What does a typical day out with BCC involve?

Hungary, Tour -

What does a typical day out with BCC involve?

So you have decided to go on a day tour with BCC, perhaps to start on the Ipolyriver and amble down to the Danube and some cool picnic spots, and you aren't sure what's going to happen. Here is a typical diary of the day...
After breakfast in our hotel we met the BudapestCanoe guys, Zsu and Dominic, outside the hotel entrance. They were both smiling and wearing blue uniforms with the BCC logo, so they were easy to spot!

They made sure that we were all together and had our sun hats and sun cream before climbing into our transport to the North. The journey was only about an hour and the countryside is beautiful. It's cool because they know the area well and time flew by as they explained local customs and taught us some simple Hungarian words.
We rested in a pretty little village near the starting point, long enough for a toilet stop and a quick "coffee to go"! Then drove the last few kilometers to the river.

All the canoes were on a big trailer and everyone helped to unload them and get them to the river. We all got a buoyancy jacket and a paddle and left anything we didn't want to take with us in the transport before Dominic explained some basic safety. Some of our group had never paddled before and we were offered canoe catamarans, which I had not seen before. It was good because Dominic set up two canoes with wooden bars so we could see how stable a canoe catamaran is and then said that he would go in it with up to 5 of the group. It was the best because no one felt embarrassed and the beginners had a choice.

With our group, we then had one catamaran with 4 people and 5 canoes, each with 2 people.

The first river was really shallow and we could have walked in it if we wanted to. This was nice because none of us were nervous and once we had gone 500 meters we were alone in the countryside and could relax. Dominic's boat was at the back so we knew he was there to look out for us and every now and then we waited for him and he gave us some tips to help make our canoeing easier.

About 1 hour into the journey we saw the Danube. It's big. VERY big and a bit scary after the little river which was no more than 12 meters wide. The Danube looked about 200 meters across and there were a few cargo ships sailing down, so we stopped on a nice shaded beach to stretch our legs and have a drink.

Dominic told us that we only needed to paddle down the side of the Danube and didn't need to go into the shipping lane at all... unless we wanted to check out a boat graveyard on the other side. We all agreed to go and have a look! As it was, it wasn't scary at all.

The big boats weren’t that big and the water was really calm. We stayed together and gently paddled with the flow of the Danube. There was a wide opening into a sheltered bay and we found the boat graveyard and were told a little bit about it.

Next we came back to other side and found a great beach for lunch. Zsu and Dominic had prepared an amazing lunch of local foods, so we had sausage and salads and fresh bread and home made jams (from their family) and even some local wines!

I knew they were going to feed us but I didn't expect so much and such a personal attention to sharing this with us.
Group photo time! After such a fabulous meal, we had some great photos and then carried on paddling.
         

I was tired, so maybe the extra glass of wine was unnecessary, but I perked up when we came around a bend in the river and I could see an awesome castle on the top of the hills in the distance.

  It took about an hour to reach the castle and we crossed over the river once again where Zsu was waving a flag and waiting with our transport.

The flag was helpful because now we all knew where the finish point was and some of us raced to get to the flag first! We all helped put the boats back on the trailer and had some more group photos.

At this point, we could have returned to Budapest and been back by 5:30. Some of our group had discussed going to a theatre show in the evening but we all agreed to go to a knight's tournament and banquet as part of our canoe tour instead.

So, the castle we were looking out turned out to be where the tournaments are held! It was a nice ten minutes stroll up the hillside and there we were, right in the middle of a medieval castle, being offered mead in pottery mugs and meeting the knights! Two people were elected to be our king and queen and another was the court jester.  The knights were really professional and put on a fantastic show.

After it had finished, we strolled back down the hill to the medieval restaurant. Some of us dressed up in the fancy dress that was hanging up in our dining room and we were served in clay pots and on clay plates with so much food we couldn't eat it all.

Suitably stuffed, we returned to our hotel and I slept very well indeed that night.
                    
It turns out that there was a 4 star hotel just along the road from the banquet. There were also some craft shops we could have visited and I hadn't realised that we didn't even get to the main castle! Zsu explained that we could do a 2 or 3 day tour next time and see the rest. Yes please!