2222 km so far!
Last night we wrestled with the decision of whether to stay another night and meet the family whose home we’d been enjoying, or move on towards Budapest. Thinking that we’d probably be an inconvenience to a family who’d just arrived home from we-don’t-know-where, we decided to move on. But not before we’d taken a load of pictures to remember it by.
Whenever we think to ourselves, “we have nothing to eat for such and such a meal” somehow we miraculously manage to put together something quite edible and tasty. This morning was no exception. Just as we were deciding we’d have to have muesli with water, Stephen found a carton of soya milk in the fridge. Since we’d been told to help ourselves to anything, we decided this counted, and had a delicious breakfast of our home-made muesli, coffee, and fresh cherries we’d bought yesterday.
Get Along Little Doggie
Leaving the property, the three family dogs ran with us down the long driveway. When we got on the road, they still didn’t stop following us. Two dogs eventually gave up and ran away across the field, but the little black dog, who’d been the real attention-hog of the bunch, just kept coming. I started to worry that he would just stay with us the whole day, so we stopped and ignored him, hoping he’d get bored and turn back.
Eventually he did, and when he disappeared up the driveway, we set off again. A few minutes later, there he was in our rearview mirrors, easily catching up with us. A kilometre or two later, we stopped again, hoping he’d find a bird or a tractor to chase and forget all about us.
He didn’t. Finally, we decided to set off again, and he followed us for a little ways, finally giving up the chase about 4 km from home. Thank goodness for his small dog brain and his shortish attention span.
Our maps showed a road between the villages of Nemetker and Dunafoldvar, where there is a bridge across the Danube, so we decided to follow that. It looked like a normal sort of road when we got on it, but soon deteriorated into a bumpy, sandy, hilly country road that clearly only tractors use. We stopped to check GPS several times to confirm that we were actually on the right road.
We were. The wind was blowing fiercely, in the wrong direction of course, kicking up mini sandstorms in our faces. I got so much dirt in my mouth I started to feel like I had been playing beach ultimate frisbee.
Not great conditions for riding, but I just kept thinking that we’re lucky to be riding at all. Our friends from Australia, David and Collette, have had their bikes stolen by some idiot in Vienna, so we are feeling extra grateful for what we have today. Here’s wishing David and Collette best of luck in getting re-outfitted for their continued trip!
As we rode along the country track, Stephen kept pointing out the marijuana plants growing everywhere. Apparently, sandy, rainy, windy, hot conditions are perfect for growing weed, and this stuff had propagated itself all through the countryside. We assumed someone around here had been, or is, growing it on a large scale, and the fierce wind has carried the seeds for everyone to enjoy.
After 15 km of hard work, our road suddenly turned into this beautifully paved segment.
It crossed the freeway and took us into Dunafoldvar.
We’ve been bemoaning the lack of bakeries in Hungary ever since we got here. Unlike in Croatia, many towns don’t have their own bakeries, and we’ve been forced to buy bread from the Coop more than once. Even in the proper bakeries, the quality of the baking has not been great. So, when I saw a busy-looking bakery on the side of our road, I slammed on the brakes, ever the optimist. It turned out to be the right decision.
This may be the best bakery in Hungary, so if you’re ever in Dunafoldvar, make sure to stop by.
As we were leaving the bakery, Stephen noticed his ear-warmer was missing. He was sure he’d taken it inside, but it wasn’t inside, so we looked everywhere we could think of: in the food bag, both our handlebar bags, in panniers we hadn’t even opened… The staff at the bakery got involved, too, looking in the garbage, a disused fridge, and asking an elderly neighbour lady who’d been trying to converse with me in Hungarian. It was nowhere to be found.
Finally, we were all standing around looking at each other, at a loss, when I noticed the ear warmer hanging around Stephen’s neck.
I believe we call that a “senior moment”.
On And Off The EuroVelo 6
I was hoping that when we crossed the Danube, the wind would magically disappear and the sun would come out. No such luck. A headwind blew hard at us the entire afternoon. There was nothing for it but to crank up our music and plod forward, trying to keep on the road as the wind threw us about.
Shortly after crossing the river, we rejoined the EuroVelo 6. It mostly follows badly paved roads in this area, so the going was bumpy but not terrible. Near where we planned on camping, it detioriated into a grassy path, so we opted for our old friend, the slightly busy highway 51.
We don’t mind traffic when the weather is good, but having large trucks pass us on windy days ranks as “least favourite” in our big book of riding conditions. It’s hard enough to keep your bike going straight and not drive off any curbs without the draft from trucks. But when a truck passes, it’s like someone sucked all the air out of the room, and they’re trying to suck you with it.
I just squeeze my handlebars, hold my breath, and hope that I can prevent too much wobble.
The wind really saps our energy too, so after only 45 km we were happy to see the sign we’d been looking for, indicating camping a few kilometres away. Stuck up in tape at the bottom of the official sign it said “FKK”. This stands for Freikorperkulutur, which means free body culture, or, as we know it at home, clothing optional.
Stephen pointed this out and asked if I wanted to keep going to the next campground 20 km away.
“Fuck that,” I said, using my best sailor language. “If anyone’s naked in this weather, I will applaud them.”
Judging By Appearances
When we arrived at the campground, it was clear no one would be naked, because there was no one there except the family who runs the place, just closing up shop for the evening. None of them spoke a lick of English, but the woman tried to be friendly to us nonetheless. Meanwhile, the men in her life stared. The husband seemed OK, but the son was a little creepy.
He had a grungy baseball cap and long mullet, and took a good long look at Stephen’s bike and panniers while Stephen was inside paying. I have to admit, based on looks alone, he creeped me out a little. The woman asked us a question which we suspected was “What time do you want to leave in the morning?”, but it took a phone call to her daughter who spoke English to confirm this. They wanted to lock the gate to the campsite, which creeped me out even more, but in the end, they left it unlocked so we could leave any time.
And, as Stephen pointed out when they’d gone, anyone could also get in any time. Great.
After the family left, it was just us, in a huge campground by a very pretty lake, all by ourselves. Even before I saw the filthy toilets housed in a portacabin, it had a very Stephen King feel to it.
We decided that even though it was only 5pm, we’d cook dinner quickly and then get into bed, since we didn’t relish sitting around soaking up the atmosphere. We had a Mexican dinner, including guacamole from the first avocado we’ve eaten since we left home.
Before it was even dark, we got into the tent and snuggled in our beds. But not before pulling all the panniers from our bikes and locking things up tighter than we’ve done in any of the crowded campsites we’ve been to.
We’re in bed now, listening to the wind howl, and hoping we’ll be asleep before 9 pm.
Soundtrack: The Doors, The Doors | The Blow, Paper Television | Sugar, Copper Blue | Jane’s iTunes on shuffle ♥