We were visited in the morning by the inhabitant of the little cabin we were parked next to.
Imran, who gave us a big bag of apricots and insisted on showing us how to get water from the well. It was a very impressive structure with the bucket splashing down at 50 m.
Hungarian is one of the hardest languages with nothing in common with English so our conversation with Imran was interesting. I think he extolled the virtues of the pure spring water and it did taste good. We told him that we were going to hike up around Badacsony and he made all the appropriate noises of admiration.
We headed up the north side on the web of narrow steep tracks that weave their way all over these hills, past some of the vineyards for which the area is famous.
Even though the mountain is relatively small and separated from the other wild areas by villages and farmland we came upon a big deer and there was loads of wild boar rootleing and diggings.
The well worn paths at the end of the farm tracks took us up through lovely woods rich in species
to a well constructed lookout tower at the peak.
With great 360′ degree views of the other 13 volcanic mountains of the area
and Lake Balaton itself stretching away into the distance big enough for the Hungarians to consider a sea.
There were many monuments to various people and events at the many viewpoints along the trails and some sported fine graffiti from back in the day when tagging took a bit more time and effort than the spray can wielding folk of today put in.
In a big loop around the top we discovered a couple of the old basalt quarries and read about how the monadnocks were formed and the different types of volcanic rock origins.
Of course we had to go foraging for volcanic bombs and holey-bubbly basalt or bread stones to add to our collection at home.
When we got back to the van Imran reappeared, this time with a bag of plums and damsons. We gave him a coffee with a good dollop of the “Missis” in it and he seemed genuinely sad when we told him we were going. We gave him all our Hungarian change and waved goodbye.
We were very hot again and needing a swim we drove to a quieter more downmarket bit of the lakeside to the west and found a simple campsite near the shore where the washing machine was soon in action and we went to the pay-as-you-enter beach.
Well, when I say beach I mean park really. But they are nice spaces with trees and flowers and grass is better than sand for lying around on. So after initially recoiling in horror from the tourist trap honeypot of Lake Balaton we learned to appreciate its peculiarities and wished it well.
The next day was our last in Hungary and we spent the morning doing what we’ve done a lot. Bobbing about in healing waters. These waters were at 35 degrees and were in the largest thermal lake in Europe at Hervis. The lake is fed by two springs gushing and mixing in cave 40m down and supplying so much hot water that the entire 4.4 hectares lake is replaced every third day. Set in a forest and park of over 50 acres the whole” wellness and therapy” complex with dozens of different treatments and massage on offer is owned and run by St Andrew Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases and is full of people floating about amongst the pink and purple waterllies.
In the centre was an enclosed pool full of the “healing” mud which amazingly also had loads of little fish in- and a duckling.
Sally got out pretty quick when she was approached by one of these
but it seems they were friendly enough so we carried on bobbing about with everybody else.
There was a big indoor pool in the centre of the lake, directly over the springs and these were the hottest of all.
But it was more fun out amongst the lillys. For about 100€ we could have had a stop cellulite package but unfortunately our time was up and we had to saddle up and head for the border, Slovenia bound.
Our visit to Hungary felt a bit short but we had a family get together to get to. We will think of the country as being full of natures bounty. In fruit and nuts and veg and berries. In timber and wood and lumber. In waters , hot , cool and mineral and in friendly unintelligible people.
After driving across miles of wheat prairies and forests we arrived in Slovenia to an afternoon thunderstorm. The cloudscraping mountains got nearer and nearer and finally we were amongst them at a tiny camp high up a valley in the eastern Slovenian Alps.
An eccentric place and owner who welcomed us with some wickedly strong liquor in exchange for the Irish flag we ve been carrying around.
We went down to the rushing river to cool off but it was freezing. Very different to the healing waters of Lake Heviz.