Day 40 Budapest 31/08/06 Thurs
Not a lot to report. Spent the day surfing net and watching films as I waited for my clothes to dry.
Day 41 Budapest – ??? 01/09/06 Friday
Wow… another new month! Doesn't time just fly by? Although the last two days have been overcast and blustery, there wasn't a cloud in the sky when I set off in the morning. It was still windy at times, but nothing compared to the gale force winds which had been ripping through the campsite and threatening to lift the tent off the floor! Although it was only really one day off from cycling, it still felt too long, and I couldn't wait to get going again. That's the feeling I like most from travelling… the actual movement of it. Some people look forwards to the destinations, but the train/bus/car/in this case cycling parts of it are the best bits for me. Knowing that you are going somewhere new, and not really knowing what to expect when you arrive. Being able to look at the countryside, and the different styles of houses. Anyway, I managed to find all the right roads first time, which is probably a never to be repeated first when leaving a city for me! The traffic was heavy for the first 15 kms or so, and I shared the cycling between hopelessly rough pavements with giant potholes, and hopelessly busy roads, with giant potholes. As I moved further out though, the traffic thinned, and the quality of the air improved. I headed towards the town of Rackeve, where according to my map there was a campsite. Alas, it had long been closed down, so I decided to push on towards Kecskemet, thinking that I would probably have to camp rough somewhere near Kisunsagi National Park. As luck would have it (according to some, I am a jammy little bleeder), I saw a signpost pointing out a campsite halfway between Kiskunlachaza and Domsod, so I dived in there. It appears to be some sort of fishing park, with a campsite attached. At 1000 Forints (4 Euros) its a bargain, and I was the only person camping. Strangely, I even managed to get an internet connection from the middle of a field, in the middle of nowhere. By the way, I must point out that a lot of these place names have dots and dashes over the vowels, but I can't do that easily on my laptop.
Day 42 ??? – Fulophaza Sat 02/09/06
I left the campsite at about nine, and began cycling first to the town of Domsod, and then for Tass. From there, I had intended to cut straight across to Kecskemet, but I couldn't find a road signposted, so I instead headed down to Szabadszallas, and afterwards, joined route 52 to Kecskemet. It was a Saturday, so the roads were relatively quiet, but the quality of them still left a lot to be desired. the heavy goods vehicles have created huge ruts, or tram lines in the road, and pushed the asphalt up on the edges. This means that as a cyclist the fastest part of the road is in one of the ruts, where the tarmac is smoothest, as the pushed up sections on the edge are unnavigable. The only drawback to this, is when a HGV comes thundering up behind you, as it gives you to choices. 1. Move over onto the raised bit, close your eyes, and pray. or 2. Keep your line, close your eyes, and pray. Seriously, its not quite that bad… after a while, you give up praying altogether.. it's important to close you eyes though!! The Hungarian drivers are pretty good though, and will give you a lot of room if they can.
Day 45 Gyula Tuesday 05/09/06A somewhat sleepless night as my subconscious tried unsubtly to wrestle with the tyre problem. I decided a day off cycling was in order, and I rode into town to find a bicycle shop. The third shop had a tyre of the correct size, but to call it a useless piece of crap would only be to describe its finer points. I decided that i had to have it anyway, and then got the shop to swap my front and rear tyres around. By putting the rear tyre on the front, I judges it as easier to change should i have to, and it would be carrying less weight. Even though the tyre would have a rip in it, I still considered it superior to the new one. The also gives me a higher quality Marathon XR on the back with a fair bit of tread left on it… enough to get me to Istanbul at least. The whole deal cost only 6 euros, although i would have preferred to have paid more, and bought the Marathon tires. I have a spare tyre now, which is something I would have to have bought anyway, although I hope i don't have to use it, as it doesn't look as though it would last more than a day! I visited the castle in Gyula, which is worth spending half an hour in if you have nothing better to do like me, and had a free use of the internet in the library to read some emails. Couldn't update any my sites though. It was another outrageously hot day, so I also did a lot of drinking and eating. Posted back a bundle maps which should reduce the weight I carry significantly! Also filled the hole in the tyre with a cut up puncture repair patch and some of the glue.. Not sure if its a good idea or not, but we'll see!
Day 50 !!! Wowsers. I was the only person staying on the campsite again. They sorted me out with a massive breakfast, that I was more than willing to pay extra for, inclucing a tip for the girl who got woken up especially to make it for me! 20 lei well spent there. I think I called it a day at the right point yesterday, as I seem to have spent most of the day climbing. The first hour and a bit towards Sibiu was almost all uphill, and there were some big uns! I met some Polish lads who are cycling to Athens here's their website for the trip they did last year www.nordkapp2005.republika.pl . They seemed like a nice enough bunch of chaps, but I was a touch hungry, and had to stop off at a restaurant, although they carried on in the direction I will be taking, so our paths may cross again. At km 87, I saw another sign for a campsite at a village off the road called Carta or Cirta depending on which sign you read. Whoever said there wasn't any campsites in Romania? Oh yes, whilst I remember, when I was waiting for my meal in the restaurant, a Phil Collins/Celine Dion medley, a panpipe version, drifted over from the speakers. Can you imagine anything more tortuous??