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craig_foster

Hungary (7)

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Hey guys,

 

Greetings from Szeged!!!

 

Well it's Sunday morning and I'm about to leave Hungary and enter Serbia and

Montenegro. I was up at 6am this morning and got a quick 20 miles in so a

coffee and an email seems deserved before I head for the border.

 

I left Slovakia about 3 days ago and it's there that Ben and I went our

separate ways at a non-descript bridge on the Slovakian-Hungarian border.

He headed South-West to Croatia and I headed South East to Budapest. It

felt strange saying bye as you get used to cycling with someone pretty

quickly. It was good to have the company both from the companionship aspect

and also the sharing of the responsibilities.

 

Bratislava was a fantastic city. One of my favourites so far. We played

tourist for a few hours, looking at the beautiful architecture and soaking

up the exotic ambiance of an East European city. For the single guys out

there, the city also had the best looking women I've ever seen in one place.

Ben and I agreed we had to leave or maybe we never would. For once,

leaving the city proved to be pretty easy as we just headed for the Danube

and carried on East.

 

We spent the night in a small town called Sap and pitched on the local

football pitch which the locals generously offered to us instead of

continuing to the next camp site. As it was going to be our last day

cycling together, we treated ourselves to a meal at a local restaurant.

Everything is much cheaper since I left the EU and I had baked salmon, two

desserts and two beers all for about 4 quid. As a bonus the people were

also friendly with a local beauty translating the menu for us as both mine

and Ben's Slovakian is a bit lacking. Best food I'd eaten since leaving the

UK but tbf it was mainly up against pasta and the like.

 

The day after and I was in Budapest. Three European capitals in four days.

tbh I made a bit of a mistake as I arrived there around three in the

afternoon so didn't have as much time as I'd have liked. It's a fantastic

city and the people were incredibly friendly for a big city. Three groups

of people approached me separately, asking me questions and offering well

wishes on my journey. At one point I was trying to hold a conversation with

two groups of people as others would overhear and come and listen. Earlier

in my trip, people always commented on how far I had to go and how little

I'd done but now the miles are increasing, the emphasis has changed to an

interest of where I've been. One guy in Budapest even gave me some money as

good luck for the road ahead. Maybe that's what got me out of Budapest as

it's a tough city to leave. The roads are pretty busy and not really

designed for cyclists so I had to have my Bradford Road awareness head in

full operation. It didn't help when my front rack broke and I needed to do

some emergency repairs on the road side.

 

As a cycle route, Hungary has been great. It's as flat as a pancake and

yesterday was another 100 mile day. I saw a campsite on the map and

promised myself I'd treat myself if it was after the 100 mile mark. Turned

out to be 99 miles so I carried on another few miles and slept in the

forest. I must have chosen to sleep near some kind of local lovers lane as

cars kept pulling up and I'd hear giggling and talking before driving off

(presumably she said no). Last night was also the first night I chanced

sleeping under the stars since Denmark as the weather has been awesome.

Luckily no rain and a good night's sleep. The people of Hungary have also

been very accommodating regardless of the language barrier.

 

Hopefully the flat terrain will continue. I haven't seen a hill since

Amberg in South Germany and it's been bliss. The downside is I reckon my

legs have forgotten what a steep hill feels like and I'm hoping they don't

complain too much when called back into action. I've had a quick look at

the map and I reckon south Serbia and Montenegro is when the hills start and

then continue all the way into Greece. I have a friendly face to meet up

with in Greece which is something to look forward to.

 

Not sure when I'll hit Athens but I'm reckoning on 10 days. I'm still

undecided about India as doing the sums, even if I cycle round SE Asia 10

times I'd still get to Oz too early for the end of the rainy season. I'm

considering doing the opposite and heading straight to SE Asia from Athens

and then trying to get to Oz before the rainy season starts. This would

have the obvious disadvantage of cycling Oz in the summer, but would also

mean I'm doing NZ at a more pleasant time of year and then across the States

in the spring. Then I'd probably come back through Europe from Spain or

Portugal, through France and then England. I'm still undecided but I'm

leaning in this direction as the idea of having to slow down just doesn't

appeal to me. I love putting the big miles in and I'd rather continue in

this vein rather than just feel I'm passing the time.

 

Catch you all later. A border post manned by what will no doubt be an

incredibly unfriendly man awaits me.

 

Lots of love as always Craig.

 

XXX

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