Eger and Budapest, Hungary Week 29 30th October - 4th November 2011
We left our campsite in the woods below Mt Hoverla in bright sunlight.
And freezing cold!
On the way up the hill to the pass (930m) I pulled over to let a couple of vehicles pass - I was slow as I wasn't sure where the ice would be on the road.

Second vehicle was an unmarked police car. Breathalysed me and showed me the 0.01 result.

Time to throw my hands up in the air and laugh. Told him "no way".

Solution was to try his partner's breathalyser. 0.00. So he waved me on.

The pass was a bit of an anticlimax. We almost missed it when we blinked.

The heavy frost was really quite nice.
There are quite often weight limits of 3.5mt through towns.

This is the by-pass.

We stopped beside the River Tisza for lunch.

Just finished lunch and a car full of army people stopped.

A mixture of checking documents, apologising for inconvenience, explaining that Romania was on the other side of the river, and so on.

Used the mobile phone to check with head office and went on their way.

As we neared the Hungarian border, past Khyst we noticed a lot of very large houses being built.

Difficult to comprehend as it looked like the coal mines were closed.

In our 13 year old book of maps it looked like we would have to drive much further north to cross the border. In our new book and the gps there was a minor road on the Hungarian side so we headed that way.

But first we stopped at the supermarket.
And camped our last night in Ukraine in the woods.

We haven't worried too much about being level but not only is it not level we struggled to make it so.


Add that to noticing a bit of a lean while driving.

After a bit of investigation the cause was a bit obvious.

The bottom two leaves on the right hand front spring have broken at the front u-bolt.

The main leaf is showing the effect of a lack of support.

We've carried this all band radio with us throughout. Rechargeable batteries.

Mostly we've tried BBC, ABC, Deutsche Velle, etc. We found the simplistic propaganda style of China Radio International a bit too much, though it was by far the easiest to pick up.

Deutsche Velle seems to be winding down in favour of the internet. The BBC wound down many years ago so reception has been patchy.

I always thought the duff-duff music of Eurovision was just for the song contest. But no. Its what they play on the radio.

Reason for this photo is that we have FM Stereo classical music from Hungary.

There's been a steady evolution in the music from Asia to here. But this was a step change.

And more and more churches.
We've been seeing stork nests for a few days.

One was occupied but the occupant was too quick for us.

And mistletoe.

Must be getting near to Christmas.

Despite the broken spring leaves we decided to take the minor roads past Beregove. So minor the border crossing didn't exist on our old paper map. The road on the Hungarian side is shown as minor.

It turned out to be the smoothest major road (almost motorway standard) that we've driven on. Very front spring friendly!

Leaving Ukraine was relatively easy.

Instead of us leaving the vehicle and hunting down all the stamps officialdom came to the vehicle. And nothing could overtake us.

The forms were filled in for us. There was the added bit of a search with a drug dog and a series of seemingly casual questions about drugs.

This is the Hungarian side which was similar. The vehicle registration was interesting. I think they must be used to something more elaborate than our computer printed registration reminder. But someone with a higher authority appeared, we had a brief discussion about "original" while I pointed at the windscreen sticker and all was ok.

They even filled the forms out for us!

The search was also more interested in drugs and ignored the issue of animal product import into the EEC.

Either borders are getting easier, we are getting better at them, or both.

We headed for Eger as we knew there was a camping ground open all year round.

It took forever to find and wasn't open. Pity as it was within walking distance of the castle. We were directed to the campsite at the thermal pools. Stayed two nights as we needed a rest and some washing.

This is the basilica in the center of Eger.

It really was distinctive so here's the front view.
The castle at Eger was first built in the 13th century. After the Mongol invasions.

Most of it is more modern though.

A bit like piggy in the middle. Looks like the town has been invaded from both east and west.

Turkish siege cannon from around 1596.

The elevation mechanism is a cam. The rear has a roller.

A serious cannon!

The siege worked, the castle fell, and the Turks ruled Eger for about 100 years.

The Turks left a minaret.

Apparently climbable with a very narrow spiral stair,, but we decided not to.

We aren't sure of the age of this building inside the castle walls.

Something about it caught our eyes.

These are our first gothic arches.

This smaller cannon has a screw mechanism for raising and lowering the barrel.
European 18-19th century architecture in Budapest.
Zugligeti Niche Camping is a converted tram terminus in the Buda hills.

Next to a chair lift to the highest point.

For us this is an oasis where we can pause for thought, a bit of recovery, a few repairs and parts. There are also a few campers passing through - the simple delight of speaking English to someone whose first language it is.

And people who share the stresses of independent travel so can provide relevant help more easily. For example, we now have a paper directory of "Aires De Services" in Europe.

There are also quite a few Slovenians to help us plan the next country.

There is just enough sun to almost keep pace with the solar.

We learned that feeding degrees, minutes and seconds into the gps for it to translate into decimal degrees encountered a small bug.

It seemed to work but in fact miscalculated. By a couple of km.

Our arrival at Ziglugeti wasn't at all smooth though the Budapest traffic is relatively kind. At one corner we were blocked by a low bridge. Began to get suspicious about the gps when a phone call to the camping ground gave us a sense that they didn't know of any low bridges in the way. They did tell us there were signs from the main rail station so we headed there and followed our noses. 

Look. No wheels.

And no springs.

The fracture face of the second leaf.

Looks like the crack grew for a while before finally breaking.

Probably good news in that I'm pleased it wasn't just one pothole. Wear and tear over very rough roads until the final pothole that broke the camel's back.

The rubber bushes are 25,000 km old. They were replaced in major service before we left Brisbane.

The central holes should all be the same size and were directly onto the steel bolt.

Most of the wear was in the rear shackles and these were replaced with a steel bush inside new rubber bushes.

"Equalising" the springs was fascinating to watch. They were marked with chalk then hit in the appropriate place with the hammer. Then the curve checked against the coresponding leaf on the other spring and the other leaves in the pack.

It was interesting comparing the methodical step by step approach of our two spring repairers to the almost random approach of our repairers in Asia. Radically different approaches with radically different outcomes.

One pack has its central retaining pin tightened so the leaves are all compressed against each other. The other yet to be constrained.
Payment was cash and Ali had another errand to run so we met in the Mammut (Mammoth) shopping mall.

Vodafone are just as silly in Hungary as they are in Aus and needed a passport which I didn't take with me. So no mobile phone yet. Fortunately plan B was to use two HF radios so that Ali and I could find each other.

After trying several places over a few days to rid ourselves of leftover Russian and Ukrainian currency we finally found a place in the mall. Not very good rates but the currency was otherwise dead money.

Fortunately there isn't the around $200 limit for withdrawals on our debit card in Hungary so we were able to extract sufficient cash from the ATM to pay for the spring repair.

The spring repair shop was next to a railway line. 

What a wonderful old water tower.

Complete with copper roof.

The picture I've been looking for since SE Asia. A welded railway line at last.
The trees are losing their leaves in ernest now.

Not sure what happens next but someone has bundled the leaves up neatly into these plastic bags.

Back to see the spring repair almost completed.

A bit of quality control occurring though I'm not too sure what was being measured.

I took the opportunity to check the shock absorbers.

They need replacing but sounds like they may be hard to find. The spring repairers will do some searching and let me know.

A nice smooth curve to the main leaf. Vehicle slightly higher than it used to be.

Most importantly - its level!

Perhaps we should mention driving in Budapest.

To get from campsite to spring repair and back meant driving through the centre of Budapest and across one of the Danube bridges.

The gps did most of the work. We just had to look for the weight restrictions and deal with alien junctions and traffic.

It all flows quite well. We've got used to peeling off to the right to find an overpass giving us the left turn.

Budapest and Zalaszanto, Hungary Week 30 5th - 7th November 2011

Mark Lawrence Thu, 10 Nov 11 09:14:12 +1100
.....getting ever nearer to the west, and the Isle of Man!! Looks like you're heading towards the old Yugoslavia countries then I guess maybe Italy, I hear Tuscany is really nice at this time of here! Exciting stuff Uncle Julian!!

Daina Mon, 14 Nov 11 11:46:12 +1100
Wonderful trip, thanks for sharing it with us. Stay safe.

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