Europe is so nice

Hello from Budapest

Hello from Budapest

It’s been some time since I’ve contributed anything to our illustrious blog… not really sure why, but most likely because since we arrived in Europe everything has been… very nice.

And while that might sound lovely, it’s actually borderline boring after the year we’ve had.  It’s also very expensive, which makes most things a pain in the ass.  Finding a place to sleep, finding a restaurant for dinner, and filling the tank have all become optimisation exercises.

The Budapest skyline, quite nice.

The Budapest skyline, quite nice.

But I’m not complainig, just imagine, “boo hoo, poor us, we’re stuck in beautiful europe for a few months with not much to do aside from aimlessly wandering the countryside in search of tasty food and wine”  pretty hard going!

Back to the blog…

So it’s Summer here, unfortunately no one told that to the clouds who have been conspiring against us recently.  We arrived in Budapest after a lovely day riding in the green countryside (s0 nice!), then 8km from our hostel the heavens opened and torrential rain followed us all the way there.  Seriously torrential rain, the type that makes the cars pull over because they cant see where they’re going, the type that totally floods the road so we were continually riding through more than a foot of water… yes the type that actually fills your boots up with water until it comes flowing over the top.

weather aside, Budapest is a beautiful city

weather aside, Budapest is a beautiful city

Arriving at the hostel saturated, Sally went into reception to ask them to open the gate to the carpark

“excuse me can you please open the gate for the carpark?”

“do you have a booking?”

“yes we do, could you just open the gate so we can get in please?”

“the carpark costs 10 euro per day”

“I’m not paying 10 euro per day, I called before booking and this wasnt mentioned”

“well they should have told you”

“Yes they should have… but we are not paying 10 euro”

“would you mind waiting a minute please?”


It went on for quite a while, long enough that when Sal finally reappeared on the street I thought we must be going somewhere else.  On the up side, we didnt pay for the carpark!

Sally on the green bridge across the Danube, (closed to traffic for roadwork)

Sally on the green bridge across the Danube, (closed to traffic for roadwork)

Budapest was REALLY nice.  It was full of really nice streets, selling nice clothes, nice bars, and nice food.  I’m sure you can imagine.

From there we rode a short day to a very nice lake, completely overrun by tourists, where we camped in a caravan park, walked into town, where it was also very nice, walked back to the park (because I forgot my wallet), and then ate a really nice traditional dinner of goulash soup and bbq pork joint.

Today we rode from there to the border, where we didnt even need to stop or show passports, (that was also a very nice change), and into Slovenia, where everything is unexpectedly even nicer.

Sally looking great as usual

Sally looking great as usual

But this afternoon the weather turned against us again, and 85km from our destination it started to rain.  Then the little mountain road we were on turned to dirt, and the rain got even heavier.  Usually this would be considered not very nice, but I actually enjoyed the ride even though it was really hard to see through my frosted visor 🙂

Late in the afternoon, drenched again, we rode past a little hostel in the middle of nowhere, where a tiny little wooden hut in the garden costs 36euro (very cheap for here), a glass of slovenian wine is 1.50 and a pizza is 6euro.  This was all very good news, and has led me to be writing this blog in the relative comfort of a heated room with a full belly and empty glass, rather than in a wet tent surrounded by wet riding gear.

Sally drinking wine... as usual.

Sally drinking wine… as usual.

I think i’ll have another glass of red and then go to bed.

Thirsty in Hungary!!

Me after too much wine...

Me after too much wine…

We are now in Hungary! Eger to be exact which is a major wine growing region in Hungary…and yes, apparently  they have a massive wine culture and not many of them are even aware that Australia produces any wine! We are finally getting use out of the tent that we have been dragging around the world and set up camp in a campsite about 1 km away from all the cellar doors which is quite handy!

Me a little excited with my bottles of wine...!

Me a little excited with my bottles of wine…!

It seems that it isn’t quite the same as wine tasting at home here and it is expected that you order at least one glass of wine in each place rather than taste their whole selection and walk away. We worked this out after a couple of dismissive goodbyes so we started to ask if we could pay for a tasting instead of feeling obliged to buy a glass…this was received very well and we had some good experiences learning about all the wine styles here… and they are quite good…not as impressive as Bulgarian wines were but still very drinkable.  We got a little carried away and now have three bottles of wine to try to fit on the bike with us… or drink… but I doubt much more wine drinking will get done tonight!

Dean after having had enough wine tasting...

Dean after too much wine…

Our time in Romania was fun… a little bit of medieval mixed with a little bit of Italian. The countryside was really beautiful and it seems like town after town was ‘oozing’ history as Lonely Planet would put it! It seems not only Italy has charm! Beautiful sunny riding days at 28 degrees, blue skies and fields and fields of sunflowers – you can’t really ask for more!

One of hundreds of sunflower fields

One of hundreds of sunflower fields

It feels too good! We feel like we’re on holiday as nothing is really a challenge anymore. There’s plenty of wine to drink and nice places to drink it in, lots of pizza and pasta and good roads. It doesn’t feel right. And while we have both been gagging to get to Europe, now we are here, it feels like we are cheating. I guess we are adapting back to the western world without the luxury of earning money to pay for it all which makes it harder! It kind of makes us want to get home, earn money and see people we love or else fly back to Asia, sleep in a dirty bed again and avoid getting killed on the road!

Dean looking a little over it...

Dean looking a little over it…

Still, we have another 3 months of all this nice stuff so we really have to keep things in check… hence the camping. Tomorrow we are heading to Budapest where we will be staying (in a hotel!) for 3 nights.