So, as Nigel finished off in his last post we arrived at Hotel Lelle in Balatonlelle to spend 2 nights with Eva, Richard, and her family (Mum, Dad, sister, 14-year old neice and 11-year old nephew) to experience a real Hungarian holiday! The hotel has not had an upgrade since it’s communist days, when apparently it was THE place to be in the town… but once we got over the shock, it was quite funny. It was like being on the set of Fawlty Towers for 2 nights…we had no towels in our room and it took 24 hours for them to deliver some, Eva and Richard had no toiletroll on their room, the toilet in Eva’s sister’s room didn’t work, there was no aircon in any of the rooms so we all melted in bed every night, no fridge in any of the rooms BUT you could hire one if you fancied it and we didn’t dare drink the water from the taps as we reckoned if the exterior looked like this, then the pipes were probably in worse condition.
We can’t figure out if the stars fell off below the hotel name to coincide with the fall of Communism or if in fact it’s because the hotel is so bad that they no longer have any stars. Anyway, Hotel Lelle…forever to be remembered as Hotel Hell!
It was truly a “how to experience life in the communist era” encounter and something that will make us laugh for years to come. It was ridiculously over-priced as well but on the plus side it had direct access to a private beach, which was fantastic. So we had hours of swimming, competitive pedalo-ing (London vs Hungary), playing badminton, drinking hosszulepes or “long steps” (white wine spritzers), eating langos (pronounced langosh…a flat freshly fried donut with sour cream, cheese and garlic on top) eating chimney cake and generally behaving like we were on holiday. Both photos below are evidence of Hungarian food being either fried or dough-based and not very healthy, but it would have been rude not to partake while in the company of Hungarians…and it was all VERY good!
It was a great fun and relaxing 36 hours and made me realise that me and Nigel don’t do enough of this beach holiday thing!
We were sad to leave on Thursday morning but we will see her family again when we go to visit Pecs (pronounced Pay-ch) next week. We have recently enjoyed the spas of Budapest and swimming in Lake Balaton, so in keeping with the water theme and on the recommendations of the Szalay gang, we headed to the north side of Lake Balaton to Heviz – the second largest thermal lake in the world. (Just one of the many things that we didn’t know about Hungary!). It was a nice cycle along the Lake Balaton cycle route and the morning temperature started off OK, but it got very hot around lunchtime so we were glad it was a relatively short day at 54km. Stopped in Keszthely for lunch which has a lovely town centre, but the beach front on the way in was almost deserted and really run down. The town also has a lovely museum complex, which we came across unexpectedly on the way out of town, so apart from the beach front area it’s quite a nice place!
Made it to Heviz in time to set up camp and get to the thermal lake for a few hours before it closed. A very relaxing and chilled-out experience and very different from the indoor spas we had been to. It was like swimming in an outdoor pool at bath temperature, which was surprisingly refreshing despite the heat! And again a big holiday resort for Hungarians, Germans and Dutch.
An interesting camping experience as well….our Hungarian neighbours camped in this livestock trailer. All I can say is that it must have been hot and sweaty!