River Danube Tour Day 15: Oh Rats!

If you have been following the blog you will of read that we have been sweltering in 36-41 degree heat the entire trip.  You will of also have read yesterday we got to our digs just before a beast of a storm came in at about 1730 and did not stop until about 0400.

When we woke it was still chucking it down with rain, the colour of the sky really makes the immediate environment look and feel completely different.  But we were actually looking forward to a cooler day even though it was grey.  After falling behind with my planned stages we knew we had a hard day of at least 100km to keep the dream alive of cycling in to Budapest tomorrow.  You know what we did 106km today.  It leaves about 75km to do tomorrow.

The guide book states that today would be a horrible ride.  Industrial scenery and a day when for about 50% of the time you are on a road where cars drive fast past you.  As we had read the guide we were not expecting the scenes we have ridden through previously and we knew this was a day of heads down and kick some ass.

BTW:  I have forgotten to mention how cheap everything is in Hungary.  Last night we had about five beers each, coffees, main and desserts each for 30 quid.  Today we had two coffees two small pizzas and a Danish to share for £2 and tonight we have had the most amazing meal in a beautiful restaurant.  Starters and mains each.  A desert to share, three beers each a coffee and Irish coffee for again 30 quid.  Our hotel room for the night is £39.

So this morning we got to the bikes that were in an unused part of the hotel.  Rachaels bike had a flat so I had to fix that before we moved.  When we set off I realised that my GPX files for the route were missing from my device so I had to do some manual navigating all morning until we got to the next stage that was available in my Garmin.

We were riding up the road and Rachael saw this creature bounding up in front of us.  As we had seen such amazing animals we slowed down to take a look.  It was a big rat, and it was not even bothered that we were only a foot or so away from it.  I thought about taking a picture, but the thing would have attacked.  We went past a squashed snake too.

What was annoying about this morning was the fact they are still organising the route in these parts and it was deviating all over the shop.  I could see our target location and it never seemed to get closer as we were zig zagging across fields and other off-road places.  Now if we did not have the deadline I would have much prefered the route it put us on, but we had kilometres we needed to eat so I was getting frustrated by the lack of progress.

The Bromptons have been really good.  We again caught up and passed another couple that were on a big three month tour.  They were on traditional touring bikes made by Condor, but they were slipping and sliding as we went past with our small wheels.  Now I just want to make it clear! I am not saying Bromptons are the perfect touring bike, they are just a bike like any other. Every bike as negatives and positives, there are always going to be concessions and compromises to make with any bike when tackling a long tour over different surfaces.  I love all bikes, and I think these little small wheeled chariots are a funky fun bit of kit.

When we got half way through the day I had the GPX files on my Garmin and the route was just a straight road, we made up all the time we had lost in the morning and we were at our destination town by 1630.  As I were keeping the Km numbers secret from Rachael because we had previously discussed she feels better when kept in the dark.  We had a plan that when I said we were stopping for a beer, she would then know that we were only 2km away.  As we were riding on roads I left the beer stop until we were actually at our destination and that was welcome news to Rachael as she thought we had another two hours to ride.

The road we were riding on was very busy and very fast.  Now as you may know I hate cars!  I hate them for the environmental aspect, I hate them for the arrogance.  But one of my biggest things is the noise!!!  When you have been cycling in complete peace and quiet and you have to come up against the noise again, it just winds me up.  If I was to walk down the street with a music player with the same noise I would be arrested, but for some reason it is allowed to come from these things that can also kill you.  How strange is society!!!

Anyway.  The sun started to come out and the town that we ended up in is amazingly beautiful!

I am so chuffed with the progress, grit and attitude that has got us to this stage.  We have booked a top class hotel to celabrate in tomorrow night in Budapest.  Fingers crossed the last day will be as sweet and trouble free as all the others.

River Danube Tour Day 14: Storm Beaters!

We arrive at our hotel with only 5 mins to spare.  When we were about 10km from Gyor our final destination, fork lightening was coming down in the distance.  The wind picked up and we heard a bit of thunder.  When we were about 200m from our destination the sun came out and we thought we had side swiped another storm.  I saw a hotel and it looked good so went to have a chat at reception about the cost.  As I was in there chatting the sky went black and the thunder roared and the lightening is crashing down with no gap in between.  The thunder is shaking the ground and the rain is lashing.  But we are inside.  I gave Rachael a high-five as we got here dry as a bone!

Today we have done another 120km.  I worked out this morning that to make up our deficit day we needed to do 100km days right to the end.  After chatting with Rachael we realised that she does not like to know the numbers of the day, so today I kept her in the dark and we just kept on riding with no pressure.  I might take this info to school leadership.  No targets and you do more and enjoy what you are doing, now there is a concept we can all get on board with 🙂

Anyway.  Today we have done 120km’s.  I just had to say it again cause Rachael is being amazing.  I did promise her a few days off on this tour, but with the heat we have been chasing the kilometres instead of having rest days.  When we got to Bratislava today I did ask her if she wanted to get a boat or something the rest of the way, she looked at me like I had asked her to jump off a high bridge into the Danube.  When she gave me that look I knew we were right on for riding.  As she had broken her 100km milestone a few days earlier, I was going to see if I could help her with her 100 mile, milestone.  You know what?  If it was not for the storm I think she would have been very happy to carry on a bit further.  But by doing that 120km today we are on track now to ride in to Budapest!  I will be so chuffed if we can do it as it is pushing logistics and planning to the limit to  make this one happen 🙂

By the way.  Today we have cycled through three countries.  We started in Austria, went through Slovakia and now we are in Hungary!  What a day.  Some comparisons about the countries which might be a bit ignorant or stereotypical and I apologise about that if it sounds like I am being rude.  In Germany and Austria they did not take VISA or MASTERCARD in most places.  They like to use an EU card to make purchases.  Slovakia and Hungary, cards no problem.  In Germany the cycle track was mainly gravel, in Slovakia and Hungary so far they have been tarmac.  I am not wanting them to be tarmac it is just an observation.  I think we need to have minimal amount of impact when creating paths in areas of beauty.  In Germany and Austria we never had 4G.  In Slovakia and Hungary we have 4G everywhere.

It is still storms outside, so I am going to get a shower and get out for tea in a nice restaurant.  We have not had beer in the last couple of days as it as been so warm I have been supping cola.  Today we will have a beer to toast another good ride with my good lady!

Cheers 🙂

River Danube Tour Day 12b (no number 13): Oh Deary deary me what a head wind

Today we left our campsite after a lovely sleep.  It was very quiet but if you read the blog for yesterday that I wrote this morning you will know we narrowly avoided a vicious storm again.

Today we rode from 10k just before Tulln, went through Vienna and we are now in a town called Orth.  We are having to stop in a guest house at 75 euros for bed and breakfast as camping from Vienna all the way to Budapest does not exist really.  Looking at the guide there are a few camping places but they all exist within one or two stages, so we might hit one of them if we are lucky.

The wind is blowing from the east and it is a heavy head wind.  As it is blowing hot air at us it is a double whammy.  It was 40 degrees again today.  It is crazy hot!

Tomorrow the wind is blowing from the west so we should have a tail wind, but our day will be short as they are predicting a lot of storms tomorrow with the change in wind direction.  On the plus side the temp for the next couple of days looks a bit cooler.  The storms are meant to come in the afternoon so we are going to get a move on straight after breakfast.

This morning as we were riding along we saw the corn fields shake like in the UFO films when aliens are charging through the farmland after a crash landing.  Then out came two deer full belt straight across the road in front of us.  They continued on in full view a round a trimmed field before daring into another field of head high corn.  It was a lovely sight.

Vienna looks an interesting city, we could just pass through though.  If it was cooler or we had more time in the itinerary I might have had the energy for a bit of sight-seeing.  But if you don’t know your way around or you have not spent enough time somewhere to get your bearings it all becomes a bit stressful and the urge to get back on the road takes over.  But my uncle was correct, there is graffiti art everyway!  every part of stone, concreate and glass was covered when we travelled through one area of the city.

We did 86.6km today and it was enough.  We are just about 30km from Bratislava the capital of Slovakia so we will be defo crossing the border tomorrow and hopefully doing another 40-50km when over the border.

We are going to get some pizza and bring it back to our room as we think it must be the only air-conditioned bedroom in the whole of Germany and Austria.  Supermarkets and banks tend to be a good place to waste some time!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.