Thursday, 9 September 2010

Dobrohost - Esztergom 13-08-2010 (Distance 147km)

Pleased we are to be on the road for 08:45. Though we stop almost as soon as we start, out of food we are in need of breakfast and a stock up. We get directions to the market, Mihailo is able to understand Slovakian, just as well as my sign language is still shit. We eat some great bread, the best so far infact, plus milk and sardines for a calorific protienous breakfast. I go hunting for a postbox, and after a 2km round trip discover the post office to be literally the next building along from the market, it was in my defense hidden behind trees! Then to a garage to fill the water bottles and toilet stop. Sorry Matt, the terrain does not lend itself to the "Wild Poo" and I'm yet to progress onto "Public Crimping". I'm disappointed to find Mihailo is not familiar with the WP, I hope to change this in the coming days. He pays much more attention to hygiene than I do, washing everything with water and not eating things off the floor etc. I on the other hand feel I retain my domestication by licking things clean and wiping it on my clothes, and drinking the water that I wash up in, bits and all...."Scumbag?....who me!!??" 

We spent more time in Slovakia than intended. Riding various paths in a variety of directions, it didn't feel like the most efficient use of our time. Particularly when the road turned to gravel and road blocks appeared every 500m, which required riding over(bumpy) or around (detour). Mihailo admits to being pissed off by these factors, not to mention it's the hottest days riding since France, maybe the hottest day yet. I think it will be tough when things get really hot. The towns roll by slower than I'd like, due in part to Mihailos 20yr old map being 1:750,000 - logic really. I am in need of a break so elect we stop at a cafe. I rid myself of some Euros and buy us icecreams and Kofolo - which is somewhere between Coke and Dandilion & Burdock. We cross the bridge and enter Hungary, I'm slightly disappointed we don't get to snap any cheesy boarder photos. Once on the other side we make a quick food stop. Mihailo has a theory that Hungarians, when asked if they speak English just smile and look blankly, on serveral occasions he back up this theory with hard evidence. Atleast they smile! One of the many "road games" I play is the "Smile Game". All very simple stuff that aids the passing of less interesting cycling periods. I try to smile/say hello to everyone I pass. I particularly enjoy picking out the most sour faced individuals and forcing eye contact. Once achieved I unleash my cheesiest grin and most averagely pronounced "hello" in any given language, in the hope that the greeting will be returned. I'm currently sporting a negative kill to death ratio...apologies for the online gaming reference - small insight into a chapter of my past. For those not au fait with COD terms, consider it a smile to gurn ratio. So! back to the Hungarians, who are so far doing very well - best smiles per miles....

After 100km we are regularly standing on the pedals to rest our behinds. The last k's to Esztergom appear to elongate, thankfully the terrain is flat and the day is loosing it's sultriness. Hoze our host in Budapest has decided to ride out and meet us there. Due to a miscalculation we are two hours late. We meet him at the Basilica at the top of town, introductions done Hoze shows us around the 1000yr old building which has a great view of the town below. We sit with the town below us and take some time to rest and get acquainted. It's too late for the planned ride back to Budapest so the guys opt to take the train - not for me. Under extreme circumstances I'd continue my journey with motorized transport, but laziness/time do not constitute as such. I opt for a campsite and will continue the ride tomorrow. There's a wine festival on in town which ease the passing of the night. I throw the tent up, get showered and ride into town.

Stalls fill the main street offering clothes/rugs/jewelery, but the majority of stalls have regional/international wines. I somehow find the event organizer and get some tips on which wines to try. I start by sampling those on the list I feel I have best chance of pronouncing - Hungarian is not going to come easily methinks. With topped up glass I weave through the crowd towards the stage - pretty crazy sound. My friend Dan once had a band called ThrashMetalJazz....I could only describe this as ThrashMetalFolk. The band consisted of drums and bass (standard so far) Piano accordian which alternated with fiddle, and dirty distorted guitar (think the love child of Allan Holdsworth & Eric Johnson). A dainty girl dancing in front of the mic throwing in vocals, seemingly whenever the mood took her. It's a shame I didn't get to catch any other bands - my current view of Hungarian music being (perhaps unfairly) tainted. I sit of the edge of the fountain and write my journal as the night winds down. On my return to the campsite I sit on the riverbank and watch the strobing fury of an electric storm, not long after the clouds release an enormous amount of water and I dive into my tent to escape...

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