No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Monday, October 21, 2013


October 6, 2013

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I am a huge auto racing fan, growing up in Indianapolis, my love for the Indianapolis 500 is well established, but I also enjoy other forms of racing as well and I am always curious to visit tracks and speedways when I get a chance. As such, I had wanted very much to check out the famous Hungaroring, the track outside of Budapest that hosts the annual Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary.

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It just so happens that the track was actually hosting an event during the time that we were visiting Budapest and I was determined to check it out. Of course no one else was very interested, so Kathy took a spa day and I headed off in a taxi to the track, which is located about 15 kilometers outside of Budapest in the small town of Mogyoród. 

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Like many circuits, it is seemingly in the middle of nowhere, but the taxi dropped me off at the main entrance and I walked in and made it to the pit and garage area where the cars were gathering for the multiple events that were taking place. Central among these was the European Drifting Championship.

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Drifting is a driving technique where the driver intentionally or unintentionally oversteers, causing loss of traction in the rear wheels or all tires, while maintaining control from entry to exit of a corner. A car is drifting when the rear slip angle is greater than the front slip angle, to such an extent that often the front wheels are pointing in the opposite direction to the turn (e.g. car is turning left, wheels are pointed right or vice versa). As a motorsport discipline, professional drifting competitions are held worldwide and are judged according to the speed, angle, showmanship and line taken through a corner or set of corners.

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It is pretty cool to watch, at least for a while. They also had a drag racing strip set up along the main straight where cars and motorcycles drag raced in what was a rather amateurish but still interesting display. The fact that there was stuff actually happening was really a bonus as I mostly wanted to just see the 16 turn, 4.4 km twisting road course for myself. F1 races have been held there annually since 1986 and many of the best drivers in the world have competed on the circuit.

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It was a pretty cool experience and I spent the better part of the morning watching the activities before deciding to head back to the hotel. The guide books all suggested that there was public transportation, in the form of a train a 30 minute walk from the track and I started walking in the direction given by the local policeman and ticket takers. After walking about 20 minutes I seemed no closer to anything even resembling the right way so I decided to ask a man who was loading a bike into a van if I was headed in the right direction.

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His immediate laughter clued me in right away that something was not right, the train station he informed me was almost as far a walk as walking back to Budapest and was straight uphill as well. He could not believe that I had been informed otherwise. The good news is that he and his girlfriend were getting ready to drive in to Budapest to go to their personal trainer and they would be happy to give me a ride.

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It turned out to be one of the coolest things that happened on my trip as my rescuers Henrik & Michaela turned out to be super nice, informative and generous. By the time we arrived in Budapest, they had made arrangements for me to visit the home of their trainer and sample his homemade palinka made from fresh plums. I was introduced to the man and his wife and ushered in to their home like a special guest to have the delightful drink and it was truly a wonderful experience.

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By the time they dropped me off at the metro station so that I could head to my hotel I had not only a warm feeling from the palinka, but the warmth of making some wonderful new friends in Hungary. Thanks so much for everything Michaela and Henrik. What a special treat.


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