Szentedre is a small town twenty kilometers north of Budapest, on the western bank of the Danube. There’s supposedly a bike path all the way from Budapest to Szentedre, but it was so poorly marked that we almost lost it several times, only to lose it for real eventually, only in turn to find it accidentally twenty minutes later.
That aside, Szentedre was a lovely town, from what I saw of it – which admittedly wasn’t much. I wasn’t feeling terribly well, so I sat in a street-side cafe while Kinga bounced through the town, taking pictures (none of which, she now informs me, really capture the spirit of the town).
I took a few pictures myself. Whether they capture the spirit of the town or not, who knows.
The “big thing” about Esztergom is simple: it’s home to the largest basilica in Hungary, and is considered the capital of Hungarian Catholicism. It was, at one point I believe, the actual capital.
Just across the Danube from Esztergom is the Slovakian city of Sturovo. Slovakia being much cheaper than Hungary, Kinga and I stayed in Sturovo.
There doesn’t seem to be much in Sturovo except a large swimming complex. But they have a nice view across the river to Esztergom, for the basilica, being on a hill, is visible for kilometers. And the Slovaks make use of that in their Sturovo postcards.
We searched for it all week, but it wasn’t until the very last day in Hungary that we found a restaurant that serrved that traditional Hungarian specialty: fish soup.
I would hesitate to call it “good,” for it was entirely too fishy. But I’m glad I tried it. I just wish we’d shared a bowl, for it cost a fortune.
The Red Eye
Getting back to Poland consisted of three trains and a bike ride. We left Sturovo at 8:35 in the evening for a 256 km ride to Zilina. Arriving at 11:30, we had to wait until 2:40 for our next train: a 39 km hop to Kralovany. Where we waiting a half hour for a 56 km but two-hour-long trip to Trstena, the Slovakian town just across the border from where we live.
Looking back on it, now that it’s all over, I think, “Nah, it wasn’t that bad.” But sitting in the train station in Zilina for three hours, it seemed pretty endless.
And apparently not just for me . . .
Finally we made it to Trstena about six in the morning in probably the smallest non-Disney World train I’ve ever traveled in (it literally had two wagons). We got on our bikes, rode the familiar fifteen kilometers to Jabłonka (so nice not to wonder what lies around the next bend), and ate some breakfast. Then I rode to Lipnica, fully expecting to collapse on my return. I didn’t. In fact, I didn’t go to bed until 10:30 that night.