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Hungary photos and a story about kindness

Looking back my collection of Hungary photos I realize how lucky I was to have traveled there before mass tourism came. Here's a story how bad some people had it and where still happy to help an almost drowned cyclist. It was the first of many lessons on the road that when you really can use some help, help is on the way.

Cycling in Hungary
On of the few photos of myself on my old Rih bicycle

I had come from Pecs, the beautiful city in the south and was now back on my way north. The idea was to cycle north towards the Lake Balaton, in 1987 already a major tourist destination. Some compared it to a mid European Costa Del Sol. I however wanted to avoid that area.

My goal was ultimately Gyor where I would have a bus back home. Goal for the day was Dombovar, a city about 50km north of Pecs. Not a lot of kilometers but I wanted to spend the morning in Pecs, so I could cycle the afternoon north.


Balaton Lake
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On the way to Bukk and Matra Mountains East Hungary, at the pustas Pearl of Hungary, Budapest Fairytale caste Budapest

As it was in that particular journey it was hot. On arrival in Dombovar I found a camping, set up my tent and started to cook my meal and coffee. I wasn't really aware of other people at the campsite, there were certainly no other cyclists.

I went to bed and woke up in the middle of the night. Thunderstorm. Fortunately my tent was new and waterproof so I couldn't care much. My stuff was inside and the bike, well, it could do with a nice shower. Or so I thought.

In the morning I woke up and opened my tent. Ouch ... it was all mud. When I stepped out of the tent I immediately soaked in the mud ankle deep! It was still a little drizzling. I tried to pack up but I was not able to keep anything even remotely clean. Rolling up your tent in the mud is not an easy job, even if the tent is only 1.4kg.

Help however was on the way. Two lovely older East Germans called me for breakfast. They were traveling with a centuries old caravan.

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Pecs south Hungary East Hungary,  pustas Somewhere in the Bukk Mountains Budapest

The couple, in the 50's, told me they were on holiday. I asked if that was a problem. "well", the man said, "yes, I had to quit my job and in these uncertain times, it's doubtful if I can get another job when we come back". I asked them when they would go back. "When the money is gone!", he said and gave me another slice of bread and a cup of steaming coffee.

Festival in north Hungary

I showed them my Hungary photos. "Lovely", the lady said, "we might go south to Pecs and see how far we can go." By now I was comfortably warm again. Can I have one of your Hungary photos the lady asked. Sure, which one? Not those, one of you. I gave them. They had given me warmth, coffee and a couple of slices of bread while they had no idea how long they themselves could go on with their journey or where it even would end.

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Cycling in Hungary

My journey in Hungary was my first journey outside west Europe.