Touring Lake Balaton – Part Two
Day 4 Larisa & Robert
Setting off from our hotel with a larger peloton, today was to be a day of twisting roads, climbing and history, as we took a long flat road towards the rising countryside, passing a series of wildfowl protected lakes for birds, where it was time to do a little work, as Erika and Laszlo took photos and video for the tourist board, and we did our best to look like competent cyclists.
For part of the 70km ride, Tamas took a rural gravel path, introducing a new experience for me on a road bike, and having new Pirelli tyres to test on my bike, they handled the mixed terrain well, giving good grip and rolling smoothly with no flats. It was certainly fun, as I ride both road and mountain bike … but not at the same time usually!
After the morning short ride and adventures, we arrived at the spa resort of Heviz, where coffee and cake was enjoyed. Heviz is a match for anywhere around the world, and so the only difficulty was in choosing which of the chocolate and creamy delights to eat first – after all, as cyclists, we are bound to burn off the calories… aren’t we? Following this worthwhile stop, we set off on the bikes again, to a famous medieval castle on a high point at Sümeg, near the border of Hungary. The roads were winding and descending more steeply as we approached the area, and I was able to speed along and open up my bike on the sweeping descents, testing the tyres too.
Once at the castle and admiring the history and views, we took time to explore, as Tamas told us of the history, and we made friends with the donkeys in the courtyard. The views from the top of the castle were spectacular, and in little corners of the castle, groups were taking part in cultural talks and activities, and the sun was baking down. It was a truly splendid moment and one to just relax and take in the culture of this place.
Then it was back to Heviz and our 4 star hotel, where we would be staying for 2 nights, and having dinner tonight with a senior minister from the Hungarian government, responsible for developing cycling tourism in the area. It seemed strange to be sharing dinner with a high ranking politician, talking about cycling, but Hungary are really doing an amazing amount of work to promote their country as a cycling destination – which it definitely is.
Day 5 Larisa & Robert
It’s day 5 of our cycling tour, and we’re in Heviz, an amazing spa resort with thermal pools to match any around the world. Tamas has arranged to start the day with a swim in the pools, and so here we are, in water that is 35 degrees, and beautiful sun shining down on us. The team are busy, with Erika our photographer, taking images and Lazslo our videographer, drone flying above the pools, creating superb film footage.
With more riding planned for later in the day, I’m sitting under a shaded tree on a sun lounger, catching up on writing, and making sure that you, our readers get a taste for what Hungary has to offer as a bikecation location. Dinner last night was wonderful, and the hotel really is first class all the way, making sure that when off the bike we get to relax and totally chill out. Larisa is sunbathing nearby, and enjoying the spa waters. I’ve only cycled one day so far, and it’s only right then that I do a share of the editorial writing work. After all, the sun is in the 30s, Larisa has cycled more than me and a girl needs a tan more than just where her bib shorts and jersey have been worn 😉
On our way back to the hotel, we stop for more superb Heviz cake, and then it’s time to change and cycle in the afternoon with the Secretary of State – wow! Our peloton speeds along in the sun and heat to a famous Gingerbread House, where a local lady greets the politician with water drawn from a well in the garden, before we all sample the gingerbread, which is beautifully ornate and decorated, as well as full of deliciousness.
We then follow a series of roads and cycling lanes, along the shores of Lake Balaton and the surrounding villages, before we are climbing to a hilltop with a spectacular panoramic view of the lake and surrounding hills and greenery. Both Larisa and I are feeling very special to be part of this amazing tour, riding in such company, in such a beautiful place, and wearing our custom G4 #helloHungary kit of course!
Our final etape of the day takes the cycle lanes close to the shoreline, and back to Heviz, with a short stop at a shoreline deck for ice creams and more images. Arriving at our hotel with 80km covered, we shower and change quickly, before heading to a nearby winery and restaurant for some great local food and wines. The wine testing is very welcome, and both Larisa and I are unable to remember how many toasts we celebrate with clinking glasses.
It’s a relaxed scene, as our group of weary cyclists walk downhill and back to the hotel and bed – but everyone is excited about the final days cycling tomorrow.