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Freedom, ride, Transfagarasan – my first big expedition! #Part 3

Do you remember the previous parts of my report from my trip to Romania? Today it is the last part of my article about trip and my return home through Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic. For those who have not looked into the previous articles, I invite you to read them – the first one you will find here and the second one here.

The fifth day of the expedition was the best, the sixth the worst and the seventh… the most boring, but also sometimes such boredom is needed. To make up a little bit of the road he hadn’t been able to cover the day before, I chose the fastest option to get to the Hungarian Balaton, i.e. driving on the highways only. A moment and I was already on the border, there was another quick control, and right away the first exit to buy a vignette. At the window I met an Englishman, who alone travelled here on his BMW and was now on his way back from Serbia. It was great to talk to him. His passion for exploring the world in the saddle of a motorcycle propelled his life.

Day 7: Reșița (Romania) – Siófok (Hungary): 577 km

Then the highways and the highways and the uninteresting views. It would be possible to fall asleep. But the weather tried to apologize for yesterday’s incident, so the sun was drying the rest of the clothes I put under the net on the trunk. Finally, however, I saw in the distance a huge water body surrounded by green hills. Yes, it is Balaton, the largest lake in Central Europe. From a distance, it looks nice. On the pictures, I saw beautiful beaches, but I came to the shore at the end of an ordinary street. There was no beach there, only wooden stairs leading to the water, reeds were growing around, swans were swimming, people were swimming in the distance. I didn’t want to look for a better place. It doesn’t matter. I’ve never been turned on by big water, I’ve always preferred mountains.

It was time to find a place to stay. In the place where theoretically the tourist business should flourish, I hoped to find it without any problems. However, the reality was different. Many hotels on the banks of Balaton were closed, devastated or put up for sale. The same goes for ordinary houses offering accommodation. I knocked in vain everywhere. Many houses had also a sign “for sale”. After more than two hours I found three active hotels, one of which had no places, the other two had a price of 40-45 euros per night! I was not able to pay that much, because during my trip I paid 20 euros for a night at the most. Finally I managed to find something on Last-minute offer 50% off from 45 euros to 22.5 euros with breakfast included. Okay. That’s how much I could spend. Only finding this hotel wasn’t easy, because it had buildings located on 3 streets and the address on the website was one. A phone conversation with a receptionist who instructed me how to find the right one building could become a Monty Python sketch. I thought I was in a hidden camera. I have never had such a comical conversation in my life. But in the end, after more than 10 minutes of explaining and defining each other’s locations, I succeeded. The end of a boring day with a crazy ending.

Day 8: Siófok (Hungary) – Pinkafeld (Austria): 309 km

Sumeg Castle

The time has come to slowly get away from Hungary. The weather was good. The last point to visit was the medieval castle Sumeg (Sümegi vár). Entrance for 1500 forints, which is about 5 EUR. Cool, quiet place, although the courtyard could look more climactic because the square with grass where the horse and donkey grazed somehow did not fit into the castle walls. It was good that the employees cared about the climate. Everyone dressed in period costumes, successive knightly stagings, and stories. I miss something like that in Polish castles. In Poland, they think about how to sell a lot of tickets and to put as many stalls as possible, and if they can even hang advertising on the walls somewhere. Costumes from the epoch and staging!? Forget it! If it’s all over since the holiday, but who would like to do it on a daily basis? However, the Hungarians show that they can!

Riegersburg Castle

It was time to leave their land and go to neighboring Austria. This country greeted me with beautiful winding roads. I was rushing past golden fields and small towns. After some time I reached the Riegersburg Castle. A beautiful baroque fortress set on a huge basalt rock. Ticket for entry and sightseeing from the outside cost 6 EUR. For the entrance to the interior already 19 EUR. Expensive, anyway, as everywhere, where this currency is valid. I arrived 40 minutes before closing, so there was no point in taking this more expensive option. The tour of the castle satisfied me anyway, and the view of the panorama of Austrian lands was very nice.

The evening was approaching so I had to start looking for accommodation again. After the experiences from the previous day I immediately got into the booking and found a cheap room in the dorm in the city of Pinkafeld. In the distance, I saw dark clouds illuminated by lightning flashes. Of course, I had to go in their direction. It hadn’t rained in Pinkafeld yet, but my Romanian navigation didn’t have coded numbers of buildings, so it was even more difficult to find the specific one. It started to drip, the sky became black and the wind broke. Minutes separated me from finishing up in a downpour again. Fortunately, one of the men in the pub explained to me how I could find a dorm. I got there literally at the last minute. I quickly took out my luggage, covered my motorcycle with a cover and ran to the hotel. Immediately after crossing the threshold it started to rain, which did not leave the city until late at night.

Day 9: Pinkafeld (Austria) – Brno (Czech Republic): 263 km

I was also lucky not to get wet on the ninth day of the route, although it promised to be completely different, as dark clouds accompanied me throughout the day. Slowly I was heading towards Poland. On the way I stopped at one of the most popular tourist points in Europe, that is Vienna. It takes at least a few days to see everything this city has to offer. Having little time, I decided to visit only Schönbrunn Palace. It is a baroque building built under Emperor Leopold I. There was something to look at, in addition, as a wish from behind the clouds came out the sun, so the visual reception of this place was even better. The palace, behind which stretched huge spaces decorated with carefully trimmed gardens, among which were spread small fountains, sculptures, and flowery carpets and the famous Neptune fountain set at the foot of the hill, on top of which the Gloriette was Maying – all this was composed in a truly imperial scenery. Although there are a lot of tourists there, you still don’t feel crowded because the terrain is so huge. Probably and all day long it’s not enough to get around it all, and also to visit the palace itself. Maybe one day I will succeed.

I didn’t have much time because I wanted to get to the Czech Republic, and the congested Viennese streets effectively discouraged me from visiting anything. On the highway, I escaped from the city and went further north. I quickly reached Brno, where I could easily find a place to stay, and by the way, I had a funny conversation with the receptionist. I wanted to talk to him in Czech, but when he found out that I was from Polish he switched to English. I still tried spoke Czech, and he stubbornly continued in English. Strange, but at least, each of us practiced a foreign language.

Day 10: Brno (Czech Republic) – Pawłowice (Poland): 392 km

Czeska Macocha

It’s time to go back to Poland. The last point on my list of places to visit was the Czech Macocha. It is a karst crater located in Vilemovice. At its bottom there is the Punkevní jeskyně (Punkevní Cave). I got there already at 10 a.m., but there were so many people willing to visit it, that I got a ticket only at 1:40 p.m. It was worth waiting. The ticket alone cost me 180 kc (7 EUR). It’s worth going downstairs by yourself, enjoying the beautiful road down through the forest. At the end of the path we will reach the entrance to the Punkevni cave. There are a lot of them in this region, but Punkevni is the most popular. That’s where I used my ticket. The cave looks amazing, probably even better than the Demänovská Cave of Freedom, but still, the most fun was an underground cruise through the cave’s flooded corridors. Great thing! I didn’t think I’d like it there. Bravo for the Czechs, because they perfectly prepared everything for tourists and certainly had to put a lot of work to make such a cave suitable for sightseeing. After lunch in the local restaurant, I moved further. I’m getting closer to Poland. For my farewell to the route, the weather decided to tease me for the last time, but no weather will discourage me from the expedition!

I returned to my homeland after 3501 km on motorcycle. After 10 days I finally heard the Polish language. I won’t say that I missed it. It is a pity that my adventure is over.  During my tour, many people asked me why I was traveling alone. The answer was always the same: “to feel truly free and independent”. Only by travelling alone can you experience this feeling. Even though things didn’t always go my way, I wouldn’t change the slightest thing in what I’ve experienced. Everything hardens in battle and makes the satisfaction from the achieved goal even greater. I can’t wait to see more of these wonderful routes. There is no better place in the world for me than in the saddle of my motorcycle, wherever I go.

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