Day 20 - It's good and as cheap as f*cking chips

Wednesday 16th July 2014 

It would be good to spend more time at Route 69, they stage some interesting events. But we have to get on track, Romania and the Transfaragasian are calling.

Breakfast of ham and scrambled eggs, Brötchen, butter, jam and coffee is included in the €12 overnight camping price.

We crack on down the B69, it's a lovely morning and a classic road to ride. Next the Slovenian border and a less touristy, more soviet style Slovenia of concrete slab buildings and heavy industry.
We dribble through the towns and villages, in heavy traffic, stopping at a truck stop just shy of the Hungarian border.

I'm not sure what to expect next as this is unknown territory. I was last in Hungary a few years ago and I remember awful roads with spine-shattering potholes and interminable over banding. I was with Charly at the time, me on my R1200s and Charly on his FJR. It wasn't a good experience and I was glad to get back into Austria.

Mick eating his coffee

The villages were the same in style as in Austria but whereas Austria is unbelievably neat and tidy with a propensity of pastel shades, Hungary by comparison seemed drab and crumbling.

But now it's a different Hungary. Maybe it's EU money, I don't know, but the road from Nagysummatorother to Nagysummatelse is fantastic. All perfect tarmac and constant radius curves for 100 miles into the heart of Southern Hungary.

The border takes me by surprise. Last time I crossed out of Euroland into Dodgy Economy World I was riding from Germany into the Czech Republik and there was a full-on passport and vehicle check with the ever present suggestion of rubber gloves and internal body cavity searches if you so much as cracked a smile. Here we hardly noticed it. There was an blue EU flag sign with Magyarorszag in the middle, and that was it. I guess all the concrete block, bunkers and tank traps at borders like Italy-Slovenia were a left over from the Cold War. Now we are crossing a one-time internal Soviet-block border between Yugoslavia and Hungary.

It's only when we see the first gas station with posted prices of 417.9 for Benzin super 95 that it sinks in that we have left the euro zone. That's £1.06 by the way.

After a couple of hours on superb tarmac we turn off onto the country roads and head for our night's stop at a Dutch-run camping ground called Camping de Oude Watermolen in the hamlet of Verkeny.
Oud Watermolen camping field

Tents up under the fruit trees
I've only ever been near the western borders of Hungary before and my impression of Hungary from school geography lessons was of the beginnings of the steppes, with wide open grasslands stretching to the horizon. Classic cattle country. Indeed the first cowboy styles originated in Hungary before transferring and metamorphosing into Hollywood Western styles.

So far we have traversed rolling hills and woodlands interspersed with sleepy villages, not dissimilar to Germany. But now we climb up onto a huge plateau and the land stretches as far as the eye can see to distant mountains. It's been farmed now, so wheat replaces grasslands mostly, but it's there to see. A plateau of prairie stretching for many a mile.

There don't seem to be any cowboys about at the moment. Maybe it's cowboy wakes week and they're all on holiday in Slovenia, but it's very beautiful.

The roadside crops have been interesting all morning. At Route 69 there was field after field of majestic hop poles in full flower. Then we climbed into the hills of Styria and wine country. Neat rows of grapevines striped the hills. In Slovenia and into Hungary it's maize field after maize field with the odd field of wheat thrown in.

The campsite here is great, all the usual facilities and only two camper vans here. We set up camp and go shopping.

It's been a seriously hot day, mid 30s on the road and the temperature is not dropping as the day wears on. After a shower we break an unwriiten rule (of ours) and ride the 2km to the local gas station/shop in shorts and t-shirts. Naughty!
Cherries for breakfast

I have to say something here about the price of stuff in Hungary. I already mentioned the price of gas. Now we buy beer at 70p a large can, a bottle of good Bull's Blood for £1.70 and a litre of fully synthetic motor oil for £5.60.


To quote Mick " I like Hungary. It's good and as cheap as f*cking chips"

We camp under some apple and pear trees. Nearby is a cherry full of ripe fruit. Coffee, porridge and cherries for breakfast methinks.

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