You know that moment when you get a window of free time in your busy schedule?
I wonder, what’s first on your wish-list when such an opportunity arises?
We’ve always been keen fans of outdoor sports and nature, and recent medical studies begin to underline the vital importance of physical exercise for our overall physical, emotional and mental health. In fact, exercise is one of the three pillars of good health: diet, exercise and sleep.
So, when a window of opportunity opened in our schedule, we called a few friends, packed our bikes and headed for a few days of cycling on Balatoni Körút, the circuit around Balaton Lake in neighboring Hungary.
As always, we brought the good weather with us 😉 contrary to most approaches, we decided to circumambulate Balaton Lake the other way around, starting with the hardest part first, so we would relax flat cycling at the end. The full circuit is roughly 200km long, mostly on paved bike lanes snaking on the lake’s shores.
There’s something relaxing and peaceful about exercising in nature, cycling alongside lake shores, through thick fresh forests or pushing uphill slopes, passing by splendid lake-side summer villas abundant in blooming flowers, marinas filled with elegant sailboats, wild duck couples getting ready for mating season, fishermen chatting as they watch time passing by, and countless other small moments and places…
Albert Einstein once said: “There are only two ways to live your life: one is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle.”
An increasing number of research and studies show that the secrets to a happy life include exercising regularly and living in the present moment. Exercising has a wealth of benefits: it helps emotions move out of the body, releases endorphins, strengthens the brain making it more resilient to stress and adversity, reduces cortisol levels and releases stress, stimulates circulation and subsequently helps reduce inflammation in the body, and the list of health benefits goes on.
Cycling offers the perfect pace to explore new surroundings, faster than walking so you can cover more ground, and slower than driving so you have enough time to take in the scenery and discover its hidden treasures. And Balaton has many splendid spots you can enjoy while on two wheels in a short active vacation. From its reed covered shores hiding wild ducks, swans and storks, to its lavender fields waiting to bloom and hills covered in neatly trimmed vineyards, from its atmospheric medieval towns with picturesque houses decked with dry paprika or lavender produce and topped with their trademark reed roofs, to ruins of medieval fortresses, monoliths covered with runic writings and intriguing volcanic hills.
The largest lake in Central Europe, Balaton harbors on its shores an abundant historical legacy, however, probably one of the most historically charged places lays a short distance away from its shores at Székesfehérvár – the “White Castle”, the seat of the Hungarian Kingdom in the Middle Ages. Here the first kings of Hungary were crowned and buried, yet today there are little traces that evoke its glorious past. However, a local architect and sculptor built a fairy-tale castle on the outskirts of town that carries away your imagination to the time of the first Hungarian kings. Jenő Bory’s castle, create as his tribute to the love between man and woman, enchants with its flower gardens and eclectic architecture. Designed and built by Jenő Bory himself, the castle is decorated with his own works, including rows of statues of all Hungarian kings that make you think here was the actual seat of the Hungarian kingdom, and a private chapel with a personal touch, painted by Bory himself…
As our window of time off began to close, so did the weather began to change pushing us to head back home and for the time being pause our exploration of Balatoni Körút.
until next time, keep moving!Tags: balaton, balatoni, bike, bory, castle, circuit, cycling, hungary, korut, lake, lavender, paprika, szekesfehervar