|This guy has a great attitude -- unlike me. Photo courtesy of the Sziget Festival.|
The festival is on Hajógyari Sziget (Boat Factory Island -- during the rest of the year, a tranquil public park with an incredible, free-of-charge collection of slides for the kiddies) and the way that most day visitors get there is by taking the Szentendrei HÉV. They get off at the Filitorigát stop and from there it's a jam-packed queue of about 400 metres to the festival entrance. The queue is right on the bike path so if you happen to be cycling there in the evening, when most people come up to the Sziget, you will get caught in the queue.
This year the organisers worked out a detour and they've posted maps of it along the bike path at both the northern and southern approaches to the Sziget. The last two days I've stopped and studied these signs but I couldn't decipher them. I admit I'm no cartographer, that, in fact, I have a congenitally bad sense of direction (When I was a kid and went shopping for school clothes with my mom in the US, we would routinely forget where we left our car in those ginormous American shopping mall parking lots). Even so, I think those Sziget detour maps could and should have been made more idiot proof. They weren't. I consider myself a garden-variety idiot, and I had no problem at all "cracking" their detour scheme. Heading north this morning, I decided to follow some yellow arrow signs that I assumed delineated the Sziget detour. Within a couple hundred metres, the arrows ran out and I was lost on some back street by a district heating plant in this industrial no-man's land west of Szentendrei út. I ended up coming back to Szentendrei út a couple kilometres north of the Sziget, and then riding on that street for about 5 km to Békásmegyer, where I could finally rejoin the bike path. Szentendrei út is a busy, 70 km/hr thoroughfare that I don't enjoy cycling on. I've decided for the remainder of the Sziget (until Sunday evening), I will stick to the bike path despite the queues of festival goers.
I should say, as a public service for those who still think of music festivals as a positive thing, that the Sziget Festival actually has some excellent accommodations for those who come by bike. For the past several years, they've offered free, guarded bike parking on site. Previously, it was managed by the Hungarian Cyclists' Club, this year it seems to have been taken over by MOL, the Hungarian petrol station chain. Is this a case of green washing or a commercial contingency for the post-petrol era? MOL actually has a multi-faceted "bike programme", which I wrote about here.
The Sziget organisers have a whole "mobility management" plan to deal with the tens of thousands of people who come to the festival -- half from outside Hungary. I wrote about that here.
This year's relevant info on Sziget bike parking and other travel pointers are here.