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20060830_P_0126 diary pic
Last look at the Danube Bend
20060830_P_0132 crop diary pic
"Fast lane? What would we want one of those for?"

The breakfast buffet seemed a little lost, spread out along the walls of the large hall. We checked out, managing to coax a trace of a smile from the female receptionist whose face seemed set in a permanent sneer. Then we left the Silvanus and Visegrád behind, a lovely little find, and we were both glad to have made an overnight stop here.

We drove south again, a short distance, and then turned east, across a bridge over a side river of the Danube, and then across the broad Danube itself on a short ferry ride to Vac. From then it was motorway and major roads for most of the way to Eger, an uneventful drive. We did see more extensive sunflower fields but it was either too late in the season, or something else, because their heads were drooping and many looked withered or dried out. I’m not sure, but I think we stopped at a McDonald’s en route – if not today it was on a different “bus day” at any rate – and had cheeseburgers. The reason it stuck in my mind was because in Hungarian they’re called “sajtburgers” and the “s” is pronound like “sh”.

Around Eger the landscape was a little different, hilly, and with vineyards and slopes covered in vines. Close to Eger we drove past a few estates, looking rather grand, not too dissimilar from those in South Africa, but on the whole the scene consisted of mostly smaller and more modest farms, and the atmosphere was rural and laid-back. In Lonely Planet we had read about a planned new resort, with thermal baths, which had been due to open. Driving around we found it, or rather, the building site. By the looks of it they were a very long way from finishing it! Instead we found the smart Villa Völgy hotel, a little to the south-west of town, ideally placed to visit the wine cellars of the evocatively named Valley of the Beautiful Women, a short walk away, and also only a short walk (twenty minutes) into town from here. It felt a bit like our honeymoon all over again.

We settled into our hotel, in a smart comfortable room with a little balcony, in the “4*” section – the building across the path was “only” 3*, and then went for a bite of lunch in the restaurant, a wooden affair next to the main hotel building. There was some confusion over which dish I had ordered (number “13” vs “30”, the latter was a supersize plate of mixed grilled meat for two). We were still very much in chill-out mode, still needing some down time, and so spent the afternoon at the pleasant hotel, in a very scenic setting outside town, with vineyards and fields of sunflowers visible from our room, a camping next door. When lunch had settled we went to the “wellness” centre and got hot and steamy in the steam room, breathed in more aromas, and soaked in the warm Jacuzzi and cooled down in the pool. A wonderful way to unwind. Dinner at the hotel and an early night, with “B, B & B", super!