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Biketour 2002

Created 5 June 2002 ... Updated 5 June 2002

from   Maiersdorf, Austria
to   Vienna, Austria
via   Balaton, Donau and Budapest, Hungary
   ... by bike

It was two years ago
since I last took the bike out for a holiday. The choice was between going to the Waldviertel and Czech or going to Hungary. After a 2 hour cycling trip in the hills around Vienna I decided that I was not fit for the mountains so it was going to be Hungary, a pretty flat country, especially in the east.

I took two weeks vacation and planned on going as far east as possible, possibly even as far as the Ukrainian border. Well, I didn't get that far...

The part of Hungary I've seen is nice though and I really would like to go there again, but not alone as I did this time. Too boring.

Day to day


Distance Total Time Route
one 85 km 5 hrs Maiersdorf - Wiener Neustadt - Köszeg
The day started nicely, the first 20 kilometers were either downhill or on flat ground but then I took the wrong turn and ended up in the hills. It was not worth to turn and try to find the way around but the hills were though, sun, too much luggage, untrained (as in: 2 years no real cycling), humidity and well, I was wrecked when I arrived in Köszeg.

Köszeg itself turned out to be quite nice though, a small medieval town on the foot of some mountains. Some restored buildings but many more unrestored, very nice for pictures but I was too tired, couldn't even walk straight anymore and definitely could not be bother to take any pictures. Will have to return one day... Preferable not by bike and the same way I came this time   :o)

two 107 km 5:18 hrs Köszeg - Felsopainok (Heviz)
The second day started off in a very bad way. Somehow my tent decided not to be water proof anymore and as it rained heavily, the sleeping bag was soaking wet, and so was I. Noticed that at 2am, too early to get up, too late to find anything to get dry so made myself very small and stayed warm that way. Never figured out why the tent started leaking though...

After a little breakfast it was time to pack and leave. Still early but cold enough to move fast. The cycling was not too bad though, no sun and the area around Szombathely is one big industrial zone so it was boring to cycle but alas, I was on my way in Hungary. All main roads had signs saying no bikes allowed but as long as you don't bother too much, these signes won't bother you either...

After having cycled on flat ground the entire day, the sun came out just before I arrived at the campsite and of course, that's also where they'd put some steep hills for me. Hookers next to the road offering you sex but that was not the thing I wanted to get up, wanted to get up the hill. At the top of the hill was the campsite. The owner didn't feel like cooking anything today, after the long and hard party he'd made the night before but when he saw how tired I was, he still made a nice dinner for me. The food and beer did taste great!

three 93 km 5 hrs Heviz - Balaton - Siofok
Something light for today, after a few hills to get to Lake Balaton, the rest of the day took me along the shore of the lake. Since water has a habbit of being flat, the road was flat as well. Of course I could have taken the bicycle road along the water but there were a few people walking there and the road was narrow so I took the normal main road instead. Littered with no bikes allowed signs but hey, got used to ignoring them.

The campsite was quite nice but the owner was very nice. She lives in Germany but decided to buy a campsite and rebuild it. She's worked on it for 3 years now and work is nearly completed. She also runs a small restaurant as service for her guests so the food prices are very reasonable. OF course I had to try.

The lake looked nice. Well, it was a cold and grey day but you could imagine what it would be like in the summer. Too many new and boring hotels though. Siofok itself is also not too interesting but for a swimming/relaxing/sunbathing holidays, the area looked nice.

four 113 km 7 hrs
(plus 1hr wait)
Siofok - Dunaujvaros - Dömsöd
Yesterday I had more-or-less decided to make the trip a lot shorter. The reason being that the campsites were boring. No people or the site filled with German pensionists. The cycling part was good but then the many boring and lonely hours afterwards on the campsite I could miss. So well, just to keep my options open, I decided to cycle to the Donau (Duna in Hungarian) to make the final decision today.

The area was nice, rolling hills, all farming area. Some farmers with horse and carriage picking up hay, some old trucks and plenty of old Eastern-European cars like Lada, Wartburg, Trabi... The weather was also nice so the day was nice.. until I arrived in Dunaujvaros. There was only one sign to the campsite so it took me many kilometers to really find it and then it turned out to be closed. No more campsite. Some people were still there, probably trying to renovate things. One guy who looked like the manager said 'no camping'. So me with hands-and-feet language, asked him nicely if it would be possible for me to stay there for just one night as I already cycled 90 kilometers. Another guy came and felt sorry for me and tried to convince the manager to let me stay but no chance.

The choice was now to cycle to the south where there was a campsite at 20 km or to the North, the way I should go to, where there was a campsite at 34 km. Hard choice but well, decided to take the route North. Had to take the ferry across the Donau for that and well, they told me it will go in half an hour. They were busy with a big discussion though so it took an hour before we left. In the mean time the sun was gone and big rain clouds came. Heading North also meant: cycling against the strong wind for the next days. Fortunately there was a campsite (a very dodgy place indeed) at 23 km, I was happy.

five 94 km 7 hrs Dömsöd - Budapest - Leanyfalu
Cycling along the Donau would have been easy: no hills, nice views. Well, there was wind and a lot of it. The entire day wind from the North - West and it looked like it would stay till Vienna. Had a short ride in Budapest, was fun to see some of the places I saw with Katrin two years ago. Amazing how much I still remembered.

Trying to follow directions once in my life, I decided to follow the bicycle road along the Donau. Well, it didn't take long before I lost it, found it again, lost it again and decided to just ignore it and cycle on the main road. Trucks passing by, a lot of cars and the road was not too interesting either. Then suddenly I went too much to the right and bang, hit my pedal against the curb at 30 km/hour and it was bent. Damn! Could still cycle with it but it wouldn't be too healthy for my legs and knees. Decision time again: get it fixed in Budapest, 30km back, or continue to Vienna and maybe take one day of rest when my leg makes problems. Decided for the second option.

The campsite was nice. Besides a German couple there were no people at all but the Donau at your front door, all trees around, a nice little village. I'd seen worse.

six 98 km 5½ hrs Leanyfalu - Komaron
One of the things I wanted to see in Hungary was the Donau-Bent. Visegrad did indeed look nice, an old fortified town overlooking the river. Well, I only passed through, was grey, cold and rainy weather.

For the first time this trip I saw tour busses, and a lot of them. Esztergom is full of them. You could see the famous Basilica already from a long distance and the area looked interesting. A lot of tourists already though so you don't want to be there in the summer.

Komarom on the other hand looked terrible. A lot of buildings seem to have been taken down to make space for shopping centers. All the same cheap-and-crappy style as they are everywhere. Very boring indeed. I wanted to cross the bridge to go to Komarno in Czech (this used to be the same town until the Habsburg era was finished) but the campsite was one of these typical tourist campsites: too many people on not enough space so my mind was really not set to do anything else besides reading my book. Later I found out that next to the hotel is an old fortress and on the other side of town as well. Missed that!

seven 104 km 6 hrs Komarom - Hedervar - Mosonmagyarovar
More wind, it's getting boring now to cycle against the wind all the time. Today the sun was out too, making it hot as well.

The road to Gyor was, well, main road. Nothing too exciting. Fortunately there is a motorway running parallel so not too much heavy traffic on the road I cycled on. The road after Gyor was nice, narrow but with a bicycle path all along. Plenty of nice little towns, plenty of green fields. Was a nice relaxing trip.

Moson is a main tourist attraction where the Austrians go just across the border to do some excessive shopping. Not that Hungary a much cheaper in brandname articles but things made in Hungary are cheaper. Busloads full of people shopping and it was still a weekday. Imagine what it would be like on Saturday.

To find the campsite in Moson proved to be nearly impossible. I first followed a sign that ended up in the main tourist shopping area. Then followed another sign that also ended up there. In the end I decided to go to the tourist information and ask there. There is a motel/campsite at the other end of town. Next to the main road. So after having cycled 15 km extra to find the site, I finally got there...

eight 87 km 5 hrs Moson - Nickelsdorf - Wien
The last day started nicely. Main road with plenty of bikes not permitted signs. As I was heading for the border I was afraid this could cause some trouble there but it turns out that there is a special border crossing for bikes, namely the original crossing. Was funny to still see the old concrete roadblocks, the old little guard builings, the old barrier rusting away.

The entire way in Austria was nice to cycle, a little hilly but nice views. It was sunny so the last day was pretty hard again but knowing I was on my way home there was no problem. As expected I came into the city right where I wanted to came in. From there on it's a nice way to cycle home, a main road but with not too much traffic, a nice way to come home really...

It's always nice to see some statistics so here we go
Total distance   : 781 km
Total cycling days   : 8 days
Number of flat tyres   : 0