Monday, August 27, 2012

Back from Keszthely!!!

Hello, world!!! We've come back home from our 2 week holiday in Keszthely, Hungary. Actually we spent the last night in Budapest 'coz the train trip from Keszthely to Budapest took around 3 hours and our plane left at around 11.40 am, so if we had wanted to go straight to the airport from Keszthely, it meant that we would have had to get up at 2 am to catch the early train. Not really my idea of fun ha ha ha...

We had a good time there. The temperature was WAY too hot on some days (our apartment hotel is not air-conditioned), but thankfully the temperature always dropped down during the nights. So we got loads and loads of sunshine!!! :-D The first eve we arrived there, it was cool enough to wear jeans and a jacket (perhaps around 15'C) and the second day was also rather cool in the morning, but then the temperature started going up and up and up until it reached 36'C at least during the day. In one other town that we visited, there was a sign showing that it was even 41'C, but we both didn't think it was really accurate. It must've shown that number 'coz it did feel MUCH hotter if you stayed in the sun for hours. Staying in the shade wasn't that bad, though, so it must've been only around 36'C in actuality.  

What did we do there? Visited museums, tasting local cuisine, getting full body massages twice, going to Balaton beach to swim and sunbathe, and going on an air balloon ride (I'm going to write about that in a separate post). :-D Eating too much, walking so much, laughing so much, reading books in between (the TV programs are dubbed!), relaxing, building lovely memories together he he...:-D

Here's a pic of a lovely doorway in Centrum area in Keszthely. Next to the door there is a wine store.

Here are some of the things that we've experienced:

1. We took the minibus shuttle service from the airport (2500 HUF/person or around €9.2). It was very efficient and professional (didn't have to wait long at all before our car was waiting for us to leave), but the bad side was that it took longer to go to the train station because they also dropped off other passengers along the way. That was why we hadn't booked the train tickets online to go to Keszthely because I didn't know for sure how long it would take to arrive at the train station.

At the train station we realized that we had to lug our suitcases up the stairs. Oh R2 did the heavy lifting and here comes trouble!!! We went to the nearest ATM, but it didn't work. We had tried getting some money from the ATM in the airport, but it didn't work, either. I know it worked for some other people 'coz I had seen some people take money from it. Based on our experience in Budapest last year where we could get money easily via ATM, we didn't bring too much cash with us because we thought it would be more convenient getting the money from ATMs. Thankfully we could pay for the shuttle service by credit card, but in the train station we were a bit stressed out 'coz we couldn't get any cash and it was near boarding time for the next train leaving to Keszthely.

Fortunately unlike usual, R2 had a bit more cash than usual in his wallet, so I ran downstairs to the money exchange booth and exchanged the money and we went to buy the tickets. The officer didn't speak English much, but I had written down some important words, such as "first class" in Hungarian, but when I tried asking him if we could buy seats (my Hungarian friend said that it was better to buy seats at an extra charge), but he mistook my question and instead he told me the platform number. Mind you, I had to demonstrate to him that I was sitting down, but he raised up six fingers he he...So I just left and thought, "What the heck...maybe this train doesn't have any seat supplements."

The train was waiting for us already and we had enough money to pay for the one-way train tickets (first class cost 4260 HUF or around €16/person) and cold drinks because the train is not air-conditioned. We chose our seats and the journey went fine.

Here's a pic of the train that we took (photo was taken on the last day in Keszthely, on the way back to Budapest):

2. When we arrived in Keszthely train station, we didn't dare take the taxi because we didn't have too much cash with us, so we walked to our hotel. Thankfully it wasn't too far away, but still it would've been nicer to get a taxi ha ha ha ha ha...On our way back to the train station, we decided to get a taxi 'coz our suitcases were much heavier by then and the trip only cost 800 HUF (around €3). R2 said that in Finland just getting into a taxi costs €10 already.

3. Here are some things that frustrated me personally in Keszthely area:

a. They prefer speaking German than English. I went to a tourist info office near the beach and saw two young men, so I was confident that they would be able to speak English. I asked them if the supermarkets were open on Sundays and one of them replied in English, "Sorry, I don't speak English" and then he went to get a map to show me where the supermarkets were located.

In another tourist info office in Centrum, though, thankfully the woman there spoke English pretty well. Phew!!! But staying in Keszthely made me feel as though I should have taken up more German words!!! Didn't feel that way when we stayed in Budapest 'coz many people spoke more English there.

Side note: The most hilarious thing was that all through our stay, people either tried talking to R2 in Hungarian or German, but when we were in R-Kioski in Helsinki airport, the shopkeeper talked to R2 in English HA HA HA...I told him that he looked so international that he could be a Hungarian or a German or even an English-speaking person from goodness-knows-where! LOL!!!

Anyway, here's a pic of us near the beach. I was pleased to see so many swans, ducks, and some seagulls in the area. :-D

b. In almost every restaurant/cafe that we visited there, almost right away after we got the English menu or even while handing us the menu (some even assumed that we were Germans, so they gave us the German menu right away!), the waiter/waitresses asked us what we would like to drink. I find that a bit annoying because we didn't even know what they had to offer. So many times over we had to tell them to wait for a bit before we could choose.

Even while we were still obviously browsing the menu and even after we had told them to wait for a bit, most of them would come back so fast to ask again what we'd like to drink. GRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!! 

I also noticed that our plates would be taken away almost immediately after we had finished eating for some reason, though they didn't take the drinking glasses right away.

I complained to R2 that I found it annoying that they just assumed that we spoke Germans 'coz I didn't find any other Asians in Keszthely area and that upon seeing my face, I thought that people would resort to English instead of German, but he said that they may just assume that he was either a local or a German 'coz most of the time they spoke to him first instead of me.

My friend told me that it was normal for people to assume we spoke German 'coz Germany was the neighbouring country and that there were plenty of German-speaking Asians in Germany. Well, yeah, I suppose that's true, but still I felt a bit frustrated 'coz of that - because of the assumption more than anything else.

Gee...this post has been so long already, so I'll just stop here. I didn't check my emails or go online at all except for the last few days and boy it felt GOOD to be "disconnected" from the world every now and then. :-D

Last pic of the day: a creative-looking apartment-for-rent building in Heviz area (another town near Balaton lake area):


  1. Welcome back, Amel. Wow...2 weeks vacation. thanks for share the story here. Awesome. Love you shots...

    1. Yeah, and R2 is lucky enough to still have a few weeks of vacation he he...

  2. Glad you two had a great time! :)

    As for German being the predominant "second language" spoken there, I do remember that my friend from Budapest asked me if I spoke a little German before we could communicate very well in Finnish. I studied it in school, but didn't remember any of it. The rest of her family speaks English at a fairly high level, though, so I suppose that must be partly because they're from the Budapest area.

    It's odd that they assumed you guys spoke German, though...they must only get German/Austrian tourists in Keszthely?

    1. Yeah, I suppose that's true about the fact that there are mainly German/Austrian tourists in Keszthely/Heviz area (though I've heard some people speak English as well). One time we were walking around Heviz and an older lady asked us in German about something, but unfortunately we didn't understand what she meant 'coz neither of us had ever learnt German! :-( I hope she did get some help from other people, though, as I assume there are many other Germans in the area.

  3. dear Amel,
    thank you for beautiful photos.
    Do you know that Keszthely is only 79 kilometers from Slovenia :)
    (and 300 kilometers from Ljubljana)

    Ideas for next holidays:


    1. THANKS for your link. :-) I do have your country in mind for our future travel destination, but it also depends on where hubby wants to go, but it's in my list. :-D

    2. good, as long as it is on your list :)

    3. Oh yeah, it's right there indeed. :-D