Saturday, 16th June 2018.
We were undisturbed in our free camping spot last night, there’s nobody else around, we could hear a slight gentle rumble of trains passing by occasionally but it didn’t stop us sleeping.
Lake Balaton is a major holiday destination with beaches, volcanic hills, resort towns and high-rise hotels along some of its 197km shoreline.
It’s the largest freshwater lake in Central Europe and one of the country’s top tourist destinations. The Zala River provides the largest inflow of water to the lake. It’s 77 kms long, 14 kms wide, with an average depth of 3.5 metres, the maximum depth is 11 metres. It’s approximately 40 times the size of Lake Windermere UK. The colour is the lightest sky blue you have ever seen, in fact in certain light it looks almost white, the photos might not do it justice. We think this remarkable light colour is due to it shallow depth and cleanliness of the water.
The museum is 50 metres away, it’s interactive and with a very good view-point over the vast expanse of water, we paid £4.25 entry fee. We quite enjoyed our time in there, great facts and information about the lake, life of the locals, it’s a shipping museum really, lots of info about its recent safety aids and development.
On an average summer day there could be up to 100,000 people bathing, rowing and sailing here. In a matter of minutes the weather can change it a storm, a gale warning system is provided by the observatory of the Hungarian meteorological service in Siofok. The warning system is made up of 31 bright, flashing & revolving lights all around the edge of the lake, these can easily be seen in daylight and darkness from any position near the lake no matter where you are. A storm warning is first sent to the captain of the water police of Lake Balaton indicating the expected wind force and direction.
The lights will either flash at 45 times a minute or 90 times a minute dependent upon the severity of the storm. When the signal system is showing the normal flashes of 45 then the wind will not exceed 40kph in the next few hours. over 60 kph it flashes at 90.
Lake Balaton is fantastic for bathing with an average water temperature of 22 degrees in the summer with highs of 27-28, now that’s incredible considering the amount of water here.
Afterwards we walk north along the paths to Balatonfoldvar for about 4 kms passing expensive houses that have super views across the water, we drop down off the high path and on to the lower shore side area, crossing the main railway line the weather today is better for us, warm but with a strong breeze, we could walk for miles when it’s like this. This whole area feels similar to a riviera in Europe but it’s not so busy, the private properties, rental apartments and a few hotels edge right up to the water, no doubt costing a lot of HUF’s! There are many jetties and laddered steps into the water.
We stop for a paddle, Cathy the fish is thinking about getting in, maybe we will come back tomorrow suitably equipped.
The shady tree lined boulevard covers the sandy shingle paths, reminiscent of Paris, there are cyclists, parents with pushchairs, teenagers and families all out this morning enjoying themselves.
The marina comes into view as we explore the area, this place looks popular with many modern new boats moored up. We are just 135 kms from Budapest.
Time for some refreshments, two small beers sitting on a jetty watching the world go by but the humidity has increased a lot in the last couple of hours, we’re melting once again, we sit in the sofas feeling totally relaxed as we chat about some of our adventures so far and where we might go in the next few weeks, we have really taken to this way of life, travelling, meeting new people, visiting and discovering places for the first time.
We’ve walked 10 kms today, not much really but were pleased we’ve done it in this heat, and now it’s time for tea.
PS – some comments have disappeared from the blog, I’ve managed to put them here;
From Flyfishing adventures “Another wonderful place to add to our list. Thanks for sharing😁”
From Sally “Looks a lovely spot!”
From Dave “Hi FFFA, it’s a super place, we have really enjoyed our time here. Highly recommend a visit the Balatonföldvár museum, it’s got the highest view point of the whole of the lake. Thanks for reading our blog diaries. Regards Dave”