1587-1588: Eager for Eger

1587:  Cracking Day in Eger

Thursday 9tJuly 2020

The campsite staff were outstanding … gave us so much useful information on what to see and the practicalities … and in impeccable English.  After the previous evening’s festivities we were a little slow getting going!  A walk into town and we promptly dived in for a coffee.  Danny and I minded CO2 and had another coffee (close call for a Back McFlurry!) whilst the two J, R, P and G fans headed into the Beetles museum.  Lunch.  Minaret to be climbed.  Castle to be clambered and ice cream to be eaten!

IMG 4862

Dbba3fe0 efd1 4ebf 9950 4d12af27c221

Where’s Wally?


An attempt to cool down CO2.  Not sure who got wettest.


Dobo Square.  His fame is that he was in charge of the castle when the Turks attacked and defeated them.  Actually sicknesss, lack of food and the weather finished off the Turks, so they retreated.  They came back a few years later with  a force of 100,000 and won.  As Danny, ex military, pointed out, campaigns are fought now with 8 soldiers.



Apparently this is the most northerly minaret in the world.  98 steps, which Danny and I know about as we climbed it. 


No passing places, so controlled batches of tourist allowed up.  Steps were steep so we used hands to help climb, and were slippery from wear.  Don’t know what their procedure is for getting people out who may have a panic attack or fall, as it really was narrow.

IMG 4865

 But I was the only one to step out onto the platform!  Such a hero!!!  Perhaps I just have no imagination.   


View from the top of the cathedral.  Being renovated so couldn’t visit it.


That minaret sure does look narrow and tall from the castle.  No wonder I had thigh ache.  


Not your usual sign.



IMG 4866

A cracking day sightseeing! The day might be over, but the evening was to come.  One of the main attractions of Eger is its wine.  The Lovely Lady Street or Nice Lady Street, depending on your translation, is not, as you might suppose, a street of brothels, but a street and square of c.60 wine bars and restaurants.  Each wine bar represents a local vinyard.  This calls for a big night out.  Lisa and I did our hair and put on makeup!!!!  Some of the wines were good, some really not!  We purchased a bottle each for later … plastic bottles but cheap as chips.  And you knew what you were buying.  Really is a pub crawl with wine.  What’s not to like?!  

IMG 6057

IMG 6058

IMG 6062

IMG 6064

IMG 6069

Reckon he handed over his treasured violin thinking Lisa could play … wrong!

IMG 6070

Amazing what you can find in your hand bag!

IMG 6093

Despite a lightish lunch and ice cream,  or perhaps due to the wine … we still managed a meal out.  More traditional music and hearty portions, but tasty.

IMG 6096

Meaty!  But not ours.

1588:  Recovery Day in Eger

Friday 10tJuly 2020

Two heavy booze nights had taken its toll … for the second time we toddled into the campsite office and paid to stay another day.  Our tourist guide, aka the campsite chap, told us to visit the European version of Pamukkale … travertine terraces.  We had every intention of doing so … but didn’t.  The day oozed by with jobs.  Lisa and I dyed each other’s hair.  And then, bravely, Lisa volunteered Danny to cut my hair.  It had not been cut since September and I really don’t want to have trouble finding a hair dressers when we get back to the UK.  And Danny HAS cut Lisa’s before.  

IMG 6100

Im sure I only said 2″

IMG 6101

In the evening we wandered out again into Beautiful Lady Road … just the one sampling.  We were definitely flagging.   And back to the same restaurant for dinner. Good food again. I am missing fish though: lake fish is available, but not prepared how I would choose.  The traditional music band wandered over as we were the only people claping them … must be  cultural thing.  Having established that were were English and Irish, they proceeded to play Auld Lang Syne!  Not quite so late tonight!

1585-1586: Hungary’s Verson of the Wild West

1585:  Hungary’s Wild West

Wednesday 8tJuly 2020

Now completely alone on the campsite as the owner had gone away for the day, leaving us in charge!  Wonder if she has CCTV!  CO2 ran free and I did some more laundry.  Our destination was a few hours away, Hortobagy – wild west country.  Part of the Great Hungarian Plain where winds whistled and horsemen herded cattle and sheep.  Flat and wide horizons, but quite pretty for all that, as there are trees and colour.  All we needed was tumbleweed!  A few museums in Hortobagy about the life and the skills the herdsmen had with wood and leather.  It’s a popular destination as we saw more tourists here than anywhere else, including a few coaches.  


Not part of Sid Vicious attire!  A wooden dog necklace  not cruel as it looks.  Kept wolves from killing the dogs and then used as a pan holder.


The sheepskins were also used as bedding.


A suitor would leave his smart coat at a girls house.  If she didn’t ask him to take it away, he was in .. lurve!.


Hortobagy has the longest Hungarian stone bridge, all 9 arches of it.  I don’t know if this includes the former territories!

IMG 6027

Typical complex of stables / barns.

There was a massive car park which we could have slept in overnight, but we fancied being away from people.  So we headed off to Tisza River.  We didn’t like the look of the low hanging branches to our planned destination on the river bank, or the mossies and mud.   So we stopped next to the road on a dyke.  It was quite busy with cyclists and fishermen passing but, come evening, it was super quiet.  Still lots of mossies though.  On the late night dog walk, I had to wear long trousers and my jacket with the hood cords drawn tight, so the only parts of me exposed were my face and hands.

IMG 6038

We overnighted on the dyke over looking a field of sunflowers. 

1586:  Bike Ride to … Teaser Lake (Tisza)

Wednesday 8tJuly 2020

The guide book described this lake as smaller and less touristy than Lake Balton … sounds charming.  But, as it turned out, it didn’t deliver for us.  

We were parked on the dyke which has a FLAT tarmac mini road leading to it.  a) needs to be visited and b) we can cycle.  So off we set … CO2 ran for a bit and then we put them in the Os-car.  Mistake on my part … Oscar barks non stop unless I put a cover over the forward facing mesh – I’d forgotten.   Otherwise he can see my legs pedalling away from him and thinks I am trying to escape him … as if!?  After 10 mins of his noise disturbing the peace, we used J’s waterproof to block his view.  It worked for a while, but as soon as the wind lifted it, the barking re-commenced.  Ever resourceful, even if I was ‘asked to leave’ the girl guides, I filled the pockets with stones.  Peace reigned supreme.  We could actually hear the bird song.  On the nature front, we saw loads of big birds of prey and I spotted 2 snakes.  

Lunchtime on arrival at the Lake; so we went for a burger special – J, and a roasted cauliflower salad – me … our worst meal in ages.  A few people about, obviously on holiday, but picnic benches etc for thousands more.  Glad it was quiet on our visit.  Despite this being the eco tourism part of the lake, there were pedaloes, motorised canoes, a water park.  And of course the requisite mosquitos.  We were OK on the bike ride until we stopped, then they nose dived us in formation.  We cycled around a small spit of land, the viewing platform was closed and headed back to Jez.  Not on our must go back to!  And we’ve heard that Lake Balaton is rammed, so we will give this a miss this trip.

IMG 6046

 CO2 set the pace.

IMG 6050

Campsite and canoe safari.

IMG 6049

The meal I wish I could forget … not sure where the cauliflower or salad were!

Wed heard from Danny and Lisa (met in Ephasus and theyrented an apartment near our Turkish lockdown campsite) had left Croatia and were now in Hungary and planning to be where we were headed to next.  They checked out a wild camping spot and declared it unfit:  busy and mossie infested.  They’d found really great campsite.  So we stocked up for a BBQ en route and joined them in Eger.  A great night ….

1583-1584 Galavanting in Gyula

1583: Gorging in Gyula

Monday 6th July 

After a super peaceful a few tasks:

  • Laundry:  Not easy as we have to hand ball water, not long hose or tap in the camping field.  So I washed in hot water from the van in the twin tub.  Rinsed at the laundry area and then spun in the twin tub.  Hand rinsing a duvet cover is an art I have now mastered.
  • Pharmacy … all this open toe walking and I can feel the start of athletes foot.
  • Bank for cash
  • TIC (Tourinform here) to see if he had any maps for cycling routes around the area etc
All achieved and the chap in the TIC had marked the 2nd oldest patisserie in Hungary on the map.

D34e59b1 5193 45e1 978d ab9e27cccc30
Chocolate with marzipan and a raspberry and white chocolate pavlova, which was just melt in the mouth.
We wandered around, but didn’t fancy going in any of the museums.  Various castle museums about who people lived in different times.  And the museum about Erkel Ferenc, composer of the Hungarian National Anthem.  Having had cake, we were not ready for lunch, so hopped on the little noddy train.  It really did not go much further than we had walked.  It did show us the large water park and spa which is why most people come here.  Oh and there was a lovely breeze through the train … various pharmacy signs put the temperature at 32-38C.  Pleasant but architecture nothing like as interesting as the previous Art Nouveau towns we’ve been in.
Lunch was at the Family Restaurant as recommend by the campsite lady.  A shared Greek salad, I had Hungarian Fish Soup – nice but J’s sticky paprika chicken, peppers, sausage and bacon over roasted chips was really good.  3 large glasses of wine, a beer and water … total cost incl tip £25.  Not bad at all.  And since it was a drinking day … we bought a bottle, just the one!, to share later in the evening.  We have managed 3 dry days after all!!!


More evidence of the recent rains.


Our campsite is behind the castle in line with the L..  Not easy to find the gap in the shrubbery in the dark, so we follow CO2 who know it.


Just another clean and immaculate town.

1584:  Rained Off

Tuesday 7th July 

Some rain over night and Corrie seemed to think it was an excuse for a few attempt to gain our bed.  No Corrie rain is not a storm, in your own bed!  With the rain, we postponed our bike ride to a palinka (fruit brandy) factory, a beer factory and castle park … and then abandoned it altogether.  Having got the bikes out, which entails fully emptying the garage, only mine had a small excursion.  The campsite lady had said it was market day … when I got there it was about 3 stalls.  Having been spoilt by the fantastic Turkish markets where all the glowing produce inspires me to cook, I departed, having bought nothing.  

Plans on some days, especially wet ones, just need abandoning.  So we went for a late lunch.  Best restaurant in town, according to TripAdvisor …  definitely a step up in quality and presentation and still only £50 with wine and tip!

IMG 6020

Goose compote.

IMG 6022

Duck with red wine infused fruits, on a bed of sweet potato and the best bit … the sweet potato gratin – creamy and cheesy.

IMG 6023

Ever comfort food, but post cordon bleu.

IMG 6024

Although not hungry, I persuaded J to share dumplings with cream, on a bed of apricot jam.  This was on dish not to be repeated.

IMG 6025

On the way home, Corrie decide to join an exercise class!






1578-1582: Not Going Hungry in Hungary

1578: Nothing Sad in Novi Sad 

 Wednesday 1st July 2020

A relatively short drive to Novi Sad … undecided if we would stay here or go onto Subotica, but I’d struggled to find a parking there and here had a fab parking!

IMG 5950

The landscape north of Belgrade was flat, flat and flat.  Sunflowers not yet out and wheat harvesting.

IMG 5973

We moved Jez to one of the fortress platforms once we knew how accessible it was … too accessible at night as music blared from a car until 3.30 am!  But a lovely view for our breakfast the following morning.

IMG 5974

Nothing like the busy Rhein, but we did see one barge.

IMG 4738

We found a restaurant on the edge of the fortress and splashed out on supper …watching the sun set.  Worth every penny for the location.

IMG 5963 2

The food was better quality than most places we’ve eaten in Serbia, but still pretty uninspiring.  

IMG 5960

This was the first wine we’d had on arriving in Serbia and only fitting that we had it on our last night!


And the sun sun was fabulous …



This plane did a few circles and then flew at us!


The bridge had multicoloured lights.

IMG 4743

 A fitting end to our 13 day Serbian stay.


1579: Back to the EU 

 Thursday 2nd July

Leisurely breakfast on our Nov Sad terrace.  I sorted the online purchase of the Hungarian motorway vignette – £25 gives us a month, not that we plan to stay this long, but just in case … with so many border restriction changes, best to play safe!

A shortish drive to the Hungarian border.  We were through in about 15 minutes.  The Serbian border wanted to know if we had visited Kosovo or Montenegro (conflict countries) and then stamped us out.  The Hungarians were very quick … a check inside and under the bed for illegal immigrants and on our way.  I don’t think we’d realised how tense were had been … we gave several whoops and ‘welcome to the EU’ shouts!

613b16c5 e292 48bc bcf2 4b457fce25b4

Glad we were not in a truck, reckon the 5 mile queue denoted a day’s wait.  Clear for us.

We stopped close to the border in Szeged.  We wandered into town along the Tisza River with lots of signs of flooding here too with the main objective of finding a bank for HUF – Hungarian Florints.  Another country with monopoly money.  Serbia was bad enough with £1=126 Dinar.  Here is is £1=391 Florints or HUF’s!

104fc20b 32a3 4765 a5ca 729185bd84d1

Flooding at our camperstop too.

IMG 4755

A distended head!  Not my cup of tea …

IMG 4757

… but this was.  Yummy.

IMG 4758

Really attractive town, and given it is the 3rd largest in Hungary, it has a great mid town feel.  Being a University town often helps with a relaxed vibe.

IMG 4760

Just the one, before we headed back to the camperstop to eat at the floating restaurant.  Wrong!  All they could offer us was a beef fat smeared bun with pork … Yuk.

IMG 5979

So I did a quick Vietnamese salad … yummy!

1580: Chores and Szegrad

 Friday 3rd July 

Weather forecast was not wrong … showers, but thank goodness cooler!  J on his tax return and various bills paid and some planning for our return to the UK.  Lots of admin done, including a bit of planning for touring Hungary.

About 4.00, it looked a bit brighter so we set off on a tour of the town proper.  A brownie with ice cream as our reward for all that admin and to fortify us during our tour!  It’s main claim to fame is the Art Nouveau architecture that sprung up from 1880 after flooding destroyed the town.  Plenty of green areas and every other building had something to remark on it.

IMG 4766

Ungar-Mayer Palace with it “capriciously animated facades”!

IMG 4765

Szeged National theatre 1883. The stone statues either side of the entrance were usually carved in situ … just as well his scalpel didn’t slip!

IMG 4769

Roek palace, one of the most outstanding buildings 1907. 

IMG 4772

IMG 4774

Arch with painting depicting the dead of WW2 underneath.  Lots of trams and trolley busses.  And we’ve seen tram tracks being built in another town.

IMG 4776

Young men supporting the butterfly of independence to commemorate the revolution in 1956.

IMG 4777

Brick built cathedral with mews houses and arches all round the large square.

IMG 4797

So many statues.

Back to Jez for supper and fighting off the mosses!!!  Would recommend this town to anyone coming to Hungary.

1581: A Change of Plan … Again!

Saturday 4th July 

First stop was Hodmezovasarhely … I defy anyone to pronounce this … far too many syllables!  

IMG 5987

The main reason for coming here was that it was billed as pottery centre, but the only sign was the sign by the closed ateliers door!

IMG 5988

A consolation ice cream as we couldn’t find a coffee shop for breakfast.  Good prices for ice cream here … £2.35 for 2. 

IMG 5993

And then we saw this amazing building  so we finally had brunch.

IMG 5995

A healthy omelette after our ice cream!

IMG 5990

Another super tidy town with green spaces and I read it is on the world list of relaxed chilled places to live

The father of two small girls asked if CO2 could be stroked … he spoke good English and made a suggestion for a town different to our destination … sounded good so we headed that way, after a big supermarket shop in InterSpar.  We’ve seen Tesco here too.  And Lidl and a few Aldi.

Off to Szarvas.  No parking overnight spots on the apps we use, so we headed to the camping symbol on maps.me.  Now I really like this app and use it loads, but it let us down this time. I suppose it was a camping, but not for travellers … a few cabins and permanent tents in a very small area with no car access.  So we started inspecting all the car parks.  Luck was then with us, as we found a small car park with shade.  And someone was kindly leaving, so we nabbed his space.  A perfect location as there was a river side picnic spot and at night it was super quiet.  The only downside … more mosquitoes!  We now have an electric mossie repeller, heavy duty room spray, citronella candle and body spray … yet every morning we compare bites!

2ddc6358 6db1 48eb b0a8 578a401683f9

Riverside picnic spot; we carried over the pressure cooker.  Lovely until the mosquitoes defeated us and we retreated to the van.

IMG 4809

Just by us was the Millenium Statue with its changing colours.   More retrospective glory … the Crown at the top represents a Hungarian legend when archangels Michael and Gabriel brought the crown to the Hungarian King   


1582: Swatting in Szarvas

 Sunday 5th July 

Bikes and Os-car deployed we went to the the Arboretum.  Nice, but I’ve been spoilt by RHS Wisley and the main entertainment for us was seeing how many of the other people were swatting away the mossies more than us!  We’d brought the body spray with us and re-applied copiously, so we swatted a lot less than everyone else.  If you stopped, the buggers dive bombed you in force.

560118e5 e2d2 4e00 97a6 a11129556eb0

This resident wasn’t bothered by mossies or CO2.

Our combined ticket included the Mini Hungary (Mini Magyaroszag).  We’d thought this would be a good explanation of the geography and main sights and industry in Hungary and would thus aid our Hungary tour planning.  We’d seen an amazing model Russia, a real scale model of all 9 time zones in St Petersburg and hoped for something similar.  No .. just a series of castles and churches randomly placed with a few model railways for the kids to activate by pressing a button!  And most of the buildings seemed to now be in Romania, Serbia, Slovakia etc.  Full sun, so we didn’t stay long.


The town really did seem to hark back to past empire glories … the next stop was the windmill placed in the geographic centre of the pre WW1 Hungary, when it lost 2/3rds of its territory. 


The centre of the universe!  A school trip destination.

Lunch was an omelette for J and salad for me.  The lovely waitress wanted to practice her English and suggested a restaurant really close to our parking.  We popped in to book for tonight, thinking that you can’t beat a local recommendation.  No dogs allowed, not even in the garden.  Ho hum!  So we packed up the van and drove a couple of hours to our original destination … Gyula.  

We agreed to try one of the city campsites but with a limit of EUR20.  The first one we came to is charging EUR15 and we have the whole place to ourselves.  The only other person here is the elderly lady owner, clad in her swimming costume and knee supports … quite a look BUT she is a poppet … even if I don’t fully understand her German.

Supper was a BBQ .  Super quiet and peaceful … this we’ll stay a few days.

85b9371f fd1a 4cee bef5 5d28c7867ee6

A gate from our camping leads straight to the castle park, where we can walk CO2 off lead.

99099655 fdde 45ed 8da3 373a93ea145f 2



1575-77: Bimbling around Belgrade

1575:  Three Degrees of Separation!

 Sunday 28th June 2020

David and Karen left Zip Camping first to head off to Greece.  Danny and Lisa stayed on another day at the campsite.  Quite emotional as we have spent so much time with particularly Karen and David.  After a few jobettes (and a slow start) we headed off for the wheel arch repair in Belgrade, or Beograd, as it is known in Serbia.

We stopped off in Uzice, as Michail had told us about a cheap shoe shop … I forced myself to buy a couple of pairs … J didn’t!  Think that now makes 14 pairs, I think … oops.  In my defence, my lord, I do need shoes for all seasons!


1576:  Biking in Belgrade

 Monday 29th June 

Given that dogs are not allowed on public transport, busses were not an option.  So we used bikes to travel the 4.5km into the city centre.  Not pleasant.  Begrade drivers are just soo impatient.  Beeping horns at each other even when the car in front cannot move.  Busy.  No cycle tracks; we used the pavements a lot.  And it was HOT … 38C.  We started out following a GPSmyCity sight seeing tour, but aborted about half way through and headed to the fortress park for a lunch … which we slept off in the shade!


Cathedral of Saint Sava: The largest Orthadox Serbian church and dedicated to the Medieval saint who is the founder of the Serbian church.  It is modern … started just before WW2 and was only completed in the ‘70s.  And one has to question the workmanship, as the main church was undergoing serious renovation ….


… only the Crypt was open.


The Skupstina: the Serbian parliament building.  With the changes of rulership, it has had various names  The National Assembly of Serbia 1945-46, The National Assembly of the Peoples Republic of Serbia 1946-63, The Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Serbia 1963-1990 etc.

IMG 5928

The lovely Kalemegdan fortress complex … we ate, slept and admired the views of the Danube.

And when we returned, the wheel arch crack had been glued and re-sprayed and the glue off the van cleaned up … it would be affixed tomorrow.

1577:  Taxi to Zemun

 Tuesday 30th June 

The info sheet we’d been given a the camper stop offered to book us a taxi … not happy to cycle again, we booked it.  It turned out to be the camper stop / garage / furniture shop owner … happy for dogs as he brought a different car with a big boot for CO2.  He told us that Belgrade had been destroyed 15 times!

Zemun is the other side of the Sava river which flows into the Danube and is one of the oldest parts of Belgrade.  Narrow streets, low rise attractive buildings, a street market and a relaxed vibe.  We liked it a lot and did another GPSmyCity walking tour … I’ve paid for the full app and it is getting used!


The Zemun Gymnasium1858,  undergoing some refurbishment – renowned for its academic record.  But with initially only 21 students, that should have been a fairly easy achievement.


Zemun Post Office 1896.


The sun dial to the left of the window still works … not sure why it wouldn’t with no mechanical parts!


Wide boulevard along the river … CO2 had a good run.

IMG 5940

Gardos Tower 1896: built to celebrate 1000 years of hungarian settlement.

IMG 5942

View over Zemun and the Danube.


And lunch … a lovely wine suggested by the people at the neighbouring table.


Another Route Decision!

And when we got back, the wheel arch was on … good to go tomorrow.  BUT where???  It transpired that the Hungarian border is fully open from Serbia.  It would mean we could tour in Hungary and not have to quarantine in the house we’d booked in Croatia … rules could all change on 1st July ,,,, but Croatia is not good for wild camping … we have been all along the coast … Hungary was our intended route back after this trip and we have the guide book!!!  So a change of plan.  Hungary it is.  Danny and Lisa will use the Croatia house for a few days …  it was not enough money for us to worry about …. and should we be refused at the Hungarian border, we can about turn for Croatia!