Day 5 – Saturday 29th of June – Budapest (0km)
Biker Camp is, as the name says, a campsite for bikers and cyclists in the center of Budapest.
It was founded by Zsolt Vertessy, a biker himself, who sadly died in an accident in 2004. The place has been run by his widow ever since, and offers a space to camp, toilets and showers, a washing machine, cooking facilities, wifi, tools, a self-service bar and the chance to meet fellow bikers. It is six underground stops from the city centre and is a great place to spend a few days.
I got here at about half past six in the evening and was shown into the camping space by the owner. There is room for about ten or twelve tents plus the bikes, but there was only another tent, which belonged to a Norwegian family who are on a cycling holiday.
I chatted with them over breakfast today and they told me they flew all their gear to Venice and are cycling back home from there, doing from 50 to 60 kilometres a day… with two kids! The youngest is only seven years old. When I think that most people back in Spain say that you can practically do nothing once you have had children…
After breakfast I took the underground, which is a couple of streets from the camp and went to explore Budapest.
The city is as beautiful as I expected from the tales of all the people I know who have been here before me, and today the weather was wonderful, which meant that I was a bit too hot at times!
I spent the whole morning walking around the city, exploring the most popular places and taking lots of pictures, and by lunchtime I went a bit off the tourist trail in search of a good place to eat. I found a small pub where I had a full traditional Hungarian meal for only 11€ – A very spicy paprika sauce to spread on bread, goulash soup, paprika chicken with cream, salad, coffee, traditional Hungarian bread, an enormous apple pie, and a pint of local beer. Delicous! The climb to the citadel was quite hard after that…
I was thinking that there were very few tourists in the city, until I reached the top of the hill and ran into an army of Japanese sun-allergic tourists hiding under their umbrellas and huddling together near their respective guides, seemingly afraid of getting very lost if they wandered too far on their own.
After spending some time there and taking some more pictures, I went back down into the centre and decided to explore the non touristy neighbourhoods between the centre and the place where I was staying. Not far from where most tourists were, the streets changed quickly and I was in an area of run down buildings with a very high proportion of drunkards, homeless people and very dodgy looking characters.
I put the camera back into its bad, as it was the only thing giving me away as a tourist, as my clothes are quite simple (I can’t really carry much) and the cropped hair and growing beard seemed to blend in quite well. I stopped at a small fruit shop to get some oranges and apples and then got the underground for the last three stops, because my feet were killing me. I was glad to have spent the day walking for a change, but I would not know what is more tiring…
This has been a shorter post than the previous ones, I will let the pictures do the talking here. By the way, since this is a blog, and not a photo album, I will be posting extra pictures on the Facebook page, so if you are interested, you can see them there.
Here’s a selection: