Four Wheels Around - A Road Trip from the UK to South Africa

In February 2009 we are setting off on the trip of a lifetime from Brighton, E-Sussex, UK to South Africa. Furthermore, we are raising money for the British Red Cross along the way. This blog will cover our preparation until we leave and our adventures whilst we are on the road.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Czech Republic to Hungary

Hello there.
SO here we are in Hungary, 5 Countries and about 1500 miles down..... many more to go.

On Tuesday we set off towards the Czech border when we had police stop number two...
We have spent the whole of Europe trying our very best to avoid toll roads out of pure principal. Carol does not go more than 50 MPH so what is the point of us being on a fast road? Anyway, we had been doing a good job until the Czech Republic. Heading towards Brno we accidently ended up on a toll road. However, we couldn't understand any signs so we weren't sure of our exact location. We figured we would come off at the next junction and try and find our way back to the single track roads we had been on before. We presumed that as in France we would have the option to pay for the use of the toll road when we exited it. Next thing we know the police are in front of us waving us over with a very high tech waving over device. Neon blue lights and a big sign saying 'Police! Stop!' 'Police! Stop!'. Straight to the point. We follow them into the service station where we are informed that to drive on toll roads you need a prepaid sticker for your vehicle to cover the charge of the toll road. Uh oh. The police fine us, surprise surprise. Most un lenient, this wouldn't happen in Britain oh no. They charge us 1000 korona which is about 30 pounds and we still have to buy a motorway pass as well, despite the fact that we don't even want to be on the toll road in the first place. The police incident set us back about an hour of time as they were so slow with our paperwork and really topped off a pretty awful day! Nevermind, I am not one to dwell and with our love for the Czech Republic rapidly diminishing we wild camped up close to the border (we could no longer afford a hotel after 'the fine') and hot footed it towards Hungary early the next morning.

Wednesday: We powered through Slovakia. They have just turned to the evils of the Euro which meant unfortunately that Slovakia was none to inviting for us. We stopped only for diesel and water and sped on as fast as Carol would let us to a small university city in Hungary close to the Slovakian border called Gyor. We arrived there in good time, considering we had travelled through 3 different Countries in one day! Czech Republic, Slovakia and now Hungary we felt a little confused and pretty knackered to say the least. We stayed in the student halls of residence at the University in Gyor which took us both back to our Birmingham University days! During the evening we sampled the local student bars and student union (70p a pint - niiiice). We ended up at the student union during an economic students bar crawl/party. It seems all over the world students have the same things in mind. Namely alcohol and the opposite sex. We observed, feeling rather old as the Hungarian students stumbled around us dancing to cheesy Euro pop and downing tequila.

I have noticed a few things about Hungarian fashion. basically it seems that fashion in Hungary and throughout much of Eastern Europe is quite 1980's orientated and the males and females love bumbugs! Not only that, they actually wear the bum bags on their bums! Astonishing. The girls also like tight white jeans and white shorts.... and the men all seemed to be wearing stripy jumpers...I am not sure what i make of all that. I am not the most fashionable one around, I don't really understand fashion but I felt uber trendy/really out of place in the Gyor student union in my black jeans and hiking boots.

Anyway, moving on. Yesterday, thursday. We headed down to Budapest. We successful navigated our way avoiding the toll roads, through a number of quaint Hungarian villages. On a previous visit to Budapest, Alex stayed in a hostel literally in the old citadel high above Budapest. He decided it would be a good option for us and indeed it is. Although the dorm room is slightly grimy the view of the whole of Budapest is stunning. it is a 14 bed dorm and last night we were the only ones there. I have no idea why noone seems to know about this place. We explored a little of Buda by night, getting a little ripped off for a slightly stodgy dinner of Hungarian stew, and today headed for Pest. We stopped off at the Synagoge and Jewish museum before going to the thermal baths. We spent the whole afternoon in the baths and after over two weeks of cloud and rain the sun came out! It was surreal sitting in the thermal baths outside where out of the water it was still pretty chilly. We spent a few to many hours in the baths and now I have wrinkly fingers, smell of a swimming pool and feel a bit hot in the head from all the heat! Still it was a lovely relaxing way to spend the afternoon.

In a nutshell that is the passed 4 days. There have been some real lows this week but as Alex keeps reminding me the lows and the highs come with travelling and I just need to deal with it! All is well really and we are heading towards Romania tomorrow.


Blogger Michael Arnst said...

I just stumbled upon your blog while looking up road tripping in South Africa. I am studying in Botswana for the semester and now that I have traveled around for a bit, I would love to do a large road trip like yours through Africa. Wish you luck and I look forward to reading more about your trek. Cheers!

7 March 2009 at 12:26  
Blogger Four Wheels Around said...

Thank you very much. We would like to visit Botswana, if we have time we will try to detour there. Thanks for reading. Katie

8 March 2009 at 13:07  

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