Archive for the ‘Hungary’ Category

History and wine

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

As I have written in my previous post, at the beginning of the month we took a short holiday visiting Hungary. We have spent the last day&night of the short trip in a very important city of Hungary: Eger. Eger is famous for its historic fortress which stood ground for quite a long time against the Turkish invasion from the east. Another quite important ‘feature’ of the city are its famous wine cellars located at the northern part of the city. We decided (well a part of us) to visit both sites.
First we visited the old fortress on the top of the hill close to the center of the city. The déjà vu feeling quickly took me over as I entered the lower gates of the fortress, because this was my second time visiting it. The first time I visited the Eger Castle was when I was very little, so I did not remember everything well. I guess it was a good moment to refresh my memory 😉 .
Due to the cold weather of the winter season, the castle looked quite deserted. Only a few tourists were hanging around looking at the walls, the cannons and the panoramic view of the city from the top. Nevertheless, there was enough activity to pay a tour guide to present a little bit of history, while escorting a small group around the castle. We decided to join this group: the entry fee was 700 forints (~€2.20), which is a reduced fee for lucky people like me, who are at most 26 years of age 😀 (The full fee is 1400 forints ~€4.43). To top this, I payed a little extra photo-fee, which allowed me to take photos. The photo-fee costs 1000 forints (~€3.17). The trip included a visit to the heroes-hall, a short trip to the site of the old cathedral and a long walk in the castle-s casemate-s. Spiced with a few animated cannons and fire-wheels, the tour was very entertaining and of course the guide provided a lot of useful information about the history of the castle.
After the guided tour we payed an additional visit to the castle-s picture gallery, presenting a few quite remarkable paintings made by various artists.

Now, the fun part: as I have written in the introduction, we have scheduled a “wine-stroll” for the evening, visiting the wine-cellars of Szépasszonyvölgy (Valley of the Beautiful Woman). In this valley there are a number of cellars (60+) lined-up in the form of a horseshoe, which are open for visitors who’d like to taste the local wine-specialties (e.g. Egri Bikavér) made by different local wine-makers. The prices for 100ml of the same wine at different cellars range from 100 forints to 800 forints (and the quality is also according to that, so weigh the options carefully). Also there is a possibility to eat some snacks, like greased bread with onions (or chips or bakery or whatever you like), just to make sure all that wine does not get into your head 😉 . There is an option to buy a bottled version of the wine you like: all wine cellars provide this possibility, so don’t miss out this opportunity 😉 .

The day we spent in Eger was very eventful, so I guess staying there for 1-2 days would be a treat for anyone…

Some photos will follow, as soon as I get to a decent internet connection to upload them… Done.


A weekend of well-being

Monday, December 19th, 2011

December the 1st is a national holiday in Romania. This year it fell on a Thursday. What do you get when you combine this with a Friday taken as a day off? You get a four day mini-vacation 😀 . The only problem was: it was December, quite cold, but not cold enough to have snow. So what do you do on such a mini-vacation? Well, the neighboring country, Hungary, has a solution: wellness-spa weekends. Our target was Zsóry Spa, near Mezőkövesd, a small town in Hungary, which offers such solutions. Specifically we targeted Balneo Hotel Zsori, which offered great packages for the weekend.
Balneo Hotel Zsori
Although the place is not spectacular, the four star hotel itself was quite modern, so accommodation was great, I have nothing bad to say about it. The thing that I would like to emphasize, however, is the breakfast and dinner-buffet which was included in the package. I must say it was quite rich with a lot of meals to choose from. Everything was well made and tasty, so this was a huge plus for the overall stay quality.

Apart from eating and sleeping, the main activities of the day were mostly water related: swimming, enjoying the thermal-spa and of course a rich sauna-world. With this experience I can officially say, that staying in the sauna for more than 10 minutes is not my thing… Among the ‘great’ activities which are part of the sauna-world facilities, there was an intense eucalyptus/ice sauna show. That was my all-time ‘favorite’. As much as I enjoyed the nearly boiling hot air, which could theoretically burn a few hundred calories in half an hour, I decided to leave after 10 minutes of ‘well-being’ and went to the gym instead… much better 😉 .

With different swimming pools, mostly indoors (there was one which was partly inside, partly outside), with the water temperature ranging from 26 to 38 °C, the hotel was moderately equipped. I can really imagine this small area of swimming pools quickly getting overcrowded. For the period we were there, there was luckily no such problem. There was a reasonable amount of guests, but the area never got too overcrowded, so we could enjoy the relaxing bubbling of the water or the water-jets installed to massage our body.

All in all I can say it was a good, relaxing weekend. Although I felt much more tired at the end of it, I can honestly say I would like to do this again some time…


Problem solved

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

In one of my older post I have written about my trip to Slovenia. I also mentioned a fine that I received from the Hungarian Police. Well, so far I was not able to pay that fine for various reasons. Since I pretty much passed the deadline for paying (30 days) I did not do what I can do.
Hungarian Police
I searched different posts on the internet about what there is to be done. There are different views about this, most of the people did not pay the fine, because they thought the Hungarian police will not be able to track Romanian cars/citizens. Well, I did a simple check: I wrote an e-mail to the Hungarian police dept. of the county where I received the fine (Zala county), asking for info on how to proceed and if there is any additional fine for being late.

Surprise, surprise, they have replied in a quite polite way, describing exactly what I have to do, what I have to complete in order to successfully pay the fine. They even sent the ID of the fine, which I have to use for paying (which I eventually found on the ticket I received also, so they CAN track you). They did not mention any additional charges, so I guess I can simply pay the original fine as they indicated.

So, in conclusion: The Hungarian police CAN track you. If you are unsure on how to pay your fine from outside Hungary, send them a mail, they can help you 😉 .


802 km… and back

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

First I have to say I am sorry for the long time span during which my blog has been in the same state. Think this is what happens when someone goes on vacation for a week before another busy week at work.

So… where was I? Well, I went skiing. And this post is going to tell the first part of my experiences (Yuppieeee, back to posts about traveling 🙂 ). In this post I would like to talk about the road to our destination: Maribor, Slovenia. About Maribor and the ski-slopes I will tell in the next part of this double article. That story requires a bit more writing and my fingers right now are not suitable for that great task… In this article I am going to talk about something much more important than the skiing itself: how to get there? (After all, there is no skiing if you can’t get to the slopes).

Since I decided to go by car, I had planned a simple route using Google maps. This is what the plan looked like:

This meant a simple drive from our sluggish roads until I got to the Hungarian highways. From there on it was a piece of cake. I must say the Hungarian highway system is quite good (so far I have tried driving on M1, M3, M35, M7 and M70). The roads are new, consequently still good and the traffic was always acceptable. What I didn’t like was the fact that Budapest’s highway-ring was… well, practically unusable: M0 has such a big radius, that it is better to use one of the inner circles and drive through the city. I also noticed the annoying fact, that after entering from Slovenia (M70->M7) if you do not buy a vignette in Slovenia, you have to drive for a couple of kilometers until you find a place to buy a vignette (basically driving illegally in that period).

After Hungary, the portion which worried me a bit was the supposed break of the Slovenian highway (A5). On Google maps it looked like this (I made a snapshot because this might change soon):
Slovenia A5
I have actually printed the map in high detail in case I got lost on the side-roads which connect the two loose ends of the highway. When I got there, surprise-surprise: the A5 was ready entirely and I just had to follow it until Maribor (shame on you Google 😛 )

A few more things about prices:
Hungary: Vignette for 4 days: is 1170HUF (€4.5 or 18RON). Despite this fact, I have payed cash at the entry in Hungary from Romania and they told me I can use RON, too. I was not paying attention to the conversion and they charged me 30RON for the vignette (nice busyness…). A small fine (like forgetting to turn the lamps on, after re-fueling and driving like that for a few kilometers): 10000HUF (~€35 – if you can explain yourself to the policeman). The gas price was around €1.14 (at a Shell pump).

In Slovenia I payed for the Vignette for 7 days €15. I did not have to re-fuel so I have no idea on fuel prices, but I am guessing a little over the Hungarian prices.