Monday, November 7, 2016

Kektura: Budapest to the Danube

I and Balazs
My zero day in Budapest was a real highlight of this trip and this is mainly due to this guy: Balazs. He is the only Hungarian who has thruhiked the AT so far and he had found me through my blog. When I had posted here that I was planning to hike through Eastern Europe he had offered me his help and invited me to stay with him and his wife in Budapest. I very happily accepted his offer and met in Budapest Nyugati train station. We immediately connected well - no surprise with two thruhikers! Eventually I had found someone whom I could ask all the questions I had about Hungary - and Balazs answered them all very patiently.

Dessert at Getto Gulyas
And he took me to two really cool places: First we went to Rudas spa, thermal baths right in downtown Budapest. From the hot tub on the roof of the building you can look down onto the Danube and the bustling city while soaking in 36 C water! In the evening Balazs treated me to dinner in a very hip place called Getto Gulyas. "Getto" because it is located in the old Jewish ghetto and "Gulyas" because it serves traditional Hungarian food. The serve a stew made out of roosters' testicles and combs! I did not dare to order that (which I now regret) but had at least bone marrow on toast as a starter.

View from Dobogo-Ko (699 m)

I left Budapest on a Friday and decided to shortcut the Kektura a bit which makes a big loop down to the outskirts of Budapest. The area north of Budapest is downright hilly, very pretty - and was swarming with people on a sunny weekend. In two days I saw more people than on the entire Kektura before and after!

Danube at Visegrad
And the weather continued to be nice when I crossed the mighty river Danube on ferry full with Hungarian cyclists and Japanese tourists with selfie sticks. I detoured a bit from the Kektura to follow the river - first high above on the river banks and than later on the Danube bike path. And I started thinking again of my plan to paddle the entire Danube one day.....

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