On Friday 3rd June we packed our bags, thankfully carried down to the car by the lovely Airbnb Suzy's husband, and drove the 212km (2 hours 15 minutes) to Kecskemét, breaking the journey half way with a stop at a highway petrol station for snacks, toilet break and fuel! Tiger did sleep for about half of it thankfully. Kecskemét lies halfway between the Danube and the Tisza rivers in the heart of the southern Great Plain which is simply very beautiful, green and flat to drive through! It is surrounded by vineyards and orchards.
We checked into the Hotel Három Gúnár for two nights for £122. It had some mixed reviews online but I chose an upgraded premium room to give us more space and it was perfectly adequate including an underground car park (which I was at first told was 4 euro a day, but when I checked out the Receptionist told me not to worry about paying). After having been driving most of the day, after we had unloaded the bags I made an attempt to go out but Tiger has latterly decided to wage war on me by refusing to put on her shoes and in the end it got to 6pm and I gave up and started putting her to bed (travel cot in the bathroom!), despite the blazing sunshine. Eventually, she capitulated, and was probably just tired out.
It meant though that the next day we were very refreshed, had breakfast in the hotel (which didn't exactly blow me away but was ok!) and headed out into the very centre of the 'garden city' of Kecskemét which has some of the finest architecture of a small city in Hungary. We actually seemed to catch the tail end of a ceremony with lots of people dressed up in historic clothing. Nobody could quite explain to me what it was but I found this video from a few years ago so a note to anyone reading this, 4th June is a special day but get up and out early!
We stopped for ice cream, where we ended up with three cones as Tiger couldn't decide which one to have (!) and ended up speaking to a German family with a little boy the same age as Tiger. They told us how the population in Kecskemét has been boosted by the Mercedes-Benz factory there which has 4800 employees, and of these around 90 German families. It is very easy to see how families would enjoy living in this city with its wide open spaces and greenery everywhere.
In the afternoon, after some chill out time in the hotel playing with plasticine, we headed out again and took the little tourist train for a ride around (1200 HUF for me £2.60, and 800 for Tiger £1.75) and chatted to another family sitting behind us also working for Mercedes, but this time an Austrian/Serbian and Hungarian mix. Tiger enjoyed the beginning bit of the 'train' journey but fell asleep for the second half!
On the recommendation of both families, we went to the rooftop terrace of the Malom shopping centre (literally a 3 minute walk from the hotel) which had a 'Kinder Paradis' (child paradise). It was such a find as it had a fully supervised soft play which cost 1000 HUF (£2.20) for 30 minutes (Tiger stayed for an hour) and I was able to leave her there and go next door to the rooftop terrace, drink cocktails and take in the view! How amazing!
We had our dinner in the McDonald's in the shopping centre, by which time Tiger was falling asleep in her chips bless her, but just about had enough energy to walk back to the hotel whilst the sun was setting. After she was in bed, I had a Mummy win by being able to watch the Queen's Jubilee 'Party at the Palace' show on the iPad using my VPN. It was odd to be so far away from England, but equally I expect I'd just have been watching it on tv anyway at home so far better to be in Hungary.