Gateway to Eastern Europe.

Thursday 18th August.

Rain. Bloody rain. 'Central Europe enjoys hot summers and cold winters' or so I'd been led to believe. Well, at least I was seeing the road stretching out East again albeit through a misted up visor.

The border crossed, I pressed on towards Budapest. I'd stay for a day or two. A boat ride up the Danube to the medieval village of Szentendre perhaps, then on to the vine growing regions and the Romanian border. Excellent.

'I think a large plate of Hungarian goulash tonight, accompanied by several glasses of fine red wine. Maybe try a glass of plum brandy or...WHAT??!! The battery light?? Stop the bike on the hard shoulder. Start it again. Nope. Still there - glaring at me through the rain. Shit. Now what? One day from Vienna and the bike's letting me down again... Is this another omen? Call BMW Bristol. Mike will know'.

"Funny. Doesn't usually happen." he reassured me (again) down my mobile phone." Could be the diode board..." The diode board? What's that? Luckily Budapest had a BMW dealer. The last one before Istanbul. Could have been worse. This could have happened in the mountains of Transylvania. Rabid dogs. Mad axemen etc etc.

A garage owner..a taxi driver..and a man at a bus stop directed me to the hallowed ground that is BMW Budapest, who were straight on to the case. Well, nearly. The problem was indeed the diode board - but they had no spares. However, the lovely Heidi at BMW Vienna, who's card I'd kept, did and could get the parts to me - the next day. 'Vorsprung durch Technik', as they say. Raised eyebrow and wry smile.

Friday found me on the boat north to Szentendre. A pretty village steeped in history but my thoughts were with BMW Heidi and her spare parts...

Saturday morning. Yes! Part had arrived. Job done. Hands shaken. Large sums of money handed over and I was on my way through sunlit hills to the vineyards of North East Hungary. 'Perhaps try some 'paprikas esirke' tonight (paprika chicken served with tiny dumplings) followed by a glass of Tokaji Aszu - "The king of wines and the wine of kings"........'

HU.Cartoon- 4a.jpg
click here to see the full story

Who said that? Find out the answer and more fascinating facts by clicking MORE, below. How am I doing, dear reader? Like the cartoons? Rubbish? Email me at

Louis XIV of France........

'Tokaji Asnu is a very sweet golden-white wine of an almost liqeur consistency'. Available at all large branches of Sainsbury's. So there you are.

Looking through my Journal the failure of the diode board on the autobahn to Budapest had worried me. " Am I destined to do this trip without my bike?" I'd written. " Had first thoughts to say it would be OK to do it without". Next line shouted in capitals - " NO WAY!!" But I knew I wouldn't go back after 10 days if the bike packed up.

The campsite at Tisza was my first. Setting up was laborious but somehow was an important milestone on my journey east. Despite having cooking equipment with me the campsite bar lured me.... It was my duty, I felt, wherever possible to sample the local cuisine. So, with journal - and guide book - in hand, I made my way to the lights- and delights- of the restaurant. A good choice.


I was surprised to find that I was only 100 kms from the Ukranian border next morning, but my route lay south east - to Romania. It was with some apprehension that I rolled to a halt at the border.

Posted by Simon Roberts at 10:23 PM GMT
December 18, 2007 GMT
The Road East...

"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas with every Christmas card I write... hum...hum..."

Well, dear readers, it's that time of year so here's a card wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, prosperous - and accident free - New Year!

Right, back to Transylvania...the next page - coming soon.

click here to see the full picture

PS. If you'd like to be on the mailing list, drop me a line at

Posted by Simon Roberts at 11:16 AM GMT

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events


Latvia to Australia, an inspirational 5 month journey full of unexpected adventures!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

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

contest pic

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!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

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, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

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.

Susan and Grant Johnson 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.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

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 ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

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!