18 Augustus 2017
We left beautiful Budapest by train this morning. Hungarians call Lake Balaton their sea. It’s the local weekend and holiday destination and we happened to be there for Hungarian independence day weekend.
Ruzow booked our accommodation and was very proud that we came in right on budget. Especially being right on the lake. Well, well, well…
We got off the train and started our two kilometre journey in midday heat with backpacks and all. An hour later we learnt we were in the wrong village and that our accommodation is miles from the lake.
We caught a local bus to our village where our friendly hostess awaited us. Things only went downhill from there, I’m afraid.
Our accommodation is a boarding house for school children who go on sport camp in summer. Rooms with eight bunk beds each. And one bathroom for boys and one for girls, on the opposite side of the building from our room. We may use the kettle in the industrial kitchen area, but that’s all. The beds are homemade with cheap, thin foam mattresses. No air con and no fan. No towels either.
At the moment there are no school children. The last group left a few days ago. So they rent out the rooms to people who want cheap accommodation. Mmm… That means a lot of interesting characters!
We walked more than 5km to the lake and then had to pay entrance fees. By now it’s already late afternoon and we find it hard to pay for an entire day at a place we don’t really want to be at. (We prefer the quiet side, which is a long way from here.) But we are hot and in desperate need of a swim. So we pay and make our way to the lake with hundreds, if not thousands, of local holidaymakers. The water is not as clean and clear as we expected and there is black silty sand at the bottom. At least it’s nice and soft underfoot, even though it gets into everything.
Our friends told us to try langos at the lake, which is a traditional savoury donut (“vetkoek” for our South African friends and family) with garlic, sour cream and cheese. Not recommended for everyday nutritional dinner, but fabulous comfort food!
We walked about three kilometres to the next village and caught the local bus back to our boarding house. Nicely tired and with nothing to do in Köröshegy, we opted for an early night. Not a good idea!! Loud music, booze and a great deal of marijuana right outside our open windows made for a long sleepless night. We shall end our visit to Lake Balaton later this morning. Sometimes you cut your losses and move on swiftly. This shall be us in an hour or two. Back to beautiful Budapest.
– Mariza –
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