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Ukraine trip - Day 19 - Hungary


My Location: N 48.48065°, E 20.54558°

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=loc:48.48065%2C20.54558

Well, Hungary hasn't disappointed. Took the long way round today and drove on quiet back roads on purpose to be able to see some of the rural north west of the country; it's very pretty. Limestone outcrop karst covered in beech / oak woodland interspersed with rough grasslands and scrub. There is agricultural activity but it's on a small scale and in no way dominates the landscapes. Seen shrikes on wires as well as a few raptors and Emma also discovered a pond that was alive with fish, amphibians and insects. She even saw a snake swimming across the emergent vegetation. Awesome spot in an awesome landscape.

She did an hour on the bike this afternoon while I did a cave that is part of the Domica / Baradla complex on the Hungary / Slovakia border. Huge caverns with some splendid formations and a much better experience than Slovakian caves as the Hungarian audience were so much more respectful when the (Hungarian only) commentaries were being made. There was also a really good interpretation display and no rip-off car parking charges. Forgot to mention before that charging for car parking is something of a Slovakian national sport.

The 'friendly Hungarian' theme continues with many people - especially older men - spontaneously waving at us as we pass through villages, or insisting on having a one way Hungarian conversation with us at any opportunity. Emma expertly took on some water / took an impromptu shower in one village at a communal water hydrant (no water to houses in some villages) and we became minor celebrities.

We also had a tug from the police today who seemed to be on some kind of vehicle-checking mission but after seeing our passports, truck log book and international driving permit - and checking some or other details via their police car radio - we were free to continue our aimless loafing. I admit I was a little concerned as we were on a 3.5 tonne road at the time - once again I'm pleased I went through the hassle of re-registering as a motorhome - it does seem to really smooth pathways when practitioners of officialdom realise we have no commercial interests.

Currently parked up for the night watching 2 or 3 bats plying for trade, one of which is huge. Really slow wingbeats too - must learn more about bats.

Great day in a great country.

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