I love bears. I think they are my favourite animals. So, when I found out there was a bear sanctuary near Budapest, I had to go.
The official website gives no information that I could find on how to get there. I had a search online and found some info, like which train line to catch. People on Trip Advisor had said to get a cab from the station or it's a 30 min walk. Since I still had on-going leg problems, I really wanted to get a cab.
I have no idea how they got cabs. There is no cab rank. There is nothing but a train platform with a shelter on it in the middle of nowhere... well there were some houses around but nothing else.
So I walked/limped to the sanctuary, calf causing a lot of pain. When I got there, I asked the guy collecting the money if I could get a cab back to the station afterwards. He kept shouting at me and pointing to a sticker with the cab number not getting the whole wanting to see the bears before calling a cab. Also not having a phone and not speaking Hungarian. Then he kept shouting that he could only speak German.
The bears are all rescue bears from circuses and other such things. They are in a large compound with lots of ground to roam in. A few of the bears were isolated, I think because one of them was in heat or maybe just aggressive.
You can buy containers of honey and get long wooden spoons then feed the bears. At first, the bears weren't that hungry (no pun intended) so I walked around, wishing I didn't have the honey container because it attracted so many insects. Luckily, I'd covered myself in insect repellent
When I got to the back of the compound, three bears came lumbering up to me wanting some of that honey.
They were really good bears and patiently waited while I went down the line, giving them the honey. They were my friends and we were happy -- then I ran out of honey and they turned their backs on me and walked off. But that's okay, I have a beagle so I'm used to it.
As well as bears, there a number of wolves at the park and a few other animals.
After the bears, I asked at the cafe if I could get a cab anywhere and the woman said "no". Nothing else, just an abrupt no.
I went back to the gate man and saw some girls so asked if they could phone the cab for me. They were so lovely and called.
The cab driver had decided to take the day off!
They looked for another cab number with no luck and called him back. He said he'd do it if I waited 40 mins then decided no, he'd not do it all. I hope that cab driver burns in hell.
The gate man said he'd try to get me a ride and was flagging down cars leaving the park (he was a lot more helpful when the young girls got involved) but there weren't that many people at the park and mostly families with a carload + day out supplies.
Figuring that I could be waiting all day, I told him I would walk back to the station. He screamed at me again that he could only speak German even though I was doing walking finger motions.
I had to struggle the whole way back to the station along the narrow, dusty road in the glaring sun with no shade. I'd got a drink from the cafe but, because the girls were calling the cab for me, drank most of it while I was waiting. I rationed out the last few mouthfuls.
I was like Burke and freaken Willis but without the camels and the gay sex. I have sunburn and weird rash around my hairline. I think some of my major organs have shut down from dehydration. A couple of times I nearly had a spew on the side of the road.
Still, the bears were super cute.