After traveling spending some time in the picturesque town of Bratislava, the family made our way to the capital of Hungary: Budapest. We rode our bikes into the centre of the city where we had rented an apartment. After disembarking, the boys immediately went out to get some refreshments as we had not yet tried any Hungarian beer. The next few days were spent off our bikes discovering the city. However, we still managed to get in a lot of exercise, especially when exploring the hilly Buda side of the city which is west of the Danube River.
Budapest has a fascinating and extensive history, and therefore, there are a number of important sites to see when visiting the Hungarian capital. The House of Terror is a museum which chronicles the fascist and communist regimes in Hungary during the 20th century, and the atrocities committed during these dictatorships. Though the museum is quite horrifying, it is an important and sobering experience. The Parliament Building is another must see, for its incredible architecture and history. One of our favourite sites was the Castle Labyrinth on Castle Hill—a complex of caves underneath the Buda Castle district. After 6:00pm the lights are turned off and you can explore the caves with lanterns.
Of course, a trip to the Hungarian capital would not be complete without visiting one of their famous thermal baths. Széchenyi Baths, located in City Park, is one of the most popular baths in the city and features a number of pools which fed with thermal spring water. Gellért Baths is also very popular as it features some of the most beautiful pools in Budapest. A relaxing afternoon at the baths is the perfect way to spend an afternoon.
Our break from biking did not last long, and soon we were back on our bikes, heading south to Lake Balaton. It took us two days of riding to cover the 136km to the lake, but the journey was well worth it. The lake, which is absolutely gorgeous, is a popular place for Hungarian and German tourists in the summer. We spent hours swimming and lounging by the lakeside under the hot summer sun. Lake Balaton provided the perfect escape after spending a few nights in the big city. After a couple of nights, we mounted our bikes and continued our journey into Croatia.