Day 13 – Taking a leisurely day

I stayed the night at the Aqua Hotel and Wellness Centre. Well something must have gotten lost in translation. I got to see it in its full glory at breakfast – there was plenty of food, some of which was barely edible. I had some coffee, but on adding milk it turned a curious greenish brown colour. I realised there and then, I wasn’t addicted to coffee afterall. The guests were a mix of eldery couples and some lost souls. There was also an outdoor area, of sorts, with water and various sheds. Hard to describe the place; a Butlins Mosney for decrepits and introverts is the closest I could get.

This section of the Danube Cycle Path follows the general direction of the Danube, but inland along roads and through small Hungarian villages. All intensively cropped land, mostly wheat and maize, but also some sunflowers and beans (I think). It also ran along straight, straight roads. I had sklarks and the ubiquitous house sparrows to keep me company, and at one place, there was a large number of house martin feeding along the road. The temperature built quickly and by mid morning was 31 degrees. I took it easy, only gentle cycling today, and drank plenty of water. Because of the scale of the sheds and machinery I saw, I assumed this must have been formerly collectivised farmland. I had read about the impact this had on land holdings, but I never realised it must also have obliterated rural communities and culture in these places.

Really, there was very little to interest me in this landscape. For my mid-morning’s break, I watched for a while a man cut grass.

The route was difficult to navigate as signposts were either misleading, or missing.I struggled at a few villages to find my route. At one village I spied a fellow cyclist in the shade pouring over a map; he was an enormous man carrying an enormous load- full to bursting panniers front and back, and more bags piled on top. I don’t know if he packed the kitchen sink, but he had a look of a man that certainly packed the larder. He too was struggling with the heat; he wore a peaked cap with a little patch of cloth at the back to keep the sun from his neck- and was sweating profusely. I approached him to share notes as to where we were, but before I had a chance, he pointed at his map saying ‘Ve are here – definitely here, und ve need to go there’ ‘It’s impossible, the signs, the roads, alles scheiße. Vere are you from? England?’ he ordered. ‘No, no I’m Irish’. As he launched himself on his way he turned and announced ‘I am German!’ You’d never have guessed, I thought!

I came off the Danube Cycle Track- well being truthful, I was already off the path as I was lost again, and headed north towards the Danube. I accessed the dyke once more and cycled along it for a few kilometres, but the grass here was scalped, there was little to see and there was no shade; it was really hot. I came across workmen who were putting more flood defenses on top of the existing defenses- to try to deal with future floods. You really get the sense of how vulnerable local communities here are with such vast quantities of water trying to burst the banks during times of flood.

I arrived in early afternoon and mooched around Győr for a couple of hours, mostly to keep in the shade. It was a nice pleasant town with a large pedestrianised core and lovely traditional facades. By the time I got back on the bike, I was too lazy for the 40km trek to the next campsite so stayed on the outskirts of Győr instead. Good decision, and it was nice to have had a leisurely day. Still covered 77km though.