OE Day 23 Gyula to Beius 104km

We were leaving the Schengen region so a proper passport control between Hungary and Romania. EU citizens show id. Us idiot [Brexit] folk need the full stamp treatment from both sides. Efficient though, UK Passport control could learn. (Sorry, realise wasted hope). The only issue was Michael traveling on an Emergency USA passport (original stolen in Paris). The issue was the lack of a stamp showing when he’d entered EU. Hungary has an issue with immigration (back onto familiar territory).

Everything a bit cooler and more green today. The main change across the border was villages. In Hungary there was large gaps between places and then they were quite big. More places in Romania and smaller. Lots of veg being grown. And building work, much incomplete. Even a new church in small place which had 3 others. Why?

The currency is the Leu. Yet to get a feel for costs. Beius looks like it’s having a makeover. It certainly got a good washing down just after we arrived. Nice day.

OE Day 22 Lakitelek to Gyula 120km

The maps of routes don’t show wind. Today was a good strong crosswind as in slightly not a head wind. Luckily there was no tree cover so we were able to enjoy it for the majority of the ride.

A little cooler, as in you use a lower temperature in fan ovens. The poor ground looked parched. You can imagine how dust bowls start.

We were mainly on cycle paths along the side of the roads. When on the roads and at junctions the drivers are incredibly polite and caring. We’re told that changes tomorrow in Romania.

The few places we pass through looked like working rural towns on a Sunday morning before church. Even when the shop didn’t sell coffee the assistant came out to point out where it can be found. Pointing and smiling is a good universal language.

Hungary is famous (I read) for it spa towns. A few we go through have that holiday place feeling. The lowering water table will be a problem.

The long climb up starts gently tomorrow.

D21 Budapest to Lakitelek 124 km

We leave civilised Budapest and the Danube (for now) and head acrossthe Hungarian Plain. It covers 56% of the land mass of Hungary.

The National sport of Hungary is water polo. How do these things arise? We didn’t see much water today. Just parched landscapes dotted with the remains of a few dessicated cyclists.

The villages are smaller. Friendly though as people enquire in broken English (which is better than non existent Hungarian) what we are doing. I was thinking the same about what are TESCOs doing here?

Our crew do their usual excellent and quiet background work. One goes ahead to mark any detours. Ryan’s turn today: he’s the mechanic too from San Diego. Sam from Quebec backmarked. Balasz was on lunch duty: Gergo was driving the luggage van. The latter two are from Hungary. They rotate these duties around. Balasz organises all the evening meals where they are provided, and buys all the lunch food. Ryan has a 1hr “mechanic shop” every day for fixing things you can’t do yourself or advice. Gergo is in overall charge, doing the daily briefing.

One more day in Hungary. A plains day too.

OE Budapest

A lovely city. How to see a city in less than a day.  A snapshot and superficial at that.  Some took a walking tour, some a hoponhop off bus , one a cycling tour. We chose the slow way. To walk hugging shade.

The Parliament building is stunning. The small exhibition to the 1956 uprising and Russian quelling poignant.

Then cross a bridge to the Pest side. The suspension bridge is closed for refurbishment, probably better maintained than its sibling in Marlow.

A place to return to, perhaps in cooler months. As per a comment on fb, it is fascinating just how many important places are so close together. “The Danube was once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire and today is the river running through the largest number of countries in the world (10; the Nile is second with 9). Originating in Germany, the Danube flows southeast for 2,850 km (1,770 mi), passing through or bordering AustriaSlovakiaHungaryCroatiaSerbiaRomaniaBulgariaMoldova and Ukraine before draining into the Black Sea. Its drainage basin extends into nine more countries. The largest cities on the river are ViennaBudapestBelgrade and Bratislava, all of which are the capitals of their respective countries. The Danube passes through four capital cities, more than any other river in the world.[5] Five more capital cities lie in the Danube’s basin: BucharestSofiaZagrebLjubljana and Sarajevo. The fourth-largest city in its basin is Munich, the capital of Bavaria, standing on the Isar River” (good old wiki)

Tomorrow the first of 11 cycling days to Bucharest.

OE Day 20 Kormarno to Budapest 125k

Even although today is mainly downhill it felt a wee bit tough. Just a combination of bumper Hungarian tracks criss crossing the road, hot and hotter, and busier traffic.

Over the bridge this morning and into Hungary. Its illegal to ride on the road if a cycle is adjacent. Should have that back home. A constant theme which continues from the start is litter free and well maintained (glass free) paths. Stopping to get our forints reinforces the sense, with the script, of being in a new land. Luckily we negotiate ice-cream. Tesco x2 for the first time since Paris. Lidl of course.

The suburbs of Budapest are a pleasant surprise. The parks are full of people having fun. Lots to explore tomorrow on the rest day.