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Monday, 11 October 2010

InterRailing for Glampackers - Zagreb to Keszthely, Hungary

Crossing the border on the train was a little interesting, with no less than three separate passport inspections, one from the Croatian side as a sort of going away present, and then two from our new Hungarian friends, who seemed to eye us with more than a hint of suspicion. Perhaps it was our first class tickets and big suitcases, or more probably, just our vivid imaginations.
Suddenly we were in Hungary, and again, the countryside changed. A couple of changes later at stations with incomprehensible names and the wide waters of Lake Balaton came into view.
The town of Keszthely (pronounced Kesterhay) is during the Summer season, a very busy but elegant resort town that lies on the southern edge of Lake Balaton, one of the biggest inland natural lakes in Europe. It also has a remarkably grand white palace that dominates the town too.
Late September however, proved to be a very quiet time, and with the weather turning wet, it was not perhaps looking its best. The lake though was magnificent and you could see the attraction on a sunny day, taking a cruise or sunbathing by the nearby beaches. The palace is worth a visit, and nearby was a marzipan museum, a porcelain doll collection and a synagogue dating back to the 16th century.

We were guests for a couple of nights at the lovely home of the family Moritz, who run a smart inn just outside the old town centre. Herr Moritz proved to be a charming host, who spoke much better English than our feeble attempts at Hungarian and made us very welcome.
The Moritz house was very comfortable, with lovely rooms, free wi fi and a more than adequate breakfast. Herr Moritz even insisted on dropping us back at the station after our stay.

The restaurants in town are cosy and colourful, all offering hearty traditional regional cuisine with the pick of them being Bacchus a lovely rustic place that's a hotel and its own wine museum. We literally rolled out of there after a mighty meal that was all of £23 for the two of us.
Lake Balaton would certainly be worth a visit if you were in Budapest for more than a few days in summer.

Suggestions:
Guesthaus Morritz, Mora Ferenc Utca 5
Restaurant : Bacchus, Erzsebet kiralyne st 18
Keszthely Palace