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To Eger, Bukki Nemzeti national park in norteast Hungary

Home -> Europe -> Hungary -> Travelogue Hungary -> 23 & 24 June 2003

Monday 23 June, to Eger, Bukki Nemzeti national park in norteast Hungary

Going straight from Roznava to Eger is only 105 kilometers, but as you are maybe already used from us we take many detours and it takes us more than 300 kilometers.
Within one hour we enter Hungary, but we go directly north again, into the beautiful Aggteleki national parc. Above the ground are dense woodlands, underground are many extensive caves, made by rainwater dripping through the soft limestone and eroding it. The Baradla-barlang is the largest with a total length of 22 kilometers (also reaching into Slovakia).
Butterflies gatheringWe stay above the ground today, and enjoy the beauty of nature. When we have a coffee break we are surrounded by dozens of butterflies. We keep seeing them througout the day.
Then we are headed for the south, then to the northeast, through the hills of Zemplen (with mountaintops over 800 meters). It is still mostly woodlands, but all arable land is in use for viticulture. Many well known Hungarian wines come from this region. The villages look poorer than in Slovakia, but we have seen only a small part of that country.
Castle near BoldogkovaraljaOnce, we see a castle in the distance, at Boldogkovaralja. It was build in the 13th century, blown up by the Austrians, but has been renovated later and is now in use as a hotel.
We don't know any word in Hungarian when we order our first coffee, but we manage. We practise some Hungarian words, but we get no 'feeling' with them and cannot remember a single one. We had the same with Finnish, an associated language.
Church at Miskolc Church at MiskolcWhen we leave the hills, the landscape becomes more boring: small hamlets, villages with factories, all remnants of the Soviet time. We are heading for the next national parc, the Bukki Nemzeti, but first we have to go through Miskolc. There must be many monuments here, but it looks like a dirty and gloomy industrial town.
So we want to drive through quickly, but when we make a wrong turn, we suddenly see this beautiful wooden church, a real jewel in this city. West of Miskolc lies the recreation area Lillafüred, a very nice place with wells, caves and lots of woods. The road winds for another 50 kilometers through the woods towards Eger, our goal for today. We have seen lots of nature today and we can't tell you more about it, except that it was beautiful and we enjoyed it very much. You have to see it for yourself, walk through it or drive through it.
What a mess, after a few days!At 5 we arrive at the campsite and the first thing we do is empty the whole car. We have no idea where certain things are and have no overview at all. So it is time for a reorganisation. Life mainly consists of moving matter, a friend of ours once said.
And for people who are curious about the weather: it is sunny, sometimes a bit cloudy and at 5 in the afternoon it was still 27 degrees. Now, at 10 o'clock, we are still outside wearing a T-shirt. It gets dark at a quarter past 9, so we have a gaslight burning. Go away, midges......

Tuesday 24 June 2003, Eger and through the Bukki Nemzeti national park

We take a day off today, and we start very lazy: a long breakfast, reading a book and just doing nothing, just enjoying the warmth of the sun. Sometimes people remark that we seem to be spending so much time in the car, but we don't. But we don't like to stay on the camping all day or spend a whole day at the beach, we also want to see or do something. And concerning the driving: we take a lot of breaks, to have a picknick, just a cup of coffee or tea, or to walk around a bit and make photographs.
Now we also have some time to figure out the value of the HUF (Hungarian Forint); yesterday we had problems with it. After some calculating we find out that one HUF is the almost the same as one old Dutch cent! 100 HUF is an old Dutch guilder, or € 0,45. In Poland it was much easier, 4 Zloty is 1 Euro and in Slovakia 40 crowns make up 1 Euro. So here we first convert the amount into guilders, then into Euro's.
Lillafüred, HungaryAround noon we leave for a trip through the national parc, Bukki Zemzeti. It is only a small area but nevertheless there are mountains with a height of almost 1000 meters. It is very hot and we are glad we can drive through the shadow of the cooler woods. After a few hours we arrive at Lillafüred, where we went through yesterday. The pseudo-Gotic hotel (on the picture) dominates this village.
Waterfall at Lillafüred Waterfall at LillafüredWe wanted to visit some caves, but there are not enough people for a tour, so we settle for a walk through the neighbourhood. Next to the hotel is a path leading to these nice waterfall.
As soon as we stand still in the sun, sweat starts to dripple down from our faces. But when we drive back to Eger, the sky changes very suddenly. Thunder clouds appear in the sky and a firm wind starts to blow. It is nice that the heat also diminishes a bit.
Eger, Hungary Minaret at EgerBut the thunder doesn't really break out and when we arrive at Eger it is still warm. We make a walk through the town centre which is filled with buildings in baroque and classicism style. It is nice to walk around, but we don't find it very impressive.
Eger was once a Turkish town but almost nothing of that time has survived, except for this lonely and freestanding minaret. There is nothing left of an oriental ambience, in spite of what our travel guide tells us.
Popular theatre in Eger, HungaryBut when we sit down for a drink, we are surprised by some sort of medieval popular entertainment. Artists with puppets are being led by Hungarian music and dance to perform a play. We couldn't understand any of it, but we think it was about the battle between the Hungarians and the Turks. They really made an attractive spectacle out of it.
Meanwhile the sky has turned blue again and we have a nice evening outside at the campsite. Tomorrow we want to visit Budapest, but first we have to prepare us a bit for that city and read something about it.


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