|Friday 22nd May. What a night! The temperature in our room seemed hardly to drop so felt like two tubs of lard and then in the early hours the itching began. Between us we have been bitten some sixty five to seventy times and last night they were ten times as bad as the night before. In fact Judy thinks she got even more during the day. We were both jumping up and down and screaming blue murder at 2.00am. At last we got some sleep but awoke grumpy in the morning exacerbated by the shower which leaked all over the floor and our toilet bags. Breakfast helped but neither of us was in a great mood as we left in the bright sunlight again. Stopped at the Hungarian border by police and asked to get out after quizing us about where we had been, in particular Boznia. Opened the boot and after explaining the reason for six cases he picked on my overnight bag and we opened it. After checking my wash bag he wished us a pleasant journey. He also stamped our passports, which are now no longer virgin clean!
Driving into Hungary was as we thought it would be with flat farmland in all directions and less than perfect roads. The first town threw out its greeting from 5 miles away ‘Shop at Tesco’s’. Anything to oblige so went in to get some cash-exchange rate 311 Florints to the Pound. 31,000 Florints seems an awful lot, considering notes go down to a F100 note (about 30p). While I was counting money Judy got caught by a very persuasive sales girl who parted her from a lot of the notes in my pocket. Pushed on then to Pecs for a visit to the cathedral before pushing on further (Hungary is quite a big country to cover). We parked in the central square after we had been wowing this and wowing that from the moment we had hit the city. What a surprise! The whole place is how we had envisaged Vienna to be but in some ways different. Great buildings from the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire rubbing shoulders with mosques built during the occupation by the Ottoman Turks and Art Nouveau and Art Deco infilling. So many styles and so many influences make this town a gem. It does not stop there as the town is the European Capital of culture 2010 because of its involvement in such a huge variety of cultural activities from ceramics and sculpture to classical music and pop festivals.
The city is also on the list of UNESCO World Heritage towns because of the Roman remains and early Christian monuments. Once here we could not leave so found accommodation and started our visits with the Roman necropolis. OK we won’t go into detail. Then we went on to the Gazi Kaszim Pasha Mosque and the Cathedral, which are magnificent. But the sun keeps shining and after three hours we dropped conveniently into a bar exhausted. The temperature is still rising and for about the tenth day on the trot our hosts have predicted rain. I’ll believe it when I see it.
P.S. Well would you believe it? It’s 9.30pm the heavens opened with thunder and lightning. It’s pouring!