Before the start of the trip, way back when we were collaborating and ordering kit, we found that we were trying to pack for every eventuality. It was almost as though we had forgotten Europe was part of the developed world, proceeding on with the mindset that nothing would or could be bought as we went along, this lead to the formation of the running joke;
“It’s all going to be desert past Germany”
Where nothing could be bought, sold or traded in the vision of the vast arid landscape our minds had conjured. Of course this was not true..for the most part at least. Over the past few days the sun has tried desperately to live up to our expectations, burning through any cloud cover until now, in Hungary, there is nothing left. Not one cloud was spotted today and after a while even ground based shelter was hard to come by. The searing heat has possibly been the toughest obstacle so far, but picking up the danube cycle path once again (being extra vigilant to avoid straying into unknown territory) we were welcomed by a gentle breeze coming off of the water. A couple of miles along the river though and the breeze picked up a little, turning into a strong gust that was angled just right to provide both head and cross winds. This quickly became too much and it was decided that we should switch from the cycle track to a nearby road that ran adjacent. By now it was approaching midday and the heat from the sun and the tarmac was becoming unbearable, we had to find shade and somewhere to top up our ever decreasing supply of water. This is where the unrelenting curse of the desert struck again, denying us the food and shelter we felt we deserved. We cycled into a town called “Horney Bar” looking for a place to stop and have lunch where we found a Piano Bar which had a sort of Hawian beech hut outside (though, strangely, no piano), it looked great until the barmaid informed us that she didn’t serve food and neither did the place down the road. It seemed odd to us that a town whose only buildings besides houses were a church and two bars didn’t have any where to eat, we decided that food must be scarce way out here in a village surrounded by encroaching farmland and an arid river (come on Horney Bar, really?).
By sticking to the larger towns in the area we eventually found a small restaurant where we could get out of the heat from the midday sun. At around two o’clock, having restocked with food, water and sun cream, we set of once more into the blistering heat. It was after lunch that we managed to cross the border between Slovakia and Hungary which was a cause for a lot of smiles as this meant not only another country done on our list but also, with Hungary being our final country, that we were reaching the conclusion of our long adventure. Finally, having covered 50 very sweaty miles we arrived at the town where we would be spending the next two nights.
We arrived in Győr (pronounced Dior) and we checked in. The place we are staying in can be best described as the Hungarian Fawlty Towers. The staff all tried so hard, but seem to fall short in every aspect of what one would expect from a hotel. I say hotel, but we were staying at the hostel, which was connected to the hotel and had its own reception but checking in involved walking between both… The check in process took almost an hour, partly as the staff were unable to find our booking confirmation (apparently the one in Tom’s hand wasn’t enough), so they struggled to find us a room last minute. Which struck me (Will) as odd as they only had 3 or 4 out of 200 rooms filled.
Despite these setbacks all was not lost and we spent our evening in a local fish restaurant which served up food caught from the river (take notes Horney Bar) which, apart from a few bones, seemed to go down well with the whole team.
With one rest day and 80 miles still to go we’re not quite there but its so close! We have decided that on wednesday we are going to get up very, very early. This is mostly to avoid the heat and get our miles done before lunch, but we got the idea into our heads that it might be nice to start riding and watch the sun come up as we go. Our current track record for ‘getting up and getting on with it’ has not been great so we shall let you all know how that goes.
Martin and Will