|Arriving at Balatonfüred, on massive milk-coloured Lake Balaton.|
|Troublemaker - I was just offering to drive the boat – “I am a sailor, you know".|
|In relaxed mood at Balaton.|
|Passing the time of day.|
At breakfast, a group of coarse working-class German gannets and various grey-haired doddery folks. Oh, last night we observed briefly the restaurant’s entertainment, a middle-aged bloke with thick specs and a pre-programmed keyboard and sax, and fled the restaurant! Anyway, after a slow start we made it out and walked down to the lakeside. It was a greyish and wet day, and the place had a rather off-season feeling, which combined with the general air of a sanatorium rather than a tourist resort, quiet, peaceful and autumnal.
There was a jetty or small pier into the lake, with some yachts, dinghies, moored on one side, and on the other side and around the platform at the end, there were tour boats for lake rundfahrt's. By the looks of the boards we had missed the few trips which departed at 11am, but we did manage to find one, a convivial looking boat that went at 1pm, “depending on the weather and enough passengers”. Just as we were about to wander off again a guy walked up and booked for a group, so the trip was definitely on and we bought tickets too. We whiled away the time by ambling around, up and down the jetty, bought a Hungarian flag patch (another collection of mine), an ice cream, and then boarded our boat, taking seats on the small top deck, on the roof.
The sun came out later on and brightened the trip. We motored across the milky silky waters of Lake Balaton towards Tihany, and had a coffee and a little picnic – straight versions of the usually crescent-shaped Hungarian rolls, salami, sajt and piquant green paprikas/chillies, delicious! A little bit of a breeze wafted over us. It was a pleasant little trip, and the same on the way back to Balatonfüred. Back at Balatonfüred we walked along the promenade and stopped somewhere for a coffee and a cake. On one side of the promenade was the tall concrete but freshly(ish) painted “big” hotel (name?) with a private beach on the lake across the promenade. Most of the lake shore had been sectioned off here.
We returned to our hotel to pick up Eddie and then drove towards Tihany, avoiding the speed-trap thanks to the light signals from oncoming motorists – phew. At Tihany a peninsula juts into the lake. We parked at the top of the hill, by the church and Benedictine abbey, in the village centre. It was very touristy, with many shops and cafés and plenty of tourists. So this was were all the people were! The whole place reminded us of an English village, with its little landscaped gardens, cottages with thatched roofs, stone walls, and even all the craft shops. You wouldn’t be surprised to walk past “ye olde vicarage” or “ye olde bakery”! In a different way, the lie of the land, it also reminded us of Howth, by Dublin.
We strolled around the little lanes, peeked into some of the craft shops with lots of pottery on offer, and meandered back into the landscaped gardens and picked a bench from where we overlooked the lake, towards Balatonfüred. Groups of teenagers were on some kind of treasure hunt, walking around with white plastic cups. We descended to the village centre where there were many more tourist shops, and lots of signs proclaiming Ungarische Spezialitäten and shops covered in strings of dried red paprikas – not so English now! There wasn’t much else to see/do in Tihany itself, and we weren’t in the mood for a walk/hike through its trails and forest, so we drove back to Balatonfüred.
On the way we stopped at the Shell garage where Eddie was given a proper clean by hand, for 1,200 Forint (£3), as he was covered in sticky goo, having been parked below a tree with large leaves and “beans” last night (no idea what it was). We had a coffee inside while waiting, and then drove back in our very clean and shiny Eddie, collected our laundry from the hotel and relaxed for a while. In the evening we walked to the lake, taking with us the loaf of old bread we still had with us and the tripod. Unfortunately it was an overcast night and the full moon didn’t quite have the same magic as last night. Still, I fiddled with the tripod and tried to get some good shots, while Ness fed the ducks. The swans, further out in the lake, hadn’t noticed and didn’t come to butt in. Ness did her best to “blow the clouds away” for the pictures, but without much success! For dinner we went back to the pizza/pasta etterem but had more Hungarian dishes and a bottle of plonk, and the same music, including some Elvis!