Monday, July 4, 2011

Day 39 - Europe 2011

Day 39 - Saturday, July 2, 2011 - Budapest to Rackeve - Trip 114.57 kms Time 6:49:53

I was up at 6:30 and since b'fast wasn't until 8:00 I decided to do some work on my bike. I needed to rotate the tires since the rear tire tends to wear quicker than the front one because of the extra weight on the back wheel. They both looked about the same to me. No cuts in spite of all the rough gravel paths I had cycled over. I also took time to clean the rims and discovered that there were some stress cracks on the rear rim at one of the spoke holes. After reading about how difficult the Phase 4 ride was going to be I am somewhat concerned about whether or not to take a chance with my rear rim and skinny tires. There is also the problem of finding hotels, restaurants and safety is a big issue.
When I got up there was no electricity. After rotating the tires I went back to my room and had a luke warm shower. I would have thought the hot water would have been heated by gas and not electricity! I went down to the restaurant for b'fast at 8:00. There were no lights and no one around. There was food and juice set out so I helped myself. A waiter showed up and was surprised to see me. He brought me some coffee that was thick as mud and cold. I couldn't drink it. There was no power.
Went back to my room and finished packing. Checked out and paid 40.60 E for the room. I had to pay with a 100 E note and thought I would get my change back in Forints. I asked for my change in Euros and surprisingly the desk clerk didn't make a fuss.
I left for Tokol after getting directions on how to get out of Budapest. The guide book recommended taking the train, which was a 90 minute ride, to avoid heavy traffic when leaving Budapest. Actually, it was quite simple since traffic was light because it was Saturday and I was at the South Eastern side of Budapest already. I passed through Szigletujfalu on my way to Rackeve where I stopped at a Tesco for groceries. I bought ham, cheese, brotchen, some fruit, chocolate milk, etc. I found a quiet spot near the river and fixed myself a sandwich for lunch.
It was threatening to rain so I stopped at a bus shelter on the way out of town to put my rain covers on. It turned out to be only a passing shower. I cycled on to Szigetbecse and Makad. I had trouble figuring out how to get on the cycle path that runs along the dyke besides the Little Danube. I went up and down every which way and finally on the 3rd attempt I stopped to ask a local, who was also checking his BlackBerry GPS, for directions. He wasn't sure so he suggested asking at a nearby local house. A lady came out and assured me that I could cross the river with my bike at the dam. I went back down the same pot hole bumpy road again and followed the path along the river dike. It was a bit smoother once I got on the dike. There were a lot of people camping and fishing along this stretch of the river which went on for 6-7 kms. I was heading for Tass then Dunaujvaros where I planned to spend the night. Once I crossed over the dam I stopped to ask some young people for directions to Dunaujvaros. They pointed me in the general direction and assured me that the route was well marked with Danube 6 signs. Unfortunately these signs don't tell you in which direciton you are going! Somehow I managed to turn the wrong way and ended up in Domsod. I had followed the Route 6 signs but in the wrong direction! It was taking forever to get to Dunaujvaros so I again asked for directions. The guy got his BlackBerry GPS out and showed me I was headed back towards Rackeve only on the opposite side of the river! That was very discouraging news! By this time it was going on 4:00 and I had done almost 100 kms. I had to go back to Rackeve as it was the nearest place where I was most likely to find a place to stay and something to eat. The path along the river was gravel and very bumpy. I was not in a very pleasant mood.
Eventually I was able to get off the terrible gravel road and onto Hwy 51. But my GPS kept wanting me to turn right to go to Hwy 51? Once I did and it started out as a nice paved road for about 1 km then it went over a canal turned left and became a farm field road. Two dogs came after me. I made a U-turn, stopped to talk to a local fisherman, who assured me the way to Rackeve was back the way I had just come from. As I was approaching the turn off for Rackeve I saw a sign for Oasiz Motel. It took me a while to find it. It was like Fort Knox. Someone came out to the 8 foot high steel gate and let me in. I could have a room for 3,500 Ft or 14 E/night. I asked to see the room. It had a bunk bed, a double bed and 2 single beds all in one room. W/C and shower(s) were across the hall. B'fast was another 500 Ft. It was now going on 6:00 and I was to tired to go looking for anything else. I checked in and paid in Forints. I ordered b'fast for 8:00 since tomorrow was Sunday. After putting my panniers in my room called "Anna" I cycled back into town to have dinner at a local restaurant recommended by the manageress. It was 6:30.
It turned out to be quite good. A bit of a western style restaurant. I ordered a cheeseburger with fries. The burger came topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato and fried onions. The bun was a little over toasted but otherwise it was very tasty. In order to cheer myself up I decided to splurge on dessert and ordered the Profiterole, which I had seen another customer enjoying. It was over the top but like the customer said "I could cycle it off tomorrow".
I cycled back to my Motel, brought my bike inside my room, and filled in my journal for the day. I read up on the following day's route and decided one of my main priorities would be to get a map of Hungary so I don't end up getting lost, hopefully not, again.
Cheers, Roly

Posted at the Szent Janos Hotell, Mohacs, Hungary, Monday, July 4, 2011

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