Post Haste If I Could: Forest Camp to Budapest - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

October 28, 2013

Post Haste If I Could: Forest Camp to Budapest

After the commotion it began raining. The rumbling drum on the taut tent fabric, makes the rain sound intense and seem worse than it actually is. This morning was a damp start; the tent packed away soaking wet. Looking at the uniform grey sky, though, it looks like there'll be no more rain today.

I reached the border town shortly before nine; where, there's a Lidl on the right. I bought what I'd need for lunch, as in Hungary there'll be a new currency and I mightn't see an ATM to procure it until reaching the capital.

Money. Get away. Get a banknote with three noughts and your OK.
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The border is the usual European Union open frontier, except there's a policeman wearing a high-vis vest, standing in the road checking trucks which there suddenly seems an awful lot of; a long line parked on the shoulder; most with Polish plates. Then there's a queue at a money exchange place.

The countryside to the south is nothing much to look at; it's rolling hills, in autumnal brown. The sun is now shining which is nice after it being so grey earlier. But these hills are endless. It's one long grinding drag up over a crest and a steep descend into a small town in a deep hollow with the inevitable climb out the other side. Then when I grind up that long hill, the crest reveals the road dropping down into a saddle with another climb ahead.

And now the sun has gone as a bank of dark blue rain is moving in from the west. Rain; the last thing I need when riding into a big city. If it was only getting wet, I wouldn't care. But rain means the new drive-train will get covered in gritty crap. And eating lunch will be a challenge, ducking into some smelly bus-shelter. And in the wet gloom, I'm not as visible to drivers.

In the end the rain remains off to the side, thankfully.

Relieve from continuous climbing comes with a final descent towards the Danube with the towers and concrete-hulks of a gigantic cement factory cropping up above the treeline on the approach to the town of Vac, where a motorway begins, but road 2 continues into and through town; on the other side of which the traffic isn't too bad as all the trucks are on the motorway. Then approaching Budapest, there's a cycle-path at the side until well into the city.

I should've gone online and checked out the location of hostels beforehand, as the lady in tourist information is unhelpful. I know I haven't washed today but she's no need to look at me that way with narrow dismissive eyes. She handed me a flyer for a hostel called Dinkgo and didn't give me a map to explain how to get there. In the street I ask at a stall selling city-tours for directions using the plan on the flyer. The young man sent me in the right direction.

The hostel is a large apartment with the door in the internal square courtyard in the core of an old nineteen century apartment building. I ring the bell and the young woman that opens up stands in the doorway and asks blankly "What do you want?" "A bed for the night." I reply, what else would I want: I'm a traveller and this is a hostel. "You better come in then." she says turning and walking in front of me. "You have a bike. Better take it in. Another bike was stolen from the courtyard" I ask "A cycle-tourer?" "Yes. A German girl left her bike there two hours and it was gone when she returned." She opens the double doors to let me wheel the bike in, then, closing both doors again, she took the keys and locked the door securely before showing me to the room. I said jovially "I see what you mean"(locking up) which cracked most of the ice as she turned her head halfway smiling back at me while leading the way.

Today's ride: 114 km (71 miles)
Total: 7,560 km (4,695 miles)

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