Hello Hungary.....

Friday 5th April 2013

Slovenia was only ever going to be a transit route through to Hungary but we felt we should at least visit some of it’s treasures. It has a tiny coastline of 29 miles squeezed in between Italy and Croatia – so diverting off track a bit we drove to Piran, a picturesque and colourful harbour town. We had hoped to pick up some useful leaflets and maps from the Tourist Information office to help our with our sightseeing through their country but they weren’t particularly helpful and all we came away with was a single brochure entitled ‘Embrace Piran’ – well we tried to! 

With our 15 vignette (valid for 1 week) stuck to the windscreen we hit the motorway and before we knew it we were the other side of the country (it's about the size of Wales) and ended up spending the night hemmed in between trucks in a motorway service area, having failed to find anywhere suitable to stay in towns en-route. It was terribly noisy but on the positive side it had a great cafĂ©, free internet and Dave enjoyed a hot shower for €2.

The next day we stopped briefly in pretty Ptuj and a more helpful Tourist Information office provided all the maps and country brochures we needed – shame we were only 45 miles from the border with Hungary! Talking about borders I can’t get over the way you just drive in and out of countries now – no-one checks passports or vehicles. The barriers are up, the buildings are deserted. I can still remember the feeling of dread when we used to drive up to border posts with all kinds of boat parts secreted away in the Rover and how we ‘left’ cigarettes and women's magazines out on the back parcel shelf to speed our journey through with the officials.

Hungary looks like it’s going to be interesting. The language is unlike anything we have come across before. We are talking big money in the currency – I have 3 x 10,000 Forint notes in my wallet and food, diesel and museum entry fees seem to cheap, if I have worked out the exchange rates correctly. It seems mainly geared up for the German and Austrian market – their English translations are quite amusing....

Our first night we spent in Keszthely on the shore of Lake Balaton. It has a range of museums – none of which we visited but could go back I suppose, they include a..…
Doll Museum

Snail Shell Museum

Historical Panoptikum

Happy Toy Museum

Torture Museum

Nostalgia Collection and Kitch Museum

Erotic Museum (described as Erotic waxworks show from medieval times!!)

Keszthely - Lake Balaton

A short distance from Keszthely is Heviz where we are at the moment. The glossy brochure promotes the health giving properties of the thermal lake and describes it as ‘the biggest biologically active, natural medicinal water in the world’. Looking at the price list we’re not sure yet whether we can afford to dip our smelly feet into the water to benefit from the ‘Wellness’ (in the brochure) from the 754 Kations and Anions (all listed in the brochure!) that Balneotherapy (in the brochure) provides. 

Aerial view of the Spa on Lake Heviz - front page of their glossy brochure!

 My photo taken today - gloomy weather, steamy water (about 24 degrees)
The modern town itself is tidy and prosperous with businesses set up to complement the tourism the thermal pools bring in including large hotels, B&B's, clean restaurants and bars, massage parlours (not all offer the services in the poster above I'm sure!) and shops selling swimsuits and colourful Noodle floats. 
Modern church of Heviz
Lake Balaton is the largest lake in Central Europe and we hope to spend quite a bit of time here on its quieter northern shore before heading off to Budapest.

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