Tour05 Day 25

A beach on Lake Balaton

I'm the town of Balatonfured in a hot room in a hotel right on Lake Balaton tonight. When the wind blows it is OK in here - I have both windows wide open. When the wind doesn:t blow, it is too hot. I think it will be OK later tonight and one of my windows even has a screen - a rarity in Europe - so I'll be able to get some air even when I need to turn the lights on. When I got to bed, I'll have both windows wide open and, sometime during the night I'll close at least one of them. It was hot here today, but it will cool down tonight.

You know you are in Hungary when you see place names like that!

My ride was good, actually better than I expected because I wasn't riding on the Great Hungarian Plain as I thought I would be. It wasn't long after I left Lenti that I was reminded that this part of Hungary is hilly, even though both north and south of here is plain. Something about climbing a steep hill only to descend and climb another steep hill, over and over, got me thinking that, despite the fact that I had been riding on the plain for the last several hours of my ride yesterday, I wasn't going to be riding on a plain today!

This is not a plain

There was a lot of climbing and descending for the first part of my ride. The road was curvy, the vegetation was varied, my legs were getting tired, and the riding was much more fun than I expected. It was about 65 km to Keszthely, the first, and biggest, town on the north side of Lake Balaton. About 50 km of that was hilly riding. There were, relatively short, 10% grades, and one hill even had a passing lane. It was pretty country and nice riding.

Roughly half way to Keszthely
That is a short 10% grade
Note the redundant signs!
Hungary put km markers that count down to the next major place on the road
They even put them next to signs that dispay the same information...

Coming down from the hills onto a flat area before the Lake
You can see part of the lake in the center of this image

When I got into Keszthely, I saw a sign for the Lake Balaton Bike path. The sign didn't have those words on it, but, even in Hungarian, I can recognize a bike symbol and I've seen the Hungarian word for bike path enough to recognize it. I followed the signs and found the start of the path. There, a sign listed two destinations, one 3 km away and the other 60 km away. Although the 60 km destination was not Balatonfured which was my destination, I figured 60 km of lake bike path would get me close to where I wanted to go. It did, even if it didn't turn out to be quite as simple as I hoped. Most of my riding from that point on was on bike paths

The start of the Balaton Lake Bikepath

The path, the railroad, the lake, and the others side of the lake

The first 20 km or so of bike path parallels the railroad tracks. Most of the rest parallels highway 71 which is the main road along the lake. even where the path parallels the road, it is legal to ride on the road. A couple of jerks today blew their horns at me when I was on the road because they thought I should be on the path. I figure they were Germans here on vacation, since I experience that same rude behavior many times in Germany. I called them ass***es as I smiled and waved ;-). Most of the time when the bike path was next to the road, I did use it, but sometimes it was too boring, or too bumpy, or too full of things other than bicycles.

The path paralleling the road

The lake, from the path

Looking across the middle part of the lake

There were places where the bike path disappeared or just went farther away from the road than I cared to go. I did follow it down to near the lake a couple of times. Usually I could not see the lake from the path, but once it actually ran right along the edge of the water for a hundred feet or so. Most of time when it was near the water, the waterfront was a series of parks and recreational areas. A few of those were public beaches, but many required payment to use the beach. There were lots of services in those areas, but they were for the beach, and not accessible from the bike trail. A few sections of the trail did go trough service areas and, of course, you could always ride on the road and find services there. There was at least one 10 km section on the way here where the bike path simply did not exist.

When I got to Balatonfured - there is an umlat over that 'u' - I stopped to check my Lonely Planet for recommended Hotels. I stopped at the first one of those I came to, The Uno. It really isn't pricey for a place right on the lake - about 45 Euros with breakfast - and, after an initial encounter with a security person that wanted me to leave my bike out of my sight while I registered, the place is bike friendly. There are a LOT of bicyclist in this part of Hungary.

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