Budapest to Bled

Tuesday, September 6, 2022 - 19:45

Two days in one today since we didn't end up doing very much on our second full day in Budapest yesterday. This wasn't for lack of trying, but we got a little bit unlucky with some of the activities we had planned. First I had to work in the morning which was my first time working in the CEST timezone in several weeks, and meant I finished by lunch time which was nice. Our first planned activity for the afternoon was to visit the Museum of Terror about the Communist times in Hungary. However when we checked the distance to the museum we unfortunately saw it was closed on Monday's; this was our first activity scuppered. Our second activity was to go and visit the most famous mineral water baths in the city, the Szechenyi Baths. We had read that it isn't safe for babies to go in the mineral water so planned to do a short tour of the complex we had read about on their website and that was supposed to start at 4pm. We took the metro to the baths, making this our first metro journey of the trip, and arrived in good time at 3.30pm. When we went inside though the rather rude women at the ticket office laughed at us when we asked about the walking tour and simply said "no tour, this is public bath!" very abruptly. Without a tour to do, we thought that since we were here we might as well go inside (we had packed swimsuits just in case) and take it in turns to look after Lucy. However we hadn't brought towels of flip flops with us and the only option was to buy some from the adjacent shop, with no rentals available. We were prepared to spend a little bit, but of course they were only selling fairly expensive branded towels and flip flops, which would have worked out at £21 each. Given this meant the whole thing including entry would have cost nearly £40 per person, and we couldn't go together anyway, we decided to give it a miss at this point. We did get to take in the building though which is beautiful, and we stopped in the nearby park to have some afternoon tea and an ice cream stuffed chimney cake which was delicious.

Feeling a little deflated we got the metro back to the city centre and headed to another famous building we had been recommended: the Dohány Street Synagogue, which is the second largest synagogue in the world. The building was beautiful and it was interesting to read about how it was designed in a Moorish style, looking something like a building at the Alhambra complex in Granada. Apparently the architect did it like this since there is no such thing as Jewish architecture historically, and he wanted to design it with a Middle Eastern feel. After this we walked back to the apartment taking in more of the city streets. I then went for a lovely run along the Danube, first on the Pest side, then running over the Margaret Bridge to see the park in the middle of the river, and then back along the Buda side, getting to take in the much better view of the Parliament Building. We then went to a Hungarian restaurant (Púder Bárszínház) near our apartment to try some authentic Goulash (delicious) and local beer and wine.

As for today, we left Budapest bright and early at 8am since we had a lot of driving to do to get to our hotel near Lake Bled for the night. There are a few different ways to drive from Budapest to Lake Bled, and we opted for one which took us through the east of Austria since we haven't been to that part of Austria before. This route was the more expensive option though since it meant we needed to buy both an Austrian motorway vignette (€10 for 7 days) and a new Slovenian one (€15 for 7 days) rather than just a Slovenian one. It was refreshing to cross the border from Hungary to Austria without even stopping after all the hours waiting at different borders the last two months! Once in Austria we stopped for a late lunch at the country's second city of Graz. This was pretty much exactly what we expected from a second city of Austria, with the same architecture as Vienna, and a similar vibe with the streets being rather peaceful, well kept and clean. The city straddles the Mur river which we'd never heard of, and has a hill right in the centre with an old clock tower on top. We were going to have some schnitzel but couldn't quite find the right place with reasonable prices and dog friendly seating - some schnitzels cost €25 which we thought was a bit much for a lunch. Instead we opted for some wurst (hot dogs) at the market in the central square which were of course delicious given we are in a part of the world famous for its sausages!

Once we'd finished in Graz we hit the road for the last part of the drive to Bled. This was when finally after some very boring scenery on recent drives, we started to see something interesting again for this stretch. We left behind the flat plains of Central/Eastern Europe and started to reach the edge of the Alps in Austria. This meant hills that eventually became mountains in the distance and by the Slovenian border. We aren't quite in the Alps-proper yet (we'll get there tomorrow), but these are definitely mountains and worthy of a few photos along the way. As expected given we are now in Western Europe, the motorway was impressive and took us on many raised stretches across valleys and through tunnels. The final part of the drive as we crossed the border between Austria and Slovenia was through the 8km long Karawanks Tunnel which crossed the mountain range dividing the two countries, though cost €7.50 in an additional toll not included in either country's vignette which we thought was a bit cheeky.

Our hotel for the night is in a small village just outside Bled, and leaves us perfectly positioned to see Lake Bled in the morning before we continue our journey through the Alps into Italy.

Electric Vehicle EV Notes: 

We had been a bit concerned about the cost of parking in Budapest given all the hotels we were considering had €20-30 daily parking charges, and our Airbnb host advised the car park next to the apartment was €20 daily. We came ready to spend at least €60 on parking but in the end we didn't pay a penny, since it was free to park on the street near the Market Hall on Saturday and Sunday, and there is no charge if you have an EV charging in one of the EV-specific bays in the street. We therefore left the car charging all day Monday, got free parking overnight again, and left in time for the 8am charges to start this morning.
- eCharge station on Csarnok Ter, Budapest. Free parking while you charge and a very modest 129 HUF (about 27p) per KW. Turns out this eCharge company have stations across Western Europe including many on the route we are taking home, and most listed as being free to charge. We will therefore keep the app downloaded for now and investigate if this is correct or too good to be true.

We also charged on the way to Bled today, which was fairly complicated to plan since there are hundreds of chargers on the way and they vary wildly in price and charging speed. In the end we had to go for two which charge hourly rates, though this was cheaper and more convenient than some of the other chargers en-route. Charging in Austria seems to be particularly expensive.
- Charger in the parking at NH Hotel, Graz. This seemed like a good idea since it meant we could charge while we parked in the city centre, with the car park even having the EV charging integrated into the payment system where you scan your parking ticket and then pay for both parking and electricity at the machines when you leave - very impressive. Only catch was we drew just 3KW from the charger (perhaps because they were all occupied) and it sill decided to charge us €4.50 for 2 hours of charging on top of €3.80 per hour to park, working out to be very expensive and such a small top up it wasn't worth it at all.
- Mobiliti near Szombathely, Hungary, priced at 14,760 HUF (about £32) per hour for a 50KW charger.
- KELAG Charging Station near Saag in Austria, up to 300KW. Priced at €42 per hour which worked out quite expensive given the car only drew a maximum of about 90KW and mostly around 60-70KW.

Miles Driven: 
Apartma Dana-Brinjtesa


Wow, that does seem expensive charging! Im wondering what lens you are using as the verticals are converging a lot.

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