Lake Balaton is enormous! Hungary

Saturday, 16th June 2018.

Dave posting,

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.

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Balatonfoldvar Museum

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The water is so light it looks white!

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not quite right!

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.

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View from the museum

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.

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We stop for a paddle, Cathy the fish is thinking about getting in, maybe we will come back tomorrow suitably equipped.

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Come on in it’s warm!

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.

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Boulevards all along the side of the lake

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.

Good night,

Dave

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”

Our 10th country – Hungary

Thursday, 14th June 2018

Dave posting,

A small amount of planning for today took place over breakfast here in Osijek, Croatia.

Hungary will be the 10th country we have visited on this tour. As we travelled northwards through Croatia to the Udvar border crossing, we need to spend our last bit of cash – 225 kuna’s before entering Hungary, so we will top up our LPG refillable system and buy diesel with the remaining kuna’s in Croatia. Continue reading

Zadar and a Hitchcock sunset

Friday 4th May 2018

We are still in the free car park just 10 mins walk in to Zadar, on the Dalmation coast. I found on my research for Zadar that there is a free walking tour (tips normally given) we have done many of these in the past especially in cities in the UK & Europe and the amount of info and humour is normally of a good standard and you see things that normally would go unnoticed. I tell Dave it’s at 5 Wells Square (because it’s got 5 wells) and whilst I’m getting ready would he mind if he gets the map on google maps and walking route, yes folks you know where this is going don’t you, he got the location of the company or the guys address instead of the meeting point, we walked for 20 mins in the opposite direction and it was hot! This is the 2nd occasion this has happened & I’m grumpy! The tour starts at 10am and its now, yes, 10am and we’re now 15 mins walk to the square, so off we go again.

We’d walked through the park and through one of the Venetian gates called Kopnena Vrata, Zadar is full of Roman and Venetian ruins with a 12th century St. Anastasia Cathedral, 5 Wells Square was a beautiful but small place, we had 1 ¾ hours to spare  until the next walking tour at 12pm, so we sat and had a couple of coffees macchiato veliki which are lovely and strong just how we like them, we also like the ice cold glass of water which we have been given in most places with our coffees. We sat, and people watched until noon.

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5 Wells Square, small and beautiful.

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Typical old Croatian house

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Typical Croatian washing line!

There are lots of tourists from Japan & China and they are always in large groups and they love, love, love a selfie and we love watching them as they are always excited about anything and I mean anything!

We spotted Eduardo the guide with the yellow umbrella and introduced ourselves, it’ll be just us two by the look of things, he also tells us he overslept, and he didn’t turn up for the 10am tour, Dave looks relieved!

The tour was very informative, he explained that once Zadar was the capital city and is the oldest continually inhabited Croatian city since 9th Century. It’s been controlled by the Croatians, Romans, Venetians, Italians, French, Austrian/Hungarian, so much history!

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Church of St. Donatus, 9th C

The 1991 Croatian war also known as the home war, meant many were killed and 10,000 left for other parts, he tells us that many Croatians emigrated to Australia, he says that most of the inhabitants now come from other parts and are not initially from Croatia, however there is a small Italian community of just a few hundred from when Italy controlled it.

Zadar was not too crowded even though there is a new cruise port and a very good ferry port for cruises to other islands.

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Training priests stood at the hole above (looks like a TV) practicing to the older priests below, now a private dining room in a restaurant

We finished the tour at 2.30pm ending on the waters edge by the sea organs and sun worship monument, the sea organ is built on the beautiful promenade it consists of tubes built into the steps and makes sounds when the water enters them, all you can see are small holes in the promenade, the sounds of the sea organ are very strange sounds like a whale! We will come back at sunset to see the Sun Worship monument which is a solar display, a 22 metre glass disc made up of 300 multi layers of glass which lights up in many colours and powers the lights along the promenade.

Back to Pogo for more blogging! And we need to clean the van inside, but it’ll wait one more day. We couldn’t be bothered cooking, so we ate a punnet of strawberries.

The walk through Zadar streets and back to the huge promenade was relaxing as the heat was reducing in the early evening, the sunset at 8pm was stunning and the film maker and master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock liked to stay in a hotel on the front and proclaimed the sunsets as the most beautiful in the world! A bold quote indeed.

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The water was very calm so not much sound from the sea organ. The light solar display was nice but we are told it now interacts with the sounds from the sea organ, so I suppose if you go when it’s breezy or the water is choppy then you get a better display.

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Sun Salutation

We went back to Pogo about 9.pm and there’s not much for dinner, so it was a crackers and cheese fest with little mini bruchetta from Lidl which we love, followed by chocolate washed down with some €2 red wine, got to love a throw together cheap dinner.

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We were listening to music on the iPad with the Bose speaker which were all fully charged as we’d had electric hook up at Camp Rozac when we heard a knock on the van and the drivers’ door handle being tried! We were a bit startled I must say. All our blinds are closed, and we’ve lowered the overcab bed already. There is a security company adjoining the car park and they have what look like police vans, the guys wear black T shirt and black caps, we opened the blinds to look out and saw a guy dressed as described above cycling about the car park, we assumed he was telling us to leave, he didn’t return to us but just kept going around and in between all the cars stopping and trying all the door handles and the boot of each car!! Strange we thought? he can’t be security, can he? no, reader he was not! He was a thief, we saw him remove something from one car and stuff it in is pocket! Disappearing into a hedge and then reappearing for another round of the car park, this went on for about 35 mins, we gave up watching and closed the blinds, 15 mins later he tries our door handle again or his mate did, this time I opened the window and shouted  “oi” “ go away” well it might have been something similar, surprisingly we slept well, Dave has the door chained to the drivers wheel and the bed is on top of that so no chance they are getting in!

Cathy