Posted by: glenswatman | May 11, 2010




Day bank holiday and here the tradition is for young men to take a small tree
without branches but covered in ribbons to the house of girls of marrying
age.  We walk up the road to Tina &
Jan’s house for coffee.  We visited 6
years ago when they were starting to renovate their home.  It is now finished and done in a different
and much more extravagant and expensive style to Henk & Klara’s.  Whilst we love the colour scheme and much of
the design it doesn’t seems quite as much in keeping with the village as Henk
& Klara’s.  In the evening Frank
arrives back from the airport with Joany and their 6 year old daughter Mabel
who join us for dinner.  It is great to
meet more of the family as we have also met Henk & Klara’s daughter Ineke
and family in Houston. 



has been raining in the night and a dull morning.  Henk suggests a ride over to the big market
in Pecs.  It is outdoors and split into
different sections.  The first area is
for the sale of pets, many are puppies in the boots of cars and Klara tells us
they are very docile as the owners don’t feed them for 2 days then give them a
big meal in the morning before bringing them to market to make them sleepy.  In other areas there are lots of old things
(an antique lover’s paradise), clothes, food and virtually anything you might
want to buy if you had the patience to look for it.  We lunch at the café and the “langos” are
delicious.  A kind of flat fresh hot
doughnut topped with garlic sour cream and cheese, HUF 200 (70p).  We stop for a walk around the city of Pecs
and although we visited before much has changed with new pedestrianised
areas.  Many buildings have fancy tiled
roof with coloured tiles making interesting patterns.  We find the famous padlock fence which has
now grown to 2 fences with a 3rd in the making.  The story is that many years ago a student
finished university and knew he would not need his padlock again so fastened it
onto a fence and others followed suit. 
Another version is that lovers put a padlock there as a symbol of their
union.  Klara’s cousin Carla has also
bought a house in the village and today arrives to do some work on it.  She is going to be living in a caravan in the
garden.  Unbeknown to her she has
surprise visitors as her son Remko and his friend, Cor, have driven down from
Holland early and arrive whilst she is with us. 
They have a lot of work to do as the house is little more than a shell
but the boys have towed a trailer with the new bathroom and kitchen things and
hope to get them fitted during their 2 week visit. 



rainy morning but it soon dries up.  Hope
the weather is better in England as Steve’s sister gets married to Mark
today.  I go out with Klara and Mabel for
a walk around the village.  Across the
road Frank is busy laying a new terrace using traditional bricks.  Down at Carla’s home the boys have already
taken down part of the ceiling in the kitchen area.  Remko shows me how it has been constructed
with battens across the building then smaller battens coated with a mixture of
mud and straw until about 6” thick, then slotted onto the top of the cross battens,
the gaps filled in and hey presto you have a solid ceiling.  Next we go to Georgette’s at the edge of the
village on a plot of over 1 acre.  They
moved here many years ago intending setting up stables etc but Georgette got
sick and they have run out of money and now have to sell.   At Euro 110,000 for the almost completed
house, newly re roofed stables and beautiful gardens it seems like a great
price but would probably need as much again to get it all finished.  By the time we get back it is a glorious hot
sunny afternoon, perfect for sunbathing.



is a mobile Post Office van that comes around and Henk has put a sign outside
his house to say he want it to stop.  The
Post Man sells stamps and other things and collects mail that wants
posting.  In the afternoon we head into
Szigetvar to the new thermal baths.  HUF 600
(£2.15) admission after 2pm.  It is a
really nice complex with indoor and outdoor pools of varying temperatures, some
mineral water and others chlorinated. 
Many pools have areas with hot water jets so we find out own private jet
and settle in for a pummelling.  We call
at the hospital for me to have a trial fitting of my crowns, at this stage they
are just the bare metal but Dr Toth wants to be sure it fits correctly before
sending it back to be coated with enamel. 
Afterwards we visit “The Black Bull”, a pizza restaurant in the village
where the tuna pizza is really tasty.



is Remko’s birthday and we are invited down for coffee and cake to
celebrate.  Next we drive to a restaurant
en route to Pecs to meet Henk & Klara’s friend Marjolijn who has invited us
all for lunch.  Again the meal is
delicious and reasonably priced.  Marjolijn’s
father was a diplomat and she grew up in South America and tells us some very
funny stories of how she used to hang out with the local kids but always got
reported home because she was the white girl with the blonde hair!  She is having a new house built in a small
village near Pecs and we go over for a look. 
She has a very nice swimming pool and house but many problems with the
construction quality and builders taking her money.  Luckily she used to be a lawyer so they are
unlikely to get away with it.  In the
evening we watch Andres Rieu on TV, a Dutch musician who puts on a fantastic
show with his entourage of musicians and singers. 



THURSDAY 6 MAY – Tonight
everyone is coming to dinner to try my shepherd’s pie so Klara and I begin the
production line.  Mabel calls round with
a painting for Steve & myself and is very excited when I tell her I will
photograph it and send it to her Auntie and cousins in America.  After sunbathing all afternoon I break off to
finish cooking.  The meal goes down well
with a Hungarian slant; instead of gravy we use Hungarian Goulash sauce.  In the evening we watch a Dutch movie “The
Hell off ‘73” about a race on the frozen canals over 200km connecting 11 cities
and it is most enjoyable and interesting.



return to the dentist where I have my new crowns fitted (she tells me they are
mine even though it feels like I have someone else’s big teeth in my mouth), a
clean and polish and a clean for Steve. 
The clean ups are thrown in free of charge so our total bill is HUF
41,000 (£132) for 2 crowns, 2 fillings, 2 clean and polishes.  Henk drives to Budapest via Lake Balaton and
it is a quick journey.  We are parked in
the city around 12.30pm and call the guy we have booked a room with through 
Robi arrives and shows us our simple but cheap (£18) rooms in a very old
courtyard style buildings just a couple of blocks from the green bridge.  A brilliant location even if the
accommodation isn’t that great.  At the
nearby market we pick up lunch then set out for the drive up to Santandre on
the Danube bend.  It is a delightful
village, although very touristic, with narrow cobbled streets and lots of
attractive buildings now housing restaurants or shops.  There’s a great view of the river from the
higher streets and it makes a very nice afternoon stroll.  Back in the city we walk along the banks of
the Danube admiring the buildings and bridges lit up at night – just
beautiful.  It is a really nice feeling
to walk along in the warm evening and we are both extremely relaxed after our
break here in Hungary.  We find a nice
restaurant, “Calvin Bistro” with an interesting menu and good prices then walk
down the touristier eating street where people are all sat out enjoying



is really quiet where our rooms are but the double beds seem to only have
single bedding and Steve took the lions share along with most of the bed so I
slept very little.  Luckily there was
free wi-fi so I could spend time on the Internet.  On the outskirts of Budapest is Memento
Park.  After communism all the relevant
statues were removed and dumped here. 
Years later someone had the idea of standing them up properly and
creating “Memento Park”, HUF 1500 (£5). 
It is amazing the sheer size of the figures but apparently this was
intentional to enhance their dominance.  There’s
an exhibition hall with an old film that was used by the Russians to train
their spies.  We learn how to do good
surveillance, bug and de bug a room and to transfer information to other
operatives.  The traffic is bad on the
ring road leaving us only enough time to call into a shopping centre for a bite
to eat before arriving at the airport. 
We have had a wonderful time in Hungary and feel fully relaxed, nicely
tanned and happy with the dental work. 
Our Wizz Air flight is delayed, along with all the other outbound
flights that are waiting for incoming planes. 
Not sure what the problem is but there is an obvious storm brewing and
also the volcanic ash has stopped Spanish and Portuguese flights.  When you book a Wizz Air ticket you can pay
extra for priority boarding or extra leg room seats but of course we do
neither.  Someone obviously realises the
boarding is due to start and begins a queue which being typical Brits we
join.  Once the gate opens they announce
they are boarding priority people first but we neglect to hear this piece of
information and continue with the crowd. 
Not only do we get on the first bus to the plane but find that some of
the extra legroom seats have not been booked and are there for the asking.  We take off ½ late but we make up time and
land in Luton around 8pm in the cold and rain. 
First off the plane we are straight in to passport control before I can
even get our passports ready.  Peter
& Margaret meet us and in no time we are in their warm home enjoying a
snack and catching up on news.



had to buy a new power pack for my laptop from Maplins and it is faulty so
Peter takes us over to Stevenage to change it. 
It has worked out really well visiting Peter & Margaret and we’ve
enjoyed all our campervan other talks with kindred spirits.  Early afternoon my cousin Karen and her
husband Chris call round for us.  We make
arrangements to visit them in Wakefield then they offered to pick us up in
Hitchin as they have friends here.  It
has turned out to be a very expensive weekend for them as together with their
friends they booked a cruise for next year. 
There’s plenty of time to catch up on news during the journey to
Wakefield.  Karen’s daughter Sarah and
boyfriend Mike at home.  Auntie Pamela
calls round and later.  Chris wants to
show Steve his now toy, a Q pod – sort of mixture of a beach buggy and quad
bike.  Apparently there are only around
300 in the country and Noel Edmonds is a big fan.  They use this to ride out to pick up a
Chinese take away but normally Chris just uses it to tow behind their
motorhome.  James joins us for a Chinese
and tells us about his new house in Leeds and picks my brains on holiday bargains. 



MONDAY 10 MAY – Everyone
is up and about early and dashing to get off to work.  One thing we notice in England now is that everyone
seems to have a bigger workload, a need to leave earlier for work to beat the
traffic and way more stress.  Chris is
working on his Mums house in Bradford and says he will take us through to
Keighley.  We are dropped off at Claire’s
work and pick up here car.  Steve has an
appointment at the physio about his frozen shoulder.  She does a thorough check and says he needs
to rebuild the strained muscles and gives him lots of exercises to do.  Next we go to Mom & Dads and enjoy seeing
the video and photos of Netty’s wedding. 
Dad seems much better and actually feels ready for a holiday.  It is freezing cold back at Claire’s so we succumb
to putting the central heating on which makes Daniel very pleased when he gets
home (he hates the cold whilst Natasha is always so busy moving around she
never complains).  Last Friday she broke
a metatarsal in her foot (the same injury David Beckham had) and now has a pink
plaster on it but this doesn’t slow her down at all.  Unfortunately it will prevent her going
swimming.  Claire has another “Chartered
Accountant” exam at the end of the Mum so she and I sit in bed with me helping
her study whilst Steve settles down for a night on the sofa.  Will have to sort out a better bed system for
Natasha’s room next year.



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