I woke up this morning and wondered what country I was in. The inside of my tent looks the same no matter where I am. So I was glad when I remembered that I am in fact in Hungary, outside the back of a hotel, in the Northern part of Budapest.
I actually wanted to cycle around Slovakia a lot more, it’s got some real beautiful countryside and generally nice roads. But after a short cycle North East of Bratislava, a few days ago I decided to just head for Hungary. I guess I missed being on the perfect cycle path I was on before, and the company of other touring cyclists. The ‘EuroVelo 6‘ is basically a cycle route from the Atlantic to the Black Sea but more of a cycling super-highway between Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest and this part is very popular (and flat) – I didn’t even know it existed until a cyclist in Vienna mentioned it to me.
I was glad that I went back to the cycle route though because a couple of days ago I met two lovely Swiss girls there, Fernanda and Patricia, heading for Budapest and like me, had no idea where the cycle path had disappeared to. So after some cycling around we eventually found our way along the scenic banks of the Danube.
We cycled together for the next two days, being invited round for coffee by some Slovakian locals (they were Hungarian actually, and thought they were in Hungary, but we were DEFINITELY in Slovakia!) and camping next to the river after cycling in 30 something degrees all day. And it was a great camp spot too, nicely hidden away, and had its own private beach for a much needed bath after a day of sweaty cycling. At night, a cloudless sky in the middle of nowhere, it was as if you could see every star there, with the arm of the Milky Way clearly visible across the sky. We saw at least 6 shooting stars that night!
It was funny crossing the Border to Hungary. Actually I had already accidentally been to Hungary a few days ago and didn’t even realise. Nearly all of the South bank of the Danube is Hungary and the North Slovakia, so for a while I was getting lost in a country I didn’t even know I was in. It doesn’t matter anyway; grass and trees look the same and the Hungarian and Slovakian language are both nonsense to me. Anyways we were cycling down a hill in Slovakia through all these torn up buildings and there was something in the distance that just didn’t fit in. It was like a palace/castle or something. And yea, unknown to us, it was across the water in Hungary.
We crossed over, following the meandering blue river (none of us had a map but knew the river would take us to Budapest) and had some lunch on a mini beach before heading off into the wind, taking turns at who was in front to shelter the rest. The girls prayed to their weather God (Peaty) to keep the rain away – I think it worked.
When we arrived in Budapest, Patricia spotted a tent in a garden and thought it might be a campground. They spoke to the waiter of the hotel nearby but unfortunately it wasn’t. But with their charm, they managed to persuade the hotel owner to let us sleep in the yard for free. And use the showers and swimming pools. Not bad.
So this is how I woke up in Budapest. I left the girls in the morning to head to my hostel in the city. It’s time to explore this foreign land. After all, look at how much money I have…
…it’s only 50 quid.