Day 64 - Bacuch to Banska Bystrica: ...and then I ate the bowl! - No More Taxi Drivers - CycleBlaze

March 20, 2015

Day 64 - Bacuch to Banska Bystrica: ...and then I ate the bowl!

The weather was fine, sunny, work crews busily digging new potholes in the road, the cycling easy and downhill (aside from the short but stupidly steep hills in all the villages) until I reached the city and had to go uphill, and that was only worthy of a complaint because I was tired from climbing that mountain yesterday.

Early on, the road was terrible in sections, but fascinating because the damage didn't stick to a single theme but mixed a bit of everything: potholes, cracks, bumps, total disintegration. After Brezno, traffic increased, but I also noticed a strange swath of paved surface to the right of the white line, as if the road builders accidentally made the road wider than the lanes. It looked vaguely familiar, like I had encountered something like it in the distant past. So I tried riding on it. Nothing bad happened; in fact, it put me out of the way of the traffic. So I kept riding on it and concluded that it is a very good thing for cycle tourists.

After the novelty of a paved shoulder wore off, I amused myself by continuing my study of the figures on signs for crosswalks, school zones, etc. The crosswalk guy here has subtle differences in his posture or proportions from sign to sign, but he always wears a fedora. Classy guy.

All in all, a good first day of spring, with sunshine and early buds on trees reminding me I officially survived winter, and so when I arrived in Banska Bystrica it was with some astonishment that I learned I had completely missed a 60% solar eclipse, despite being outside in an open area for the entire duration.

In the afternoon, I wanted to check out the city centre but was very hesitant to walk down the hill because I knew I'd have to walk back up. And me with another huge hill scheduled for tomorrow (although one of my hosts insisted it isn't steep, just like yesterday's hill isn't steep; she obviously has no idea what it's like to be me on a bicycle on a hill). I only have one rule on this trip, and I came very close to breaking it because of this aversion to hills: I was extremely tempted to take a taxi.

But being cheap won out and I walked back up and made everyone wait for me. Me and my hosts and their other guest, only the second touring cyclist I've met, all went out to a traditionally styled restaurant with live folk music, the type where the musicians play to your table until you tip them. They played a Spanish song for the other cyclist but didn't know any songs for me, which is fair because I don't know any Slovak songs. My hosts ordered a traditional soup in a bowl made of bread, which fascinated the Spaniard, but I have seen such wonders before. The Slovak food that I'm going to miss is bryndza, which was amazing in perogies. Why do I like cheese so much? It's not fair.

While a solar eclipse was happening behind me, I was busy studying this guy.
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Banska Bystrica
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Today's ride: 60 km (37 miles)
Total: 2,792 km (1,734 miles)

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