We got off to a slow start on Monday as we left Eger and headed into the mountains. Our destination was the town of Lillafured, a Hungarian man told me it was a nice place to visit up in the mountains. It was not far but it did take a while as the roads were windy, but very quiet and we weren’t in a hurry giving us time to enjoy the views of the forest and countryside. We parked in a car park with plenty of space and with some local help worked out how to get a ticket out of the machine. [I still haven’t mastered Hungarian!!] We walked through the souvenir shops and the eateries to the lake where a terraced park led to a waterfall and a cave.
The cave tour started in half an hour which gave us a chance to buy an ice-cream [it was a very warm day]. The Anna Barlang cave is only small but it is in travertine rocks which makes some interesting formations. The guide spoke only Hungarian so we didn’t understand the narrative, but it was an interesting walk through the various passageways and it was cool giving us some relief from the warm weather outside. The night was spent at a car park on the outskirts of Miskolc.
After a very quiet night we woke up close to 9 o’clock as the car park was deserted and only a bus came every half an hour or so. We do normally wake up earlier but with the quiet and all the blinds down we slept in. Behind the car park was a creek and walking tracks leading to a national park, Bodnar Gabor and to the railway line of the tourist train. After a short walk we went back and headed off into town. Our mission today was to find an auto electrician to have a look at our leisure battery [the battery that powers the motorhome, not start the engine]. Heading into town we stopped at a service station to ask where could find one. The attendant could speak no English but a nice young man interpreted for us and even offered to go there and interpret for us when we got there. Along with his girlfriend he drove to the auto electrician with us following behind. He was right the people at the mechanics spoke no English and he explained our problem. After replacing a contact wire he told us that both batteries are now charging at the same rate and if the problem continues buy a new battery. Not sure if that was the problem but it only cost us 6 euros or $10 Australian. Thanking our interpreter with an Australian hat and his girlfriend with a koala we headed off to find a supermarket. This was supposed to be our last day in Hungary and we had some cash left over and shopping would relieve us of it. After stocking our larder and getting rid of our notes we gave the rest of our coins to a young lad begging at the entrance to the supermarket. Money gone we headed north in the direction of Slovakia driving along the back road through small villages, with not a lot of traffic and other motorhomes to be seen or any other foreign cars. Near to the border of Slovakia we took a sharp left hand turn and were in the village of Aggtelek which was teaming with people as it was the place where the Baradla Cave Systems were. We had read about this place but thought we were too far east to come across it. As we was there we decided to go and have a look.
The cave tour took us through some enormous caverns and in one they even have concerts and weddings. Again the tour was only in Hungarian but they did give us a guide book to read about the different caverns we were in. By this time it was nearly 6 pm and when we saw the camping sign at the caves we enquired and stayed the night for 14 euros all inclusive. As we settled down the rain came and we were glad to be in our snug home looking out at the poor people in the tents.
In the morning we drove about 300 metres from the campsite to the border, goodbye Hungary, hello Slovenia, we didn’t realize we were so close. As we left we were glad to have spent the last two weeks in Hungary, although we had been there 3 times before it had always seemed a bit rushed. Slovakia is also a place we have been to before but haven’t done it justice, so this time we intend doing a bit more meandering and taking in the sights.
Wednesday 13th. We had already planned to visit the ice cave at Dobinska, the other 2 caves we stumbled across. The road was very quiet as we were still on the back roads winding our way from village to village. As we came across the car park the place was very busy and after paying the nice young lady the 7 euros parking ticket we walked, and walked, and walked up, up to the cave. It was a half an hour before we reached the entrance of the cave and it rained the whole time. We had prepared ourselves for the cold cave and enjoyed the walk through. At our first stop I was asked for my photo permit?? To take photos you have to pay 10 euros for a permit allowing you to take pictures. The photos we have in the blog are courtesy google images.The cave was different to any we had seen before and the long steep walk was worth the view in the cave. Leaving the cave we took a back road to our next stop that day which was the Spis Castle and which normally are more scenic and interesting.
The road we chose however was being worked on and we had to wait over an hour at one place while road workers finished a section of upgrade, so on went the kettle and we enjoyed a coffee while we waited. Oh the joys and convenience of the motorhome. The rest of the road was some of the worst we have driven on and we were shaken by the rough surface. We reached our stop for the night, the car park of the Spissky hrad. In the middle of the night we had a massive storm front come through with strong winds and thunder and lightning. It only lasted for an hour but the motorhome was buffeted by the wind and lashed with rain.
In the morning it we walked up to the very large 12th Century castle complex that is a UNESCO world heritage site and paid a modest 5 euros each entry. There was more to see than we thought and the free audio guide gave us some information as we explored. There was also a museum, torture chamber, a chapel as well as the usual souvenir shop and café. After 4 hours we were back on the road heading to Poprad.