Surreal. It may be 2011, but that morning, it could’ve been 1981. The dusty campground beside Lake Velence was populated, not by tents and RVs, but by Ladas. Hundreds of them. With people sprawled across the seats, sleeping. A few pot-bellied men in droopy boxer shorts already gripped cans of beer in front of the snack bar. “My family always had Ladas,” my friend said nostalgically. She understood, if not shared, the affection that the Lada Club Hungary members lavished on their cars, collected at this convention. We used the toilet paper-less communal rest rooms, and returned to our group.
So began a tour around Lake Velence – four of us running, two of us biking. A cool wind was blowing, which whipped itself into a fierce headwind as we rounded the lake between Dinnyés and Pákozd. Next time we’ll go the other way around! In fact, that’s what lots of people were doing… it turned out there was a marathon and supermarathon that day which we didn’t know about. The lake tour is 30km, or at least it would’ve been, had my son (aged 5, on a tagalong bike) and I not taken a wrong turn at the military memorial. So we did a 33km tour instead. The runners in our team managed to stay mostly on course.
If you decide to try it, start and finish in Velence, the nicest town on the lake, and follow the bike path signs, even when they seem counterintuitive! Most of the round trip is on bike paths, with a long stretch near Gárdony on a rather busy road, which you can avoid by going on smaller streets parallel to the shore. Lake Velence is less than an hour from Budapest, and it’s a good day trip if you’re up to it! Enjoy!
Here’s a map: http://g.co/maps/zb3j
Or you can read more about Lake Velence and other day trip destinations and events here: http://www.funzine.hu/category/out-of-town/near-budapest/