This may seem like blasphemy to many Hungarians, but I went to Lake Balaton for the first time at the weekend after almost two years in Hungary.
In my defence, I didn't go because people kept telling me it wasn't worth it. I heard stories of muscle-bound buffoons in the world's tightest speedos parading their overwhelming muscles and underwhelming chipolatas up and down the strand, noisy kids running about and contributing their nasty toxic wee to the already mucky water, and lots of geriatric Germans putting their towels out on the waterfront (oooh, stereoptyping) in order to book a place to indulge in their penchant for public scatalogical sex - you know, drinking each other's wee and pressing their faces eagerly against the underside of a glass coffee table as their partner squeezes out a big log.
OK, so I made the last one up.
Anyway, I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised by Balaton. It wasn't too busy, the water was lovely - I even enjoyed Zsolt kicking my arse at water polo - and I had a lovely greasy Lángos for lunch. It wasn't at all like Butlins or the caravan parks in Arbroath where my mum took me on holiday as a kid and made me swim in the freezing cold outdoor swimming pool and pick whelks until my fingers bled.
The worst thing about my childhood holidays wasn't picking the whelks, though, it was having to eat the slimy mess all boiled up at the end of the day.
So, Balaton in summary: no whelks, no sexually-perverted German pensioners and no nasty muscle boys with willies no bigger than whelks.
I think that should be Balaton's slogan for the next tourism campaign.