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Balaton is not the French Riviera


  • We Love Balaton

07/08/2013 2.00am

Did you know that Balaton-felvidék has something to do with the Alien movies and Balatonszepezd is related to Bahrain? Did you hear that the marrow toast of Hatlépcsős in Balatonfüred has a new rival? Did you read somewhere that there's a guy, who is studying the ticks that annoy the bats? You didn't? We neither. Last week we hit the road - again - to explore Balaton. Our trip was called Legtúra, and now we didn't focus on the lángos, the wines and other well-known stuff. We got to know many things you wouldn't think of. Here come the extremities of Balaton.

The engine of the pickup truck roars while you're riding up a steep climb of the Keszthelyi-hegység and the road is so bumpy, you have to wear the helmet they gave you, already before entering Csodabogyós-barlang in Balatonederics. The cave's entrance couldn't be a bigger disappointment. You expect a giant door with a tricky riddle like the gates of Moria in The Lord of the Rings, but instead of this you have to squeeze yourself through a lame manhole cover. The cave was named after (Csodabogyós - Wonderberry) the bush in front of the entrance, but it's not very conspicuous, so many of cavers almost step on the poor plant.

I have memories of school trips to dripstone caves, but Csodabogyós cannot be compared to any of those. This is an exhausting 1.5 hour-crawl in the mud. The limestone was not shaped by water here: the volcanic hills of Balaton-Felvidék broke them into pieces. Because of this, there are no huge halls and empty spaces; Csodabogyós is full of narrow holes and slippery rifts. So visiting the cave is not a pleasant walk admiring the dripstones, more like a huge battle with the elements while you try to squeeze yourself through everything like a nymphomaniac spider.

While we work our way through the cave, we're asking the guides how many days it would take to rescue a caver with spinal injuries. The holes are so tight, our guess is it would last for months. The cavers are exactly the same as any man doing sweaty manual labour. At first they take you as some clumsy rookie, but after you beat a few obstacles, they'll tell you everything about their divorces and the difficulties of the studying of the ticks living in the cave.

What is beyond lángos?

Photo: Wingsuit: Floating Over Balaton. - We Love Balaton

There are a few advantages of getting off the beaten path between the beaches, the lángos buffets and the wine cellars around Balaton. First of all, you gain bragging rights by putting cool photos of an underground cave on your Instagram. It might not sound like a valid argument, but sometimes it really is. To be honest, you usually find the coolest experiences if you get off that path when you hear of an interesting place or some weird guy. And there’s a good chance you'll find something even more exciting once you get there.

We had no idea that the host at our accommodation in Balaton-felvidék had worked on last year's highly anticipated blockbuster, Prometheus. Now he's up to something even more exciting.
The sights, the climate, or the whole atmosphere of Balaton always attracts the unique guys and their ideas. Knowing this fact, it's no surprise that the world's biggest wingsuit competition is held at Siófok-Kiliti airport. The participants jump out of a helicopter and whoosh above Balaton in wingsuits, while underneath them racing catamarans sail the waters close to light speed at the Európa Kemping in Alsóörs.

Adventures for everyone

Photo: Gyulakeszi: Marrow Toast, A Real Kick At The Stomach. - We Love Balaton

It would be false to think that there is nothing left at Balaton for the average holidayer between the lángos-bungalow-beach triangle and extreme jumps from helicopters or sailing a catamaran.

Everyone has heard of the marrow toast in Balatonfüred's Hatlépcsős. When you're driving from Tapolca in Gyulakeszi's direction, take a break at the edge of the town opposite to the cemetery. The owner has forgotten to name to his bar/restaurant, but his marrow toast is beyond words. It is at least as good as the celebrated toast in Hatlépcsős, but less people know about it. What is more, Hatlépcsős's speciality lacks one important part: you can get cheese on the top of your marrow toast in Gyulakeszi. Sitting on the buffet's porch, staring at the inlier hills while the fatty marrow toast starts circling in your veins is simply awesome.

Balatonszepezd from Gyulakeszi is only a 20-minute-long car drive, and main road 71 takes you right to beach. A separate pier was built here for those who love diving and splashing. You will find the next paddle boat mooring at the next pier: a futuristic, streamlined vehicle. Gábor Ferenczy, the inventor hopes that Balaton soon will be filled withthese machines that are suitable for touring and racing as well. There is only one hydrocumbent for the moment, because the idea is waiting for a reliable factory. According to Gábor investors from Bahrain have already inquired. You can check it out while it is standing in the marina.
Tihany is not far away from Balatonszepezd. If surfing is another item on your bucket list, but there are no proper waves on Balaton and windsurfing looks way too complicated, then the cross between surfing and  boating called stand up paddle could be your thing. You can try it in Tihany's SUP Center and in Balatonföldvár's Viharsarok Sailing Center. It's the brand new trend, so you'll be more than hip, plus, it helps to disarm the fat grenade of the marrow toast.

Photo: Legtúra In The Sky, On The Ground, On The Water And Under The Ground. - Wlb

When you're at Balaton there is no need to go far in order to find something exciting, unusual thing in any season. We Love Balaton will help you with that, but nothing wrong can happen if you just head out into the wild world without any agenda. It is worth it for the sake of the adventure.
We got the waterproof Xperia Z cell phones from Sony, the mobile internet from Vodafone, the hybrid car from Toyota and the clothes from Pinetime.

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