Help From Hungarians

By Stephen Ewashkiw | May 22, 2013

2177 km so far.

When we awoke today it was raining. We had expected this to be the case and partly for this reason only planned to bike 30 km today.

Postal bike in the rain.

Postal bike.

When we met Eric in Baja he recommended we give AirBnB a try, so I did just this when we were in Kalocsa. I found a fantastic sounding home called Livin’Garden that was a little off our route, but sounded exactly like somewhere we would want to visit. We hadn’t heard back from the owners by this morning, but there is a campsite not too far from them, so we decided we would bike there today and try our luck.

To Market To Market

First, however, it is market day in Kalocsa, so we ventured out in the rain to see the market, and stock up on some food. I was particularly hoping to find some local hot paprika for sale that didn’t come as a two-foot long string.

The market was in a covered area, which meant we were able to take lots of photos of the produce, flowers, people, and meat available. Partly because of the weather and also with it being a covered market it reminded me of Pike Place in Seattle. See for yourself.

woman selling veggies in hungary market

The friendly lady who sold us our paprika.

A woman was selling short strings of hot paprika so we now have dried chilies to add to our travel spice rack (actually a zip lock bag with old plastic medical marijuana containers containing a new collection of herbs).

When we bought it, the woman selling it made a sizzling noise and an “ouch” face, cautioning us that it would be spicy. Um, yes, that is why we’re buying it! She laughed when we nodded enthusiastically at her description.

Dried chilies were the one essential spice we were lacking, so I am now a happy chef.

Jane also bought some fresh cherries, but before she did, she tried to ask the young woman working if they were sweet, for eating, or sour, for baking. There was really no way to communicate this without words, so a woman shopping nearby helped to translate the entire conversation, which resulted in Jane being able to taste the cherries before buying. Turns out they are sweet, so we got a bag full. We also bought some local walnuts and peas in their pods.

Quite a successful shop.

Bike Repairs In The Rain

We then went back to our hotel, loaded the bikes and went to head off towards Livin’Garden in the rain.

My bike was making an odd scraping noise, and just as we were leaving town it got a lot worse. Somehow (maybe because we’ve been rattling across country roads for two weeks) I had lost the bolt that keeps my rear fender from sitting directly on my rear tire. Fortunately, we had seen a bike shop last night that was just a few blocks from us. I have mentioned this before, but I love bike shops and the bike shop mentality of “help a cyclist out.”

The owner of Magellan came out, had a look at my bike (because he didn’t speak English and I don’t speak Magyar) and then he went back in, grabbed a washer and bolt and reaffixed my fender. He refused to take any money and in less than 5 minutes we were again on our way.

A great little bike shop.

A great little bike shop.

Just as we set off again, the rain stopped. We have been so lucky with the weather!

Back Across The Danube

We had checked ferry times before leaving so knew we should be prepared to eat lunch waiting for the ferry, as it takes a two-hour siesta. We had a slight battle with mosquitos during lunch, despite the rain having stopped and the sun being out, but it really couldn’t mar our enjoyment of sitting alongside the Danube, eating local fruits and vegetables, and even drinking a Pécs brewed dark cherry beer.

well sweep in hungary

A well sweep near the ferry.

The ferry was essentially a floating dock pushed around by a tugboat, and it took us and our bikes as well as two people and their cars, across the Danube to Paks.

boat pose on a boat in danube hungary

Full Navasana. No one thought this was weird at all!

They had a unique architectural house style in Paks, so we stopped to take a few pictures. As Jane was shooting, a woman approached me and explained, in German, that there was a more beautiful collection of these homes one street away. It seems my German is getting better as I completely understood her.

She was absolutely right. We couldn’t believe this amazing set of homes.

street of old houses in nemetker hungary

The restored street.

We felt like we were on the set of Game Of Thrones (which we have been watching on these short days when we actually have the energy for television).

Warm Welcome At Livin’Garden

Our destination was only a bit further down the road and we got there in no time.

We were greeted by Erika, with warm hugs and a few words of kindness, including “I don’t speak English”. She then proceeded to explain, in English, that the owners were away until tomorrow, but we were welcome to stay. When Jane asked how much it would cost, she said dismissively, “Money is unimportant.”

Three lambs, three dogs, a cat and her two tiny kittens also welcomed us. We definitely made the right choice. The home is an old (at least 200 years) farm house, and they live off the land as much as possible. There are preserved fruits and pickled vegetables lining the kitchen wall, there are a few chickens for eggs, a goat and her kid, the lambs, and a massive vegetable garden growing all sorts of delicious veggies.

man cradling a lamb

Lamb love.

We had a great wander around the property and are now preparing to begin cooking. Erika explained (again, in English) that she is in the middle of a fast, and hasn’t eaten for a week, so she didn’t have anything to give us for dinner. Luckily, I keep our food bags well stocked, despite Jane protesting that it is too heavy, so we will concoct something from the magic of our panniers and our minds.

There is a large, beautiful, tiled tub in our en-suite and I have been pinning for a bath for several weeks, so after dinner I plan to have a long, candle-lit soak. I can’t wait for dinner to be made, eaten, and cleaned up so I can get to it.  

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  1. Comment by Mauricio

    Mauricio May 25, 2013 at 7:29 am

    The Danube….. NEAT and the homes are gorgeous!! Loved hearing about the market, reminded me of the Colombian markets as a boy.

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane May 26, 2013 at 1:20 am

      I loved these homes, because they’re very stylish but tiny. A great reminder that we don’t need as much space as we think we do.

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