Sign up your free travel blog today!
Username: Password:
Our Blog Our Photos Our Diary Our Movies Our Map Message Board
Buy Gift Voucher

The Filthy Lucre Tour
Our pitch at Campsite Horrible
12th Jun 2006 - 15th Jun 2006
Budapest; Croatia

I've given up on the more pithy titles again as I can't think of one. Perhaps I'll alternate.

We were intending staying at our Hungarian campsite for two nights, but we decided it was a little too unpleasant and the fact that it had nowhere to empty a chemical toilet rather made up our minds when we discovered ours to be full. Up, up and away to Budapest, where we were to meet my sister Joanna. We elected to stay in Fortuna Camping, near Torokbalint, just to the west of the city itself. I can't entirely work out whether the campsite owner hated me from the start or had a rather dry sense of humour, but the first time I walked into reception he made a large fuss about having had to give up eating his dinner in order to serve me, and the second time I woke him up from the sound sleep he was having on his sofa. The third time I swear he deliberately misheard my request for bus passes and forced me into buying three loaves of bread after accidentally nodding frantically and saying "yes" to the wrong thing. As we left he deliberately said "three nights, yes?" whilst writing down only the correct two, apparently "just to see if I was paying attention". I like to think we left on rather good terms when I tried to sneak a 200 Forint note past him as a 2000, just to see if he was paying attention. "Ha ha ha", he bellowed, "I learn from you, you learn from me!".

Joanna successfully collected, we elected the next day to visit Budapest. It's a very attractive city, and if you ignore the state of the roads, very pleasant to travel around. The public transport system (both above and below ground) is extensive and reliable and so we spent a pleasant day bumbling around town. In the castle district there was a hum of excitement as a flotilla of "PRESS" minibuses and a wide selection of police vehicles drove past us and parked up. We asked around a little to see which foreign dignitary or figure of note might be visiting, but we all failed to elecit very much apart from Joanna, who managed to get a ten minute lecture from a nice Hungarian lady who'd misunderstood our question and thought we meant the statue we were standing in front of. Or perhaps she'd rightly decided that it was a much better thing for us to be interested in.

In the afternoon we went to the Thermal Baths. I sadly still have no idea whether the Thermal Baths contain water which is heated naturally but I can't believe they do, as the temperature in the warmer one was a mind-boggling 37 degrees. This is really quite warm, and exceedingly pleasant. I'm a big fan of warm baths (fortunately my proof-reading prevented that going into print as "warm bats") and this was great - about 1.5m deep and as warm as a nice warm bath. In fact it felt a good deal warmer than that once you'd been in the colder pool and out again. We stayed there for three times the recommended twenty minutes and then sat like listless prunes in a nearby cafeteria trying to regain enough energy to eat dinner.

Oh yes, I meant to mention. We now have a plan which doesn't include travelling through countries where we have no car insurance. We're skipping Romania and instead heading west, to end up in Venice next weekend, from where we can get an overnight ferry to Patra, in the Peloponese, a mere three hours' drive from Athens. I hate sleeping on ferries, but this one has something called "camping on board" where you're allowed to stay in your caravan and use the ferry facilities. They even have water and electricity for you, apparently. No doubt they place you so close to the engine rooms that you'll wish to god at 4am that you opted for a sweaty ferry cabin instead, but we shall see. Report to follow, no doubt.

This means that we're skipping some of the more interesting countries (Romania and Bulgaria mainly), but upon further investigation there didn't seem to be a lot we could do about the car insurance. I'll have a while in Greece (with the internet) to look into it, so we'll maybe be able to catch them on the return journey. On the upside it means we get to visit Croatia, which we've always been keen on.

We were intending to stay at Lake Balaton for a day or so on the way down to Croatia, but a chat with a Belgian gentleman at our Budapest campsite put us off slightly, as he thought it was more touristy than Disneyland. We opted instead to drive all the way to Croatia in a day, stay near Zagreb and then the next day head to the coast.

This is what we did, and this is where we are. From where I sit a man barely stronger than I could throw a stone into the Adriatic. Croatia looks and feels very like Greece, except that the roads are much better quality having felt the benefit of some healthy post-war reconstruction. As far as camping goes, Croatia is very well-developed - some of the largest sites in Europe are here, though a very large number of them are nudist. Most of the visitors appear to be German, along with the inevitable Dutch who seem to get everywhere.

Kiki and Joanna spent the day sunning themselves; I was burned by about 10am and so spent the day finishing off Lolita (separate article, for those interested). This evening we're intending heading into nearby Rovinj for some drinks and food.

We're leaving Joanna on Friday night at Ljubljana and, very handily, picking up my ex-colleague Ed, who appeared to be landing on the same Easyjet flight that Joanna is departing on. At the moment we're not entirely sure whether we'll camp near LBJ or bring Ed back down to Croatia, but being wild people of leisure we have plenty time to decide.

It's strange now to see an end in sight for this particular part of the trip - a week today I'll be in Greece getting ready to fly to China and climb up mountains. I had a last-minute desperate flurry of equipment-finding - some of it I bought in a local shop, but most of it came from the internet. It's strange to be sitting in thirty-degree heat on the beach ordering water-bottle warmers, balaclavas and down-lined underwear.

Next: Slovenia and Italy with Ed
Previous: Book Review: Lolita (Vladimiar Nabokov)

Diary Photos

Our pitch at Campsite Horrible

Pitch at Fortuna Camping


Rae Family Caravanning

Joanna cooking

Pitch near Zagreb

Pre-marital bliss

Me with a pot on my head


The car`s 100,000th mile

Our pitch at Camping Vestar

Croatian sunset

Jo and I in a Croatian sunset

Croatian sunset

Joanna`s "scampi" turning out to have legs

1176 Words | This page has been read 266 timesView Printable Version