Hainburg an der Donau, Bratislava, Papa, Esztergom, Budapest
101 days away
225 miles / 362 km since last post
5,848 miles / 9,411 km total
Groan, what a terrible pun! If you guessed that Stuart is writing this entry then you are indeed correct.
We awoke on the Saturday and decided that the best way to get into Bratislava would be by bus. The train timetables were too confusing; there are multiple stations for Hainburg and I couldn't quite work out which one we were closest too. In the end a brief look at the town website revealed the bus timetables - every hour to Bratislava, taking 20 minutes. The bus stop was a short 5 minute walk away, so that was decided.
Almost as soon as we left the van to catch the bus it started raining! Oh well, the bus was (more-or-less) on time and it was only €1.50 each to Bratislava - a fare that makes First Bus look like the rip-off they are. The journey was without incident, no border crossing check or problems. We alighted the bus on the south side of the new bridge and walked across into the old town. There seemed to be a large number of street police on duty - it became clear later that there was some kind of event taking place in one of the side squares.
Bratislava itself seemed nice enough. A lot smaller than I imagined - you can walk around the old town in well under an hour. Our visit was interspersed with the odd shower here and there but it was nonetheless an enjoyable day. If you ever need to buy a "Slovakia Drinking Team" t-shirt or frequent a "Fully Nude Waitress Casino" then Bratislava has you covered.
We returned home on the same tickets we had bought in the morning. Apparently we had forgot to validate the tickets when we bought them, meaning they were still usable. A little naughty, but it saved us €3. As Tescos' motto goes "annihilate local shops and destroy livelihoods"... no wait, I mean "every little helps".
We awoke the next day and decided to drive into Hungary. The journey to Budapest looked quite long, so we found a stop around halfway in Papa and set off.
Well, we tried to set off.
As it turns out, charging your laptop from the vehicle battery for two days is enough to flatten it to the point where you can't start the engine - whoops. After several failed starts it was clear that we were going to need some assistance. As we were parked up near a cafe I figured it was worth asking for some help in there. No less than 10 minutes later we had the van started, thanks to the chef who kindly offered up his vehicle battery to our jump leads (I knew it was worth bringing those leads).
After a reasonably long drive on some very bad roads we arrived in Papa - a five star camp site with all the trimmings.
We then spent the next few days relaxing, watching movies, getting massages and posting nonsense on Facebook. All part of the new regime - taking time out to do nothing and to recuperate from travelling.
On the last night there I am afraid to write that I had to call out an ambulance for Sarah. Put it this way, I now know the Hungarian for kidney stone. After an injection of the hard stuff she was a lot more comfortable. I was given a prescription to pick up some more pain medication - £1.20. Thanks to our EHIC card the ambulance call out was free. The next day the pain subsided and Sarah was feeling well enough to drive.
We made our way towards Esztergom to check out the Basilica and Castle. We found the Basilica easy enough (you could see it from 5 miles away!) but had a bit of trouble trying to work out where the castle started and ended. It was a pleasant enough visit, but I feel we might be getting a little to used to seeing amazing religious architecture. I am trying my best to photograph other things, promise!
After being stuck in traffic for 10 miles outside of Budapest we made it to our camp site in the 9th District. €16 a night - all inclusive, and only 5 stops on the metro to the old town centre.
Hopefully, pain depending, we shall visit Budapest tomorrow.