October 3, 2012 – After a lazy day in Baja we leave early in the morning on 3 October to reach Szeged on time – it is Johan’s birthday. The day begins quiet with very long and lonely streets and hardly any cars on the way. On the map we see that we will only pass six villages on our 120km journey. Following a rest-day it always cycles easier, also when riding through unspectacular landscape. Today the landscape is getting even more boring, since the harvest has been brought in, so there are mainly empty fields with dark soil.
The closer we get to Szeged the nicer the area gets: we are passing vegetable gardens where they grow a lot of different things now, such as cabbage, melons, and hot peppers, fields and fields of pepper, ready to be harvested. The houses are getting bigger and are nicely decorated again and the area gets lively with more people on the streets and a few cars passing.
Getting into Szeged isn’t really easy because we have to cycle about 5km on a national road which is extremely busy and doesn’t have a shoulder. But we’ll manage and the last kilometers into town we can use the bike-path again. And suddenly everybody cycles. We are in a beautiful student city and bikes clearly have priority over cars and pedestrians, what a luxury. Finding a hotel or pension is more difficult as we had thought though. We try to find the tourist information without success, there are also hardly any hotel signs, while Szeged is the fourth largest city in Hungary, so there must be some places to sleep. On top Szeged is a great city with a lot of nicely renovated old houses, some in the Art Deco style.
Finally and after approximately 1.5 hours we find a pension that meets our budget. At least this way we already discovered the city. And here more or less ends our Hungary experience. All in all a nice country with nice and friendly though a bit shy people. They also don’t trust anybody we found out: twice they tried to charge us for food we did not eat, once in our pension and once in a hotel. Both times we convinced them that we did not have the food they were charging us, but I know that the pension guy thought we wanted to screw him and the hotel guy needed a proof that we didn’t have dinner in the hotel.
Food in general was nice, we now cook hardly ourselves anymore which we both start missing. I am a big fan of their pancakes and had a few of them. I am glad we cycle so much and immediately burn all the calories! Accommodation was also relatively cheap, decent, clean and even the smallest pensions offered free WiFi, nothing to complain about.
It is clear that we did not cycle through the most exciting parts of Hungary, landscape-wise. But we knew this before, we considered Hungary more as a transit country. Szeged certainly was the highlight at the end of our journey.