Rural Hungary

Old Feb 1st, 2001, 08:11 PM
  #1  
Steve
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Rural Hungary

We plan to travel to Budapest in late September, hire a car and see a bit of the countryside. Any thoughts about destinations (and time of year)? Eger sounded good; if there are other spots nearby for history, local culture and photos, I'd love to know about them. Thanks for the warnings about the Vienna hydrofoil. We'll go by train. Also, does anyone know of a train/bus service from Budapest to Ljubljana in Slovenia? Thanks.
 
Old Feb 2nd, 2001, 01:26 AM
  #2  
s.fowler
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Drivesouth to Pecs, a smallish delightful city nestled in the Mecsek hills. It is 3 hrs on the train. No idea of the time on the road. Then after you enjoy the museums, the cathedral, the walking street, the food and if you are so inclined walks in the surrounding hills. Bus service goes to the TV tower and there are trails in the area. Then drive a very short distance further south and make four stops [this is an easy one day trip] First stop in Mariagud at the church which is a bit of a local "Lourdes", then to Siklos, which is a small medieval castle on a hill overlooking the region. Don't miss the castle and the lace museum. Then on to Villany to hop through the wine cellars [which line the small main street] Name a designated driver because Hungary is very strict on it's driving laws. OR I *did* see a small pension - no idea how good - you could spend the night. [It would be a very quiet one though.] Then onthe way home stop at the Villany outdoor sculpture park -- this is an exhibit of large stone sculptures made from the local quarry and exhibited in that quarry. It's not well kept up, but some of the work is pretty neat and it offers good views of the countryside. Here are some of my pictures of the region: http://www.geocities.com/shrimp56/pe.../pecs-vie.html
http://www.ntsource.com/~dhfsbf19/europe98/villany.htm
http://it.uwp.edu/fowler/siklos/siklos.htm

[and once again. NO. The Elvira isn't *our* Elvira.]
 
Old Feb 4th, 2001, 08:51 AM
  #3  
Art
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Try lake Balaton about 70 m south of Budapest. It is the largest lake in central Europe and has an average depth of 8 feet. Gets very warm in the Summer and is a beautiful area. I love Hungary and I wish you a great trip.
Arthur.
 
Old Feb 4th, 2001, 09:09 AM
  #4  
Sue
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We took the train from Budapest to Szentendre. It was only about a 40 minute ride to this charming "old world" village. It is right along the Danube. The cost round trip was about $3.00!
 
Old Feb 4th, 2001, 10:43 AM
  #5  
Ben Haines
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Fodors

Eger is indeed beautiful, and the tiny railway runs into the little visited hill country to the north. The Senator hotel is a model of hospitality, right on the central square.

I second S Fowler's good idea of drives, or bus or rail trips, around Pecs. If you're feeling reflective you might carry on by local train to the Danube at Mohacs, the site of the battle where Hungary lost to the Turks, and started two centuries of Turkish occupation. It's just a field, but to me it's deeply sad.

Mr Hussey points to Lake Balaton, and it is indeed a striking place. But through the summer it is crowded, and the southern shore is brash -- fine if you like partying. So I'd say go twenty miles north or south of the lake, and you're well placed. On the shore itself one of my favourite places in all Europe is Keszthely. You'll see detail if you put "Keszthely travel" into http://www.yahoo.co.uk. There are two fine museums, cheap hotels, and beautiful young ladies in hot pants that are not good for my blood pressure.

Szentendre is another good direction, but I'd go a bit further, beyond the day trippers. Tata and Tatabanya look good in the Blue Guide, but I've not seen the countryside round about.

As Noel Coward says of Norfolk, very flat, Hungary. You wouln't go there for hills, but if you want a change you'd drive or take the bus in high hills between Miskolc, a dull city, and Sarospatak, a fine town with castle, church, and Tokay wine served by the glass in any tavern.

Everywhere I've listed is on the train, including Miskolc and Sarospatak, but between them you need a bus. When I say on the train, I don't mean the Orient Express, but often little runabouts of two or three cars that stop every two miles, often at bare platforms without a dwelling in sight, but with waiting passengers.

The reference library of a city near you may have the Thomas Cook European Timetable. Table 92 shows that you can leave Budapest at 0750 on the Drava restaurant car ecpress, or leave Keszthely at 0947 with a change at Balaton St George,and reach Ljubljana at 1550. A later day connection, with no catering, is Budapest 1005 or Kesthely 1235, change at Zagreb 1605 to 1804, Ljubljana 2035. I'm afraid there's no overnight train, though with a couchette or sleeper and a picnic on the Venezia Express you can leave at 1735 (or Kesthely at 1930) and reach Ljubljana at the ungodly hour of 0310.

If I may echo Mr Hussey, I love Hungary and I wish you a great trip. Please write if I can help further.

Ben Haines, London

 
Old Feb 4th, 2001, 11:56 AM
  #6  
s.fowler
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Szentendre is lovely and I recommend it highly. It can be done easily, as the previous poster indicated, as a day trip from Budapest. Lake Balaton is a very popular destination for a longer trip. I'm "pushing" Pecs because it is pretty nifty and seem to be off of most people's radar.
 
Old Feb 4th, 2001, 12:07 PM
  #7  
s.fowler
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Ben Haines is "spot on" per usual. The great plain part of Hungary IS very flat. That's why the Mecsek Hills near Pecs are such a lovely surprise
 
Old Feb 28th, 2001, 05:40 PM
  #8  
William Szabo Verzoc
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Has anyone been to Szeged or the Aggtelek caves? I'm curious whether I should my time in Hungary to go there.
 
Old Mar 1st, 2001, 09:59 AM
  #9  
Ben Haines
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Fodors

This correspondemnce has expanded beyond rural Hungary to provincial Hungary, but there's no harm in that.

I'm afraid I can't help on the caves, but I have indeed been to Szeged. I liked it a lot. It's not old. There was a great flood in 1889, and they had to rebuild the whole city. This they did, on the pattern of a fan, with a fine town square at its heart, and the river a block away. It so happened that this was a time of Hungarian pride over their history and wealth, so was a great time for proud Baroque building, well ornamented, on a stout scale, but not at all overwhelming. The style reigns throughout, to make a rational, cheerful, welcoming city. Szeged has good churches and synagogues, and two museums, but that's not the point: the point is strolling and coffee. As anywhere in Hungary, you eat well and the local wines are worth detailed investigation.

I used and liked the two-star Tisza Hotel, 15 US dollars a night for a single room and 20 for a double, with bath down the corridor, or half as much again with a bath en suite.

I'm surprised at myself. As a railway lover I ought roundly to condemn a city which saw its main railway bridge washed away in 1879 and has never rebuilt it. But no doubt they'll get round to the bridge in a few years, when they're inside the European Union and piling up the income again from their savoire-faire. Did you know that in 1985, during the Cold War, the IBM contract to write software for word processing in Arabic lay with a Hungarian firm ?

Please write if I can help further.

Ben Haines, London
 

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