Beetles, Baby Goats, and Drégely Castle

Drégely Castle

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We finally made it to Drégely Castle! The morning dawned crisp and clear and, after bidding our first couch surfer a fond farewell, we headed to Nyugati train station to catch the 8:41am train to Vác. From Vác we caught a bus to Kisvác, where we boarded the tiny little diesel train that runs through gorgeous Hungarian farmland all the way to the Slovakian border. 

The hike to Drégely Castle starts at the Sáferkút train stop, which is quite frankly in the middle of nowhere. The train stops, you step off onto a wide patch beside the tracks, and the train leaves. To be fair the stop does have a sign that says “Sáferkút”, but that is all it has, no building, no benches, nada…the Sáferkút stop only exists because the trail to the castle starts in the general vicinity.

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As we started up the trail we realized we were doing our first real hike of the summer, and as such we were still outfitted for a less hot and humid environment. As the sweat started dripping and the mosquitoes started swarming we began making mental lists of what we would need to add to our packs for the next hike…mosquito repellent, neck cooling wraps, portable escalator…etc. As we have previously mentioned (in the Drégely Castle Recon Hike post) the hike to the castle is uphill, since castles tend to be built on top of hills (the whole see your enemy coming across the plains plan of defense). Along the way we saw beautiful woods, and one REALLY cool male European Stag Beetle, which provided an excellent excuse to take a break and a bunch of photos. 

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Once we crested the top of the hill, we were greeted with a cool breeze, sweeping panoramic views where one would definitely be able to see an invading arming coming from a loooong way away, and some pretty cool castle ruins. We enjoyed a lovely picnic lunch on the castle walls, figured out where the Hungarian/Slovakian border was located, and then headed down the far side of the hill towards the Drégelyvar train stop (this time we did NOT run down the trail as referenced in the Recon Hike post). Although we did encounter stinging nettles along side the trail, which Julia quickly identified after her hand brushed up against a bush. 

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We arrived at the train stop with over an hour before the next train and decided to wander into town to find a cold beer. After 20 minutes of walking down a road thru a Hungarian rural suburb under a blazing hot sun with no beer in sight, Julia decided laying under a tree at the train stop would be more fun, so we headed back to the station. At the train stop we found a water spigot and doused our heads in refreshingly ice cold water. Sufficiently cooled off, we found a spot under a tree, pulled off our boots, leaned back against our packs, and took a nice little nap. We woke up to baby goats nibbling on our packs. This was the same goat herd (and goat herder) which we had startled weeks before when we burst out of the trail on our previous 5K mad dash. This time, since we were sitting on the ground, we weren’t intimidating to the babies. After we gently dissuaded them from eating our packs and started scratching them behind the ears the babies decided we were the best thing ever. If we stopped scratching they would move closer and stare soulfully at us. One tried to climb into Julia’s lap so that he could get scratched more than the other babies. The goat herder thought the whole thing was hilarious. 

Click here for more photos from our hike to Drégely Castle

© Eat, Drink, and Carry a GPS 2013