Friday 09.08.2013 315km Total:2019km
Luckily it wasn't the usual scorcher but instead a bit overcast when we checked out so it only took 6 breaks to prevent a coronary carrying back the gear to the garage and the bikes.
I really like my panniers, they are very good for transporting things inside but they're definitely not made to be carried any longer distances.
We could have taken a boat-taxi for the bargain price of €70 for 800 meters but I'd rather console myself with a luxury dinner for that kind of money.
Venice is very charming but it definitively isn't cheap.
We get out on the Autostrada towards Slovenia and the Vršič pass.
As per usual there are pile-ups along the way and the Italians rive just as aggressive as the Germans only a lot worse so the name of the game is to keep focused.
Going through the last of the tolls riding off the Autostrada we've paid €32 in total for the pleasure of standing still on their Autostradas.
We went to a couple of places to get a Vignette (a sticker to show you've paid the tax).
I tried explain that I'd happily pay as a car (€15 instead of €7.5) just to get one and have it over with but they refused to sell me one and didn't have one for bikes.
The third one sold me two Vignettes for motorcycles and when I with a broad smile on my face hand one of them over to the bear he just looks at it and then back at me before asking: just why did you buy a Vignette for Austria?
God damn it!
We decide to go over the border anyway and continue on to Vršič.
The roads are spectacular and the view against the mountain backdrop was sublime, we haven't even gotten to the pass and already this is the best riding I've done ever!
We almost alone on the road and not an RV in sight.
When we get on the pass the riding goes from good to amazing.
I think there where a few rain droplets on the pass but I can't rule out that they where my own tears of joy.
Over on the other side we stop at a petrol station to get the much desired Vignettes.
The reason I was adamant about getting these was because I read in a Swedish motoring magazine about someone who had missed getting one and was fined €800.
I really didn't want that that happen.
We get a very warm welcome at check in at the hotel and after freshening up a bit we go out to get supper.
To get to the restaurant we cross a real charming city centre that I regret we couldn't dedicate more time to.
Our destination was an eatery called Spajza.
A nice restaurant even aesthetically that served traditional Slovenian food.
A ate smoked duck breast as a starter and bacon wrapped rabbit as main and Bear had soup of the day as starter and horse (sorry all equestrians) as main.
It was good eating even though I did feel that the more or less raw duck breast grew a little in my mouth for every chew.
The local beer Lasko was excellent.
The prices where more or less like in Venice but this was a pretty classy restaurant.
We did a small tour of the city with a long detour back to the hotel with a stop along the way for some sorbet. Hurray for ice-cream I can eat!
Saturday 10.08.2013 466km Total:2557km
We're still lucky with the weather. It just slightly overcast with a nice temperature.
We load the gear on the bikes and head out on one of the longer highway legs of the journey without any scenic routes planned.
We march on pretty good and after a very nice dinner at a hotel along the way it's time to fill up on petrol.
Even though we saw the queues to the pumps riding in we didn't dare risk it since we weren't sure we'd have enough petrol to take us to the next station.
The reason for the queues where some sort of digital communication mishap between the pumps and the register and that an enormous amount of people where getting a Vignette for Hungary before riding through the tolls.
I took an hour and ten minutes to get 14 litres of fuel. It felt like a rationing line in the communist days of old.
We continue towards Budapest in side winds that are just crazy.
It's bad enough with the turbulence in 130km/h on the Tiger, with intermittent side winds it like crosstraining just keeping on the bike but at least it was easy keeping focused.
We check in at the Palazzo which is even grander than it looked in the photos.
The name is very suitable since it felt like entering a palace.
We get installed on the room and shower before heading out in search of supper, since it served us well the last time we ask around again for a nice place and head there.
Being geographically challenged we unfortunately fail miserably in locating that particular restaurant but our wandering led us onto some sort of restaurant/bar street so we still manage to find a nice place and get a couple of traditional Hungarian dishes.
I had beef stew with noodles (I'm a bit suspicious about how "traditional" noodles are in Hungary).
It was really good and the whole meal for both of us including beer was only 5000 Hungarian forints which is about €14.
It is after all Saturday so with the eatery out of the way we venture on in search of a suitable drinkery (is that a word? if it isn't it should be).
Finding somewhere to enjoy to enjoy some local brews without being forced to listen to music that makes you suicidal proved to be harder than it seemed.
For some horrible reason most places tried to lure customers into their locales with jazz music. The horror. The unspeakable horror.
After walking the whole of the strip back and forth it seems like the most rocking place we're likely to find is Hard Rock Café so we take a seat at the bar.
Barely halfway through the first beer a gentleman takes a seat beside us and asks us where we're from.
Turns out he's a Norwegian called Øystein and a metal head at that so finding common grounds for conversation wasn't difficult and for some reason it just got easier the more we drank.
We eventually get a table with the Norwegian we're we continue our binge until the staff more or less literally throw us out.
I can't speak for anyone else but I had at least one beer to many at that point.
Øystein said the taxi rates where quite reasonable and a cab ride back to the hotel would be about €5.
Bear who usually never agrees to cab rides just out of pure principle relents and we get a cab from what was supposed to be a reputable company.
But upon payment the driver pulls a fast one on us and replaces a 20000HUF note for a 2000 and he even has the balls to do it twice and we realized nothing until after the fact.
In total we paid about €60 each for what should have been a €5 cab ride so I guess he didn't have to drive any more customers that week.
I was annoyed but we where easy targets being as drunk as we where and I take it in stride, travel long enough and someone's bound to take advantage of your naivety eventually.
The Bear on the other hand was livid, the devil himself would be both proud and envious of the pure hatred he expressed for Hungarian cabbies.
I see no more joint cab-rides in our foreseeable future.
As if the trickster cabbie wasn't bad enough we need to do some washing when we get back to the hotel but at least we sobered up some before getting to bed.
Sunday 11.08.2013 0km
We force ourselves out of our beds after six hours of sleep.
I can definitely feel the consequences of yesterdays bad decisions as I'm tired as hell and I feel like I'm aboard a rocking boat but at least I don't have a migraine.
We get ridiculously small portions of the breakfast buffet and hit the town, specially the old town called Buda.
The two parts of the town Buda and Pest are divided down the middle by the river Donau that flow right through it.
Eventually we end up at some sort of cable car/elevator thingy that takes us to the area around Buda Castle.
After walking up an appetite in the beautiful surrounding we get lunch at Budapest Terrace with a spectacular view of the city.
After checking out the castle. the parliament building (we managed to arrive just when there where a changing of the guard when we arrived) and St. Stephens Basilica we head back towards the new town which amongst other places takes us to the city hall.
Now the bloodsugar and caffeine levels are getting ridiculously low so we stop by an ice cream parlour before we walk the few kilometres back to the restaurant street, for once I don't complain about us not taking a cab.
We sit down at a restaurant called Paprika for some traditional Hungarian grub, Bear had goulash yesterday so today I guess it was my turn and my goodness what a soup that was.
It was so hot and spicy that the tear flowed freely along we the sweat beads.
As main I had chicken and pasta in tomato sauce which doesn't sound very Hungarian but they assured me it was and I fell for it.
No matter the origin it was very good, regretfully I couldn't even finish it after the goulash.
I try to be gentleman when I can so I don't usually comment on these things but I do have to say that Hungarian women are the most beautiful I've ever seen. Anywhere. Ever.
If there are any aesthetically challenged women here at all they must have kept indoors throughout our stay.
Just sitting at an open-air café was how it must feel like for a juror at a miss universe pageant.
And if you stand on the street with a map in your hands looking confused for a minute a Heidi Klum lookalike will stop and give you directions so they're not only beautiful, they're friendly and helpful too.
I guess touring gets in the blood in some way because even though it's great being able to scatter belongs all across a room for a longer stay it just takes a couple of days before the urge to move on sets in.
We head back to the hotel and plan a bit and a book the hotel for Bratislava before chilling in front of a movie on the pc and that's all she wrote.