Going South By South West: Budapest to Near Sarbogard - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

November 12, 2013

Going South By South West: Budapest to Near Sarbogard

A cycle-route sign with Pecs 200km, points south along the right-bank of the Danube. But this cycle-path comes to an abrupt end a few kilometres into the journey and thereafter, I'm riding at the side of highway 6 with a steady stream of cars and trucks passing close on my left.

It's a bright sunny morning, just what was forecasted on the website: Hungary Weather; but tomorrow it has given light rain. And I'm sure the cycle-route, "Euro Velo 6" will start again somewhere further on. Probably, I need lots of small maps to cover Hungary, showing where the cycle-route is, rather than the map I have for the whole country showing roads for motorised vehicles only.

I keep following the signs at roundabouts for 6 and Pecs; of which, there's an awful lot of and, I'm beginning to get confused by all the change of directions. The last thing I need is an asshole middle-aged man shout something abusive from a passing plumber's van as I carefully maneuver across a roundabout exit.

Then I reach a roundabout where I don't see anyway for road 6 ahead, as all slips are onto the motorway. The only cycling alternative is cycling back to the previous roundabout and exit toward a sprawling Budapest satellite called Erd; which leads onto road 7 going south west; looking at the map, it's going a bit of a dogs'-leg but, it takes me away from the busy corridor of roads and large towns along the Danube on the direct route to Pecs.

It's going to be a lot more than the two-hundred kilometres on the sign back in Budapest and will take me more than the two days I'd thought. Typical asshole-road-planners; roads planned by motorists for motorists. The cycle-route is an afterthought by well-meaning enlightened people.

My patients are straint. It's two weeks since I cycled last and it feels like two weeks; and also, the tendens in my right knee are giving me a lot of pain. I have had this problem on and off for over twenty years, so I don't worry too much. It will be fine tomorrow after some rest. Meanwhile, I just ride on and bare the pain.

I turn left, off road 7 along a straight road to a place called Puzteszabolcs. The road surface is patchy and the constant shuddering aggrevates the knee pain. I am thirsty. The tap-water in the bottle does nothing. I forgot to do shopping. Having eaten well in Budapest, I've forgotten what hunger is.

In Puzteszabolcs, a crossroads village with a railway station, there's a bakery where I buy two whirly iced pastries and a 500 ml bottle of cold chocolate milk from the fridge. The chocolate milk is so refreshing as I sit on the low windowsill outside to lunch while an old man looks on. I hope he doesn't come over and start talking to me in Hungarian. Meanwhile a horse-drawn wagon passes with three dark featured men aboard. The Romany.

The road onwards takes me back towards the motorway. By now a veil of dark rain cloud is moving in and it has grown dull. I turn right, sideways away from the motorway, going south west.

The road south west across industrial agricultural plain with rain on the horizon.
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The landscape is featureless industrial farming plain. There's nothing to the horizon where a curtain of rain has blotted out the sun. There's stacks of square bales left since harvest; and there are yellowish-grey strips of stubble where the maize has been harvested; green strips of Autumn sown barley; and there's a lot of ploughing; the freshly turned soil is deepest black, a sign of high fertility

I am thinking that my best option for wild-camping is to keep going until nightfall, when it gets too dangerous to be on the road without lights, then push the bike in and hid behind one of those stacks of bales. But the time passes until dusk and it isn't necessary as in that time, gradually the countryside changes to one with hedgerows and further on, there are regular plots of woodland.

I am glad to have the tent up in woodland in a place well away from any path so I shouldn't be disturbed. I feel done out after my first day back on the bike after two week of no cycling. I don't have any food, so I'll make do with tea.

The rain didn't reach me and it brightened up for a while latter as hedgerows returned and further on, groves of woodland where I could camp.
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Today's ride: 84 km (52 miles)
Total: 7,644 km (4,747 miles)

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