Updated: Nov 6, 2022
So now the Tata castles have fallen victim to the natural wonder of Feynes. At least we were able to prevent an overdose of the impressive Hungarian constructions. One last one is still on the plan anyway and apparently a must-see in Hungary, the internationally known Archabbey of Pannonhalma.
But first we make a detour to the rather unknown, but all the more photogenic Bokod, also called the "floating village". We first get into position nearby to meet our object of desire the following day in the warm morning light. Coming from Tata, our overnight stop is barely an hour south by Unimog and only about 15 minutes away from the modern pile dwellings of Bokod.
We are unsure how well and how close we can drive to the lake. But our concerns are here, once again, unfounded, because our juggernaut (FRAME) comes through everywhere, even on the smallest roads and trackways. Also a parking possibility is found in the twinkling of an eye and exactly there, where the star-shaped footbridges lead to the multicolored wooden huts. Photo-technically speaking, it's spot on.
We get to know Bela. He welcomes us as if we had been good friends for years and as if he had just been waiting for us on this sunny morning. This exuberant friendliness makes us almost skeptical, but Bela spontaneously invites us into his house and tells us the most important things about Bokod and his life on the water via a translation app. So now this Lake Bokodi is heated by the lignite-fired power plant across the lake. In other words, the lake is used as their cooling pond and thus the water temperature rises as a result of the waste heat from the power plant. How well nature copes with this we leave unanswered here. But nothing is "natural" here anyway, because the lake was dammed up 60 years ago especially for the mentioned purpose. The fact is that the lake never freezes in winter and the fish are probably already slightly " pre-cooked", which again saves cooking energy and is therefore fully in line with today's trend. In the cold season the lake Bokodi can therefore also steam nicely. A photogenic spectacle in itself. I think we should come back again in winter. Already because of Bela's hospitality this is probably a good idea. What made us Swiss almost uncomfortable at first, turns out to be just super nice Hungarian hospitality until the very end. Thank you Bela!
At noon we continue to Pannonhalma. The distances here are many times shorter than in Romania and today we will be able to see no less than three Hungarian attractions in one day. We can already see the mighty monastery from a distance of about ten kilometers. Our route leads us through tree-lined straight streets and finally up to the Martinsberg. For normal visitors there is a parking garage, for FRAME there is an open-air parking lot with a wide view of the valley. A short walk through the arboretum and herb garden and we are already at the entrance of the Benedictine monastery of Pannonhalma. What in earlier times served as a pharmacy for the monks, now houses rare herbs and shrubs directly in front of the monastery gate. The many young people in the monastery courtyard let us guess, a part of the Pannonhalma monastery today serves as a boarding school. Judging by the luxurious cars of the boarding school visitors, these children are not of "bad" parents. But our attention for the next two hours belongs to the monastery. To be precise, we were particularly drawn to the library. The neoclassical book room today contains about 400,000 pieces and scripts including the oldest document in Hungarian, the statutes of the abbey from 1055. As usual, it is of course forbidden to take pictures in such sacred halls. The picture provided here is therefore only an allegorical representation of what we might have seen....;-)
Last but not least, after the impressive tour on the Martinsberg, we drive to the district capital Győr. It is to be our last stop in Hungary and Hungarian goulash is still on my culinary list. We park in a large bus parking lot within 15 minutes walking distance of the old town. In cities we are usually very careful and prefer to park on campsites or monitored parking lots. Now let's not make a mistake and become unreasonable at the end of the trip, it flashed through my head briefly. As always, however, we listen to our inner voice and it says here and now: " That' s all right, it'll be fine here in Győr.
We walk leisurely over a dike parallel to the Mosoni Duna, the small Danube, and finally cross the Raab, which gave the city its name in German. There we are already at the Vienna Gate Square, on the edge of the old town. Our goulash hunt today takes us to Szegedi Halászcsárda, a TripAdvisor acclaimed restaurant with a Hungarian ambiance. Had we known beforehand that Halászcsárda translates to fish tavern, we probably wouldn't have ended up here. When we thought of Szeged, we only thought of the best paprika in Hungary and concluded that the goulash here should also be correspondingly good. Fortunately, one does not always know everything in advance. Although we are almost the only guests in the tavern, the food is really good. The cheese spaetzle side dish a little heavy, but overall we were quite satisfied, a crowning finale to our Hungarian adventure. The days are starting to get shorter and when we leave the restaurant it is already pitch dark. Time to return to our FRAME. The nightcap is at home.
The following day we explore this small town for real. We choose the slightly longer but actually more beautiful way across the small Danube, along the river and after about ten minutes over a mighty steel bridge into the pedestrian-friendly old town. In search of our favorite sweet, the Hungarian Baumstriezel, a.k.a. Kürtöskalacs, we stroll crisscross through the beautiful historic center of Györ.
Contrary to the unfavorable weather forecast it remains dry today, but for the season and location simply still much too cool. The photographic yield of our foray is limited despite the weather luck. Actually, we still have a few days until the end of our stay in Hungary, because our next appointment is just over the border, a promised visit to our new acquaintance from the Romanian winery LacertA.
Then the unexpected call from the Unimog garage in Burgenland. Our appointment from Monday is moved forward to tomorrow Friday seven in the morning. It is already 3 p.m. and we are more than undecided whether we should do this stress to ourselves. Especially since this workshop visit is "only" the first routine check and of course the repair of the air conditioning system. The uncertainty of how quickly we will get across the border here and whether we will be able to make it before nightfall make us hesitate for a few minutes. Then we take heart and decide to end our Hungary adventure with this. We drive off in the direction of Austria. Connie and Toni may forgive us for not visiting them. Hopefully it will work out later, at a get-together in Switzerland. In the meantime, rain has set in. However, we make good progress to the west.
At the border the official asks us, probably a bit confused by the unusual shape of our vehicle; "How heavy is this equipment". I swallow hard. Did he really call our dearest FRAME an " Equipment" now? For a few seconds I consider whether I should now lecture him about "the equipment" or simply ignore him. The fact is that there is a driving ban here for trucks over seven and a half tons. Numerous traffic signs point this out, as they don't want any heavy traffic at this border crossing here in Deutschkreutz. Since we are registered as a camper, I simply pull out my vehicle registration card to convince the border guard of my innocence. And lo and behold, this is what happens. Quickly, as always at the borders we have already passed on this trip, we are cleared here as well. Moreover, there is no border congestion at all. Now we are actually sure that we can make it to the garage in Hochneukirchen before nightfall.
The journey home through Austria will no longer be blogged in detail. In one sentence, we still have numerous wonderful experiences and great pitches. An overnight stay at the Silver Lake (unfortunately, Winnetou wasn't home ...) and the drive over the Grossglockner, 2'500m above sea level as well as a few days in beautiful weather in Salzburg were like an encore to the crowning finale of our maiden voyage.
Conclusion: Travel adventures, as we may experience them with our expedition vehicle, are unique, fascinating and inspiring. Therefore, for us "after the trip" is also "before the trip". No sooner have we arrived home in mid-October we are already drawn to faraway places again. Come with us on our next adventure, going to the Moroccan desert this winter.
Next Blog: 2.1 Departure to Morocco