Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lake Balaton

We're sorry we did not blog for the past two days. The Internet connection was flaky at Lake Balaton, but everything else there was magnificent. Lake Balaton is the largest lake in Central Europe, and that's still making light of its size. It takes four days to ride a bike around the lake!
We stayed in Balatonf├╝red, located on the northern shore, at an apartment-style hotel (pictured above). We had everything from a garden to a kitchen. Down the street were shops, the beach, parks and the collosal lake.
We rented a rowboat for thirty minutes with Sonja and Panni, before it became too dark. The lake was coated with swans and ducks on the banks. After the sun set, which is surprisingly extremely late, we checked out the wild night-life of Lake Balaton. We witnessed a lot of interesting things. Just ask one of us for the details.
On Monday, we visited Tihany, a small lake village sprinkled with stores, ice cream parlors and an inviting church that was built in the year 1055! On both sides of Tihany, the peninsula, you could get a real sense of how massive Lake Balaton is no matter where you look.
What we really like about Hungary is how traditional it is. It is famous for paprika (pictured above), the Rubik's cube, lace, wine and dishes, and all the little shops show how appreciative they are of the culture.
Today, we checked out of our hotel and drove to Szigliget. Enormous, green hills masked the scenery, with only a narrow road to drive on. We parked for a while to look at the Ruins Castle and met up with one of Gabi's colleagues, Maria.
Maria owns a pizzeria in town, but lives in a century-old wine cellar, converted into a home. It rested within a series of terraces overlooking the rolling hills and the great blue Balaton.
After the reunion, we chose the longer route to Budapest, making a full loop around the lake. The extra hour was a nice trade-off for the scenic view, even though the ambiance was interrupted by two singing girls in the back seat.
Lake Balaton served as our little vacation from a vacation. Everything exceeded what we could have imagined. Hungary is truly a special place.

Sorry for the wait,
Goodnight all,
Joe and Sophia