Wednesday, November 08, 2006


The day began very bleary eyed and sleepily with a 5:30am wake up, a quick breakfast and a 50km drive to a little village about 20km northwest of Lake Balaton. Heviz, the village in question, has Hungary’s most concentrated collection of thermal baths and has a sizable fitness resort located on the biggest of the hot springs. As we approached the town, the fog which uniformly carpeted the ground was raised about 30 metres over the hot springs. A fantastic sight, which I completely forgot to take a picture of. Arse. As we drove through the village and past the hot lake, I saw steam rising from the water and I mentally noted to take a picture of that.

As we approached, the main touristy looking building, situated on the lake, stuck out the most. However, it is more suited to summer conditions and wasn’t opened when we got there at 7am. I had the option to wait for the place to open at 7:30 and swim in the 23 degree outside lake, or join the Molnars inside for the 35 – 40 degree baths. As I was freezing my arse off then and there, I decided to join them. The building we went looked more like a hospital than it did a health spa, with Soviet overtones just to remind you who was in charge not so long ago. We paid our money, changed and hopped into the toasty but stinky hot baths. Imre had already booked in for a hot stone and massage treatment, but said that there was a slim possibility that I too could get a pummelling by one of the psych-nurse look-a-like Hungarian masseuses. He asked me to wait for him for about 20 minutes and if he didn’t come in that time that I had missed out on the massage and should explore the other pools. I agreed to wait around to see if there was an opening, Imre and his wife left and I promptly fell asleep in the pool. After what felt like 3 seconds, I was woken up by one of the lifeguards, regained my composure and made an expression that said, “No, I haven’t just been asleep for the past 10 minutes”. The place wasn’t nearly as varied as the one I went to in Budapest, but the water was warm and the wrinklies were quite friendly, a little too friendly. As I shifted from pool to pool, sampling the different minerals and temperatures, I got the distinct feeling that one of oldies (who by the looks of it, had had more facelifts than hot dinners), was following me. When I decided that I was a little tired of the water (and my new friend), I got out to explore the grounds. I changed, went to the cafĂ© and grabbed a coffee to wake up a little. As I was distracted by fiddling with my camera, permanent smile lady sat a few tables away from me, and as I looked up she gave me what I think was a smile different to that which was her constant. Time to go get a few photos outside.

I went out and by that time the nice day which was developing had scared away the mist on the hot water, removing any chance of getting a cool photo of that. Arse. Instead, I snapped happy for a few minutes, strategically hiding from smile lady when she exited the health clinic. I met a couple of Russians who asked me to take their picture for them in front of a statue. Unfortunately they couldn’t speak English and I don’t speak Russian, which meant I could ask them about getting friction from the locals based on where they were from. I went back inside and waited for the Molnars to finish up. In the car on the way back to Balatonboglar I fell asleep and had a weid dream about the Joker from Batman.

After lunch, Imre expressed his disappointment at not being able to secure me a massage at the clinic. So he phoned up one of the local masseuses and booked me in for that afternoon. One hour massage = 2500 Forint. Nice. By the time I returned to the house, I was so relaxed that I had almost forgot that Imre’s friend was coming over to show off his Trabant.


About 15 minutes after I got back from my massage, Tibot pulls up in his noisy little car and we go for a fang around the town. He tells me (through Imre), about some of the adventures he’s had in the car and educates me in the delicate art that is maintaining a Trabbi. We get to a secluded street and Imre asks me "you drive?" Perfect. Not only is this the first car I’ve driven in 9 months, it is also the first left hand drive car I’ve ever driven.

Here’s a little video documenting the experience. Link

He has owned it for 17 years since new and at the end of this year will be replacing it for a Berina. Poos and wees. He aims to sell it at the beginning of January for 100,000 forint (About $650 Aussie). Very tempting, as they are a cute car and this one is in good nick. But it’s one of the older 2-stroke models, and the likelihood of buying one of the rare 4-stroke variety is slim to none. Plus, the idea of getting a Skoda is still much more desirable. Luke Toop has signed on for next year’s Eastern Euro adventure.. and maybe even Dave B. That leaves one more seat. Any takers?

Tomorrow I ride to Zalaegerszeg, which is about 80km from Balatonboglar. Imre says it will be the best weather of all the week and a good road, so there will be no excuses when it comes to catching trains and any of that non-bike riding nonsense.

In other news:

Daniel, one of the Dutchlanders I met in Mongolia, sent me the link to his
blog, It'll be good to catch up with him and Kees again when i eventually make it to Holland.

Clara, one of the coolest Austrians I've met, just wrote something really nice for me. Her and her family are champs and it'll be fun to hang out with them in Berndorf again this December. With snow!!

The Fram, from space


Anonymous said...

Ja - I'll have some time next year from june to august... but don't need a seat - I've dis -->

best regards

Anonymous said...

Comments from Gram: 10/11/06.
"Just found today's blog [from Dan]. I love his adventures. He should write a book. Loved the one about the pig. We really enjoy the stories. He writes well, thanks for sharing them with us.
love Grandma, Grandpa and Kev. xoxo"

jo said...

cool images of the farm! I wish I could book a ticket / seat in ya car. Have you been to Egypt? Do you want to meet me there in April??