At first light it was obvious that the van had broken something around the rear of the vehicle but what it was we were unsure of. So we decided to track down the local mechanic and get it checked out. We limped along the Danube trying to enjoy the lush green banks, steep mountains and fast flowing swollen river. We came to the mechanics and pulled up the narrow drive
. After some long conversations with each other and some nods, frowning and shaking of heads I still had no idea as to what was wrong as the language barrier was exceedingly tough to break through. Suddenly the head mechanic pulled out a phone and called someone, yabbered into the phon e and then handed it to me. The voice on the other end was clearly Australian and turns out that Louie had lived for 30 years in Australia and spoke perfectly in both languages. Louie had lived a very interesting life as he left Hungary after the uprising and the death of his parents and fled to Germany as a young man to find work. He then made his way to Australia where he worked in the Opal fields, lived in Sydney married and had 2 kids. He had recently divorced and moved back to Hungary found a new girlfriend and pined over his ex-wife. He owned a huge boat which was kept on the Danube and was renovating a beautiful house on the hill that over looked the most picturesque bend in the Danube river. He was a knight in shining armour.
Louie and I spoke for a couple of minutes and then he said he would be down to help sort it out in 10 minutes. 30 minutes later he rolled up and we discovered that the springs inside the back axel had been damaged, to what extent we didn't know until it was dismantled. Start or risk it? That was the question. Start work was the decision and we took the kids out for lunch while they worked hard to take apart the back axel and find what was wrong
. When we returned to the mechanics we discovered the worst. 2 of the 6 tension springs had completely snapped and we were facing a wait of a week while the parts were delivered. The van was wothout back wheels and the mechanics offered for us to hook up and stay in their back yard while it was delivered. Another walk down the river we discovered a playground which was ideal for the kids. Was again we returned to the van to find that what was bad had just gotten worse. The company that makes the tension bars had just taken their annual holidays and nothing would be happening for 2 weeks then 1 week delivery. ARGHHHHHHHH!
So as we sat and ate and walked and rode along the river over the next 2 days Mel and I reworked our plans. We could be in worse places, free accommodation and had some Australian connections. Louie came to town and took us for a ride up and down the Danube in his amazing boat which made us take our minds off the broken van. We thought that while we were here we might as well make the most of it so we decided to hire a car and travel around the other Eastern European countries and cities we had planned to see in Bertha. Back packing in Hostels with 3 kids can't wait.
So Visegrad it was for us as we rolled into the small river side town late in the evening. We were all tired of sitting around waiting for things to get fixed that day that to actually stop in a carpark near the old Hungarian Royale Palace site was a relief. The kids collapsed into bed and MEl and I sat down for yet another movie from the ever relieable hard drive collection. All of a sudden CRACK and the van dropped at the back yet again. I was able to get out and have a look with a dull torch but couldn't see anything that had broken. After a while I gave up and decided to look again in the morning.