Quick note to myself for future reference. Here follow some of the hard facts learned on the field about Hungary during my current bike trip, started from northern Italy, through Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, and now Hungary – which, unlike the previous countries, is a completely novel experience for me, and one that shattered most of my expectations.
The Hungarians are the freaks of Central Europe in that they stand aside from the rest, culturally and linguistically, coming as they do from a different ethnic group altogether. For that reason alone I nursed a feeble hope that they might also be different, and perhaps, less hideous to me than the average Westerner, Well, they are not. If they stand aside at all it is in the very peculiar level of their bestiality.
When you get there, the first thing that hits you squarely in the mug is the dismal level of unfitness of the general populace: I have hardly ever come across such a bunch of fat, decrepit, and overall disgusting people. They easily break any conceivable standards on the way down to absolute bestiality – one must see to believe. Nearly all women are obese and repulsive to the eye, and pretty much all men carry a huge belly besides looking equally repulsive, excepting the very young. I should imagine the sight of somebody as thin and fit as myself must make here for a fairly unusual encounter – almost like an alien from an outer world.
On top of that, the girls are at best passable, but mostly shapeless and clearly, from a young age on their way to becoming huge blobs of lard like their mothers.
Why they get the way they get is anybody’s guess. I refuse to believe they have always been like this throughout their history. My own guess, coming from my observations, is that they simply eat like pigs – shitloads of meat and junk of all descriptions, and are also fairly addicted to the car – being possibly even worse on that count than my already extreme co-nationals. Smoking is also quite common. At any rate, they are a pain to behold. As ever, it beggars belief in my view, how any human beings can let themselves slip down to such level of subhuman degradation and still go about their daily business as if their petty errands were all that matters. But such is human nature. I should imagine, besides, that overabundance of company in the predicament makes it a lot easier to bear. As for me, I could never get used to it, and likely never will – to me a human is a human, a pig is a pig.
The capital city, Budapest, has been a huge disappointment. It is far overrated. For reasons that are incomprehensible to me, it carries the reputation of a jewel little city, but it really is a conglomerate of old, chaotic, and badly maintained streets and buildings stuffed with maddening, life-threatening traffic. Its famous Buda Castle is but a joke, its glamorous city of Pest is dreary and anonymous, besides being choked-full with winos and tramps and generally unhappy people wandering aimlessly around or simply lying down anywhere, if not on the very pavement. Not a pretty sight. I wonder why they never tell you this in the brochures.
Another big scam is the renown lake Balaton, which in fact is little more than a big puddle of murky water with ducks and all. The Hungarians allegedly flock there in droves every summer, most likely – I should imagine – for lack of better options.
As for the biking itself, I must point out that here many routes officially marked for cycling are in a truly parlous state, if not downright dangerous and impassable. I have often had to crawl my way through mountains of dust, steep and impervious pathways, and endless strings of treacherous puddles of muddy clay. It may also be worth noting that possible alternative main roads are often forbidden to bike riders, so that it can sometimes be a bit of a riddle picking out a safe way to ride from A to B. It doesn’t always feel like being in a first world country.
Anyway, not all is bad about the country. There are some local idiosyncrasies that are not often found elsewhere and which are not bad at all – chief among them, the almost total absence of immigrants (of course, I don’t like immigrants – the shitty ones, I mean; no one likes them, although the politically correct among us won’t air the feeling in such reckless words). I would put this down to the conservative, and also somewhat xenophobic character of the population. I’ve regularly been addressed in Hungarian, in spite of my loaded bike that, I suppose, unmistakably speaks of long distance travel, and time and again have remarked a subtle shift in my counterpart’s attitude upon discovering of my being a foreigner. Ultimately though, this refreshing lack of ethnic scum on the streets is more than outdone by the grossly unsightly locals, making it equally impossible for me to mix with the crowds, and fostering my usual misanthropic flight response. With me, it is never about race or culture themselves; it is always about being a civilised self-aware human versus being a grossly disgusting pig.
Another good point is the notable absence of stupid joggers in the parks and on the bike-tracks, due to the obvious reluctance of the locals to practice any sort of exercise whatever. Compare that to the very different, and frankly annoying experience of riding in our cities and parks, which are perpetually filled with miserable-looking, guilt-ridden, waistline-conscious deluded twats.
Another local peculiarity is that the Hungarians are nowhere near as addicted to their smartphones as the average Westerner. The common depressing sight of seas of morons with their eyes glued to a tiny screen, walking zombie-like unaware of the world around them is certainly not to be found here.
And lastly a word about the language barrier. I’ve been to countries where they spoke Spanish, French, German, Dutch, Danish, and have always managed to get a handle on the meaning of the written and spoken language. But in Hungary I’ve only ever been utterly mystified by their incomprehensible idiom. Time and again, it has been a common occurrence for me to stare blankly at any random sign, unable to decrypt its meaning, or at some public building, unable to name its function.
I’m now headed across the border, to Slovakia, and then Austria. Overall, I don’t feel like coming back here any time soon, or that I’ll miss this place in any way. Camelot remains as elusive as ever.