After leaving Gerde we headed to the town of Kecskemet which is roughly 100km’s south of Budapest. Arriving there we parked in the Tesco car park and rode a short distance to the centre of town. It was an interesting town with a large central square area and the town is known for their interesting Art Nuevo buildings. After a look around and the obligatory ice cream we headed back to the car park where we stayed overnight and endured a heavy downpour of rain accompanied by a thunderstorm. Looking out of our window the car park was awash with water that flooded the lowest points.
The next morning we drove to Budapest to Haller Camping, a campsite we had been to twice before because the location is great as it is only a few km’s from the centre of the city. There is a metro stop and a tram stop on the adjoining street and bike paths that wind their way through the streets. The staff are friendly and the campsite has free wifi and free washing machines. It was very busy as it is the middle of the school holidays, plenty of motorhomes, caravans and of forest of tents.
We decided to use our bikes to go into the city and give it a try, in 2009 we rode in and had difficulty as there was lots of road works and the tram lines were being upgraded. As this is our third time in Budapest and we have seen many of the tourist sites we decided to take it easy and just enjoy being there without racing from one site to another. It was an easy ride to the river and towards the centre of town where we stopped in at the market; which in our opinion is the best we have visited. After wondering around taking in the sights and smells we had a drink on the second level and headed back on our bikes riding along the river again and winding our way slowly back to the campsite.
On Tuesday we rode into the centre of town and found the tourist information office to get some maps and ideas of were to ride. We went exploring after having some lunch in a square where we met some other Aussies traveling through Europe on a three month trip. It is always good to hear the Australian accent after traveling weeks without meeting any.
After locking up our bikes we joined a free walking tour of the Jewish Quarter of the city. The free walking tours are just that, but they ask for tips at the end and it is up to you what you pay, they do not put any pressure on you which is good. The tour was informative and the tour guides made it interesting. The tour finished at a ruin pub, these pubs are in derelict buildings taken over by artist and creative people so they are full of strange artwork and furniture with the walls covered in graffiti. After a look around and a cold beer we headed back to where our bikes were, stopping on the way at a Yiros place for a quick meal as by this time it was 6.30 and we still had to get to our bikes and ride back to the campsite before it got dark. A quiet evening as we were tired after a busy day.
Wednesday. In the morning we again rode back to the centre and joined the Free Walking Tour, this time it was the general city walk. The weather looked miserable and we were surprised at how many people came to the meeting spot for the walk. They split the group into 4 and still our group was over 30 individual from all ages and nationalities. The tour took 3 hours and finished up on the hill in the castle area by the Fisherman’s Bastion. After saying our goodbye and tipping the guide we walked back down to the town, crossing the bridge and collected our bikes before riding to the Jewish Quarter where we had some lunch in an arcade area.
When we finally made our way back to the campsite diverted past the Holocaust Museum and went inside, interesting and confronting; it was well laid out and concluded in a Synagogue. When we walked outside it was pelting down with rain and we put our raincoats on and rode back. We arrived back at camp drenched, to find that some of it was under water and the staff were busy with hoses and pumps trying to get the water out of the site. We were lucky as our motorhome was on the hard bitumen with a slope, others had to walk through water and mud to reach their doors. After drying off we settled down with a drink and decided to spend the evening relaxing and watching some TV until!! We heard a knock on the door and there was a New Zealand couple Michael and Judy. They are also on an extended European trip and return to New Zealand later in the year. We invited them in and swapped travel stories and information for nearly 5 hours, it was a lovely evening sharing a few drinks and being able to have a long conversation with fellow travellers.
Thursday morning and it was time to pack up and check out. We had a bit of a slow start but decided to make use of the free washing machines while we could, unfortunately they were all in use so had to wait until one was empty. While this was being done we did some last tidying and packing away and stored the bikes on the bike rack. It was almost time to go, the washing collected and about to be hung up when Ewout spotted a familiar looking Hymer with an Aussie flag sticker on the front. Hmm he thought, better check that out and to our surprise it turned out to be a young couple from Australia who had contacted us a week or so before and had been looking at our previous blogs. Mark and De’ana are the first Australians travelling in a motorhome that we have seen this trip and we had only just talked about this the day before. After a very brief talk we had to leave the campgrounds and bid them safe travels as we headed north leaving Budapest behind.