This is part of the fifth section of our around the
Complete Trip Overview & Map
Coming from Slovakia
20/7/99 An easy border, ten minutes, although I don't think they have seen many Australians on H-D's, most of the time was spent looking at the motorcycle. Immediately over the border is an enormous cave system we visited. 25 km long and traversing the Slovakia/Hungary border with underground security bars preventing cross border movement. The formations taking on an unusual appeal due to the soot from early cave dwellers and explorers and the different shades of reds/browns from impurities in the limestone as well as the more normal white. Camped at Szilvasvarad.
21/7/99 After viewing the original Lipizzaner stud farm in Lipica, Slovenia, watching them perform, albeit in practice session in Vienna, and now to get a two hour ride on them in the Hungarian forest was great. Probably not the pure-bred variety, still an eventful experience. With capitalism making its way into this area more strongly, and the rest of the world its great to see one socialist value still strong and growing, the use of land for the masses, the sharing of the best lands in the country, the National Parks. In the afternoon we caught a delightful narrow gauge train into a limestone national park, again into the deciduous forest with caves and small streams and springs. Walked the 5 km back to stretch the horse weary legs.
22/7/99 A short stop in Budapest to get email before heading to the tourist, local and international capital of Hungary, Lake Balaton. This worst and best of tourism, made up of 50/50 local and other (German, Netherlands, Austrian etc.) pack the only large waterway in Hungary, being a landlocked country. The usual overpriced under valued, high demand, peak season touristic place. A saving grace the fresh fruit we have been enjoying, ripening as summer approached through Eastern Europe brought us peaches here. The tasty juicy tree ripened variety that old people miss in Australia and reminisce were there in their youth. Perhaps their taste buds have just aged with their eye sight and hearing, or perhaps our peaches are picked green and are bred to transport and now have no flavour.
23/7/99 Of all the houses and people we have seen in cities and rural areas in 70 countries in two and a half years of travel we wouldn't have seen one percent of the worlds population. It is frightening the magnitude of the success of the human race over other animals on this planet, living in ever increasing density in cities, all with the same worries, fears, hopes etc. for themselves and families. All hoping for something better in the future. Those with success seem to be in the waters of Gyogy-to, Europe's largest thermal lake and covering five hectares. Staying warm all year at 26-33 degrees and changing its volume every two days by underground springs. People soak themselves en masse, floating amongst the water lilies. Back to Budapest for the night.
24/7/99 The Danube Bend, just north of Budapest is a scenic section of the river as it passes between two hilly and lovely towns. We traversed a loop up the river and back over the hill. English is the base language, after Hungarian, for the young with the majority of teenagers speaking some. Although only 10% of the worlds population speak english it is the common conversant. With 6000 languages world-wide, (2000 already lost) and three thousand endangered, and with language the main base of ethnicity, splitting up many large countries, will we ever have a common language? or will the world keep breaking up into smaller countries along the 3000 stronger language lines?
25/7/99 Budapest, made up of two cities either side of the Danube, Buda on the hill with the palace and the Pest's on the flats. The elderly suffering most again from the USSR demise with many hanging around the train stations amongst the graffiti covered walls. It's so unfair what life has dished out to this generation, Depression (1930's), WW11, Stalin's purges, promises of lifetime and good pensions all removed just as they reach retirement having had no possibility of saving for retirement themselves.
26/7/99 Ewan arrived last night. We first met while he was riding his Indian Enfield motorcycle back across Pakistan, again met in Turkey and bumped into each other in London. Now, on the same Enfield he has ridden 2000 km from the UK to study in Hungary. I always like riding with Enfields, after two months with a friend in India they offer no threat to the H-D in either speed or reliability. And after a 2000 km trouble free ride from the UK today we spent two hours doing roadside repairs just 80 km outside Budapest. Seems the generator wasn't keeping up with the headlight power drain and flattened the battery. After a quick charge/jump start from a helpful observer with a length of electrical cord/flex attached to his car battery we were riding the hills of North Eastern Hungary before settling into Tokaj (Tokay). The town where that lovely drop of wine originated. And the compulsory tasting ensued over dinner. The six month exchange (university) student program probably originating to encourage broader learning but readily adopted by students as an excuse to travel to visit other countries, a great way to make the younger generation, aware first hand, of other cultures, reduce misconceptions and allow for a more tolerant generation than the present.
27/7/99 Off to the Ukraine border with Ewan and his Enfield.
Having been advised that the petrol situation was a bit grim we changed the
engine oil roadside and used the empty container as a spare petrol can. This
also gave us the opportunity to use the first 25th wedding anniversary present,
one oil filter. Ewan recorded the event on film and cassette, which he always
carries for his 84 year old almost blind friend, who enjoys his travels via
Ewan's tapes. A farewell at the border with promises to meet in Romania for
the eclipse (maybe).
Move with us to Ukraine
Story and photos copyright ©
Peter and Kay Forwood,