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Kevin, Tom and Brent's
Cycling the Danube Bike Path
From Vienna to Budapest
Day 5: Esztergom, Hungary to Visegrad, Hungary

 

 

Photographs on this website were taken by Kevin Rodger, except where noted.

Map shows our route

Day 5 - Saturday, September 17, 2011 - Esztergom, Hungary to Visegrad, Hungary
- Distance: 28.0 km, Cycle Time: 1:47, Average Speed: 15.7 kph -

Today was another magnificent day for cycling – sunny, 20°C, a light breeze, great scenery, and smooth roads! For the most part we were on excellent roads, or cycle paths. As we left Esztergom we followed a paved path along the banks of the Danube for about 5 km. The next 6 km was on a busy highway before we turned off to catch a ferry across the Danube into the town of Szob. Here the ferry service required a small fee for yourself, with an additional fee for your bicycle. At least it was less than the price of a car.

After the short ferry ride, we took a newly paved bike path to the right immediately after exiting the ferry. Our maps indicated this bike path would end in about one kilometer, but it actually continued for 4 km, where it joined an existing path that took us all the way to Nagymoros. The scenery from Szob to Nagymoros was spectacular as we cycled through the "Danube Bend". Over a distance of about 20 km, the river breaks through the steep mountains and cliffs. The right bank is dominated by the Visegrad Mountains, while the left bank, the foothills of the Borzsony Mountains. We often stopped to take photos, watch the barge traffic or just soak up the ambiance of the beautiful scenery. A group of kayakers entered the river just past Szob and rowed very aggressively towards Nagymoros. Fortunately, even with our stops, we managed to keep pace with the paddlers.

It was market day in Nagymoros, so we ambled about the town square looking at the produce and wares of the local vendors. The market had fresh food and local crafts for sale, but as we had limited room in our panniers, we didn't buy anything. We settled for photos instead.

We had coffee at an outside café overlooking the Danube. The waiter spoke excellent English and was very personable. He indicated that he had acquired his English while studying in the UK. Indeed, he even spoke with a slight English accent. We quickly finished our light lunch as we needed to scurry to catch the ferry to Visegrad, just across the river. We attempted to board the ferry but were turned away as we hadn't purchased our tickets. A mad dash to the ticket booth was followed by three cyclists rushing onto the ferry. A somewhat unnecessary rush, as the ferry left every hour.

In Visegrad, our first task was to secure a room for the night. The first hotel we tried was full, so we moved a bit closer to town and obtained rooms at the 3 star Hotel Visegrad at the rate of 26,130 HUF, or about $125.00 Canadian. Not bad, when you consider this includes breakfast for 3 adults. Our room here had an upstairs two bed loft, and on the main floor a small bed in the main room which also had an outside balcony.

In the afternoon we strolled about Visegrad, the location of a former Hungarian Royal Palace. The Palace dated back to 1246 and housed the King's holy crown for many years. Eventually, the castle fell into disrepair when this area was occupied by the Turks. The Royal Palace was at the top of a 350 meter hill, which we somewhat lazily elected not to ascend.

While in the lobby of our hotel we noticed a posting for a concert being given at one of the local churches highlighting the music of Hungarian composer/conductor Franz Listz. Not having much on our itinerary for the evening, we decided to attend. I have to admit, I had never heard of Franz Listz prior to this engagement. We were all rather excited to be hearing muis that included the fabled "Ave Maria". After we sat down, we began to think we had made a bit of a mistake. The concert appeared to be a memorial service for a local music conductor, who seemed to enjoy conducting music by the famed Listz. We sat uncomfortably for what seemed like an eternity, hoping no one would ask us any embarassing questions we would not be able to answer. We were however, astounded by the calibre and skill of several of the pianists and vocalists who presented at the concert. The music selections of course were from the repertoir of Listz. Most of the selections we found to be rather heavy and depressing. It certainly wasn't The Sound of Music!

On the road again ...

Kevin on the ferry to Szob

Doing laundry the "old" fashioned way, which is now "fashionable"

Nice new bike path after the town of Szob

Brent and Tom taking a breather

Kayakers making their way down the Danube

Our first view of the ferry from Nagymoros to Visegrad - kayakers are still there

The entrance to Nagymoros

Display of fresh produce

Chestnuts

"Locals"

The old Castle - Visegrad

It was close to wine time in Hungary, as these grapes will attest! Right behind our hotel in Visegrad

Bikes parked safely away for the night

Kevin on the Hotel Visegrad balcony

I couldn't resist this menu item - #36! Alas, it simply does not exist

Another country that appreciates cyclists

Outside the grounds of the Royal Palace

Outside the grounds of the Royal Palace

View across the Danube towards Slovakia

Our hotel for the night - Hotel Visegrad

Just a block away from our hotel - a little something to sustain us for the evening ...

This is actually the ONLY photo of the trip (in my camera at least) of all three of us together!

And this is what we ate ... Calories NOT included!


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