Leaving Budapest I decide I am going to cycle all night and enjoy the cool weather. After enjoying my time in Budapest it is lovely to be cycling out of the city and through the countryside … the flat countryside! That was unexpected and shows the limited level of my research … I was not aware that to the east of Budapest I would be contending with heat rather than hills!
The first town I rest in outside Budapest (after an unusually problem free exit from the city) is Monor and as I sit eating my fruit and looking at the map I am joined by to young girls who take a bit too much interest in my phone and kit and try to look in my bags. Could be entirely innocent but I feel a bit anxious about this, despite them giving bread as they evidently believe I am homeless … ! So I get going again and as I do so a black car drives up very fast, does a U turn beside me as I walk along the pavement and goes back the other way … so the plan changes and I cycle to the next village and find that there is a handy part built empty house. A complete change from the security of the campsite of the past 12 days.
The next couple of days are spent following rivers and paths and crossing the bottom of an area of Hungary called the Hortobagy National Park. Its beautiful in its way and I am able to put in some good miles, waking early, making breakfast in the villages to the amusement of the school children waiting for their school buses and cycling for full 100 mile days. It is incredibly hot and following a river crossing on another flow driven ferry I encounter greater heat and spontaneous fires as the dry brush catches alight. My first instinct is to use all my water and try to put it out …. unsuccessfully. It is a common occurrence so a local man is confused when I flag him down and try to explain what I have done … he shrugs and drives off leaving me to ponder the situation. I also leave as there is nothing I can realistically do and turning another corner realise the common place nature of this situation though first scorch marks and then another fire. This situation continues for many miles but I realise that there are marsh areas to help manage the situation.
I then indulge in more wildlife spotting ….!
Thankfully there are water pumps in most of the villages and I fill my bottles again pretty rapidly but not before considering the folly of emptying them only to be left high and totally dry.
My worst cycling experience so far occurred during my time in Hungary. Unfortunately there are limited options on some roads and I was having to cycle a very main road in order to get to the next town. Now anyone who knows me is aware that my grasp of physics is less than limited but experience tells me that if I am travelling above a certain speed (unknown!) and I am passed by a heavy vehicle travelling much faster and travelling quite close then I will be sucked alongside it and endeavour not to panic and lose balance. I was incredibly grateful for a life interest in dance and some mountain biking skills to help me keep upright …! Reaching the bridge over that road and seeing out over the plains felt pretty special and a moment to savour life and my often unknown and untapped ability to keep it together under duress!
Crossing the bottom of this area the following day meant I was again able to pick up part of the Euro cycle network and follow flat paths past bee keepers and their bees living in large trucks or multiple hives, past very open farmland and eventually up to the boarder crossing with Romania ….Im super excited to tell you all about Romania!!!
I hope you like the new posting style! It maybe more brief but it maybe more regular ….. maybe!!!! Love you all xxxx