Mate Hegyhati

Exercise or travel? Why not both?!

The first title of this post was "Saving money by exercises when travelling". I changed that, as it only reflects one aspect of what I want to say.  My main point is not to avoid certain types of transportation means in order to save a bunch of money. What I want to advertise is the idea of occasionally including / combining healthy activities when one needs to get from point A to point B. Sometimes it saves money / time. In some cases it does neither, but reduces the CO2 footprint, or just makes the time spent travelling more joyful.

Before having a deeper look at the "case-studies", let me emphasize, that obviously each situation is different. Often it is simply not an option to include riding / running as a transportation alternative, as the roads are icy and slippery, or the luggage is big, or I just simply cannot arrive all sweaty to my destination.

Attending my sisters dance performance with a RollerBlade

My younger sister not only excels in making awesome medal hangers, She likes to dance too. On the 6th of June Her group had a performance in Balatonboglar, which is at the other side of lake Balaton, as You can see here:

Source: google maps
Eating a "Balaton szelet" in the
middle of Balaton on the ferry
88 km in itself is not a big distance, but there are no direct buses or trains. One needs to change between them in Siofok, or by going the other way around: in Keszthely. Tickets would probably cost around $4-5. The luckiest  connection needs 2.5 hours, but the usual ones are around 3. Taking into consideration, that the trains and buses do not leave as I wish, I'd have probably needed to take off 4-5 hours before the show begins. And all of that 5 hours would have been sitting and waiting. As I grow older, I hate to waste time like that more and more. So I started thinking. There was an optional car-ride back to Veszprem thanks to my friends, so I only had to plan  my trip one-way. The performance will be on the beach, so it is not an issue if I'm not wearing a tuxedo when I get there. It has been a long time, since I had a long skate, so I started planning in that direction. I definitely cannot go with my skate all the way, as getting down from Veszprem to the level of Balaton would challange my skating skills a lot. But we have buses from Veszprem to different neighboring towns at Balaton (Balatonalmadi, Balatonfured) every 15 minutes or so. Still, going all the way the remaining 70 km would have been way too much, and I'd have to start really early, so the solution I came up with was the following:
  • Walking to a bus station in Veszprem - 15 min
  • Taking a bus to Balatonfured - 25 min - $1 or so
  • Skating from Balatonfured to the ferry at Tihany - 11 km - 45 min
  • Taking the ferry to Szantod - 30 min - $2
  • Skating from Szantod to Balatonboglar - 26 km - 1:40 min

So, altogether I probably did not save anything on my travel time, and maybe $1-2 on the costs. However, instead of just sitting for 4 hours, I was only sitting for 25 minutes on the bus, and 30 minutes on the ferry (which has a very nice view, so I didn't mind that much.). In the rest I was exercising. Here is the whole track (37.6 km in 2:25):

As a bonus, we had a swim in the lake after the performance. (Though the water was still a bit chilly)

Going to Performance hikes with a bike

I've recently covered what Phikes are, now the main point is, that these organized hiking events have a starting location. Luckily, there are plenty of them organized nearby, and can be accessed by riding a bike. I've done this plenty of times. Sometimes I only rode my bike before the hike, and then took a train back with the bike, but I want to tell You about an example when I did not use public transportation at all. 

In the end of July there is a nice festival organized close to Veszprem (30 km or so) called the "Valley of Arts".  Several small towns organize concerts, craftsmen are selling their goods, etc. While these are worth to check out, I was interested at the phike that was organized in that area to show the beautiful nature around those villages (photo above). It was a 25 km hike to which I managed to invite a good friend of mine too. We planned walking, not running, so I knew that I'll have many spare energy in me. The plan was simple:

Obviously, bicycles can be used a lot like this. I also used them to travel back to my parents in Nagykanizsa (135 km from Veszprem), usually having part of the trip done by a train. Sometimes I also took the ferry with it. 

Running home from a swimming race

Last, but not least, let's talk about running. Running is definitely not the best option, as one can only carry a few stuff with themselves. But, there are occasions, when it can still work out. Earlier in the same month I signed up for a famous swimming contest in my country: Swimming across Lake Balaton, which will be organized for the 35th time in 2017. I am not a big swimmer, but this is a doable, yet still challenging race with its 5.2 km distance.  Thousands participate and the direction is pretty well highlighted by ships: (yeah, those dots are swimmers)

Photo taken from
The race goes from Revfulop (north coast) to Balatonboglar (south coast). Revfulop is ~ 47 km from Veszprem, but I got that part of the trip covered, as a friend of mine from Veszprem was also participating, and offered a seat in His car. Also, His girlfriend offered me to bring my stuff to Balatonboglar (on a ship) while we are swimming. The other thing was, that my family had a vacation in Balatonfenyves, that is close to Balatonboglar. I wanted to spend some time with them, so I decided not to go back immediately with my friends, but stay a day there. Getting to Balatonfenyves was easy, as my brother in law was also swimming, and the whole family was waiting for us in Boglar. The only question that remained, how I can get back from Balatonfenyves the other day. As You can see, it is a bit farther then Balatonboglar:

The situation is the same as it was in the first case. I would have needed to change at least once to get back to Veszprem, and spend a lot of hours travelling. I had a crazy idea: what about running? I can wear my running gear while getting to the swimming part, then my friend will take that. The next day, I only need to carry my swimming gear with myself while running, which is basically nothing (pants, glasses, cap, and a small towel). So, this is exactly what I did. I brought a small running backpack with myself, and the next morning I ran from Balatonfenyves to Keszthely:

From Keszthely there are plenty of direct buses to Veszprem. One was actually departing when I arrived, but I decided to wait for the next one in 40 minutes and eat a Langos and drink a beer at a local bufet :-)

This photo does not feature the langos, so let me have another one here, that was taken, when I was riding back from a math camp in Fonyod (between Balatonfenyves and Balatonboglar) to Veszprem. 

So, how do You like the idea of exercising instead of just sitting on a train or bus? Is this doable in Your country? Let me know in the comments.

And as always: Thanks for reading! Sharing, comments and +1s are always appreciated. You can follow the blog on Google+Twitter, and Facebook.

Mate Hegyhati

About Mate Hegyhati

Amateur fun runner, geek, hiker.