Foxtrot and I crossed the border into Hungary! I was not quite sure what to expect. I am aware that I am getting further and further away from familiar territory now and I have all sort of pictures in my head about the countries, pictures influenced by my education and the media. All my stereotypes are slowly dissolving away and it feels good.
I have loved Hungary. The villages are prosperous with water points everywhere, the woods feel friendlier and more gentle than those in Germany or Slovakia, the small roads I ride on are well paved, drivers are considerate, people are really friendly and the weather has continued to be kind to me.
In Budapest I was joined by two friends and had a special few days visiting the sites and enjoying a whole day in some beautiful thermal baths all in the company of my gorgeous friends. To top it all up, I was able to enjoy the luxurious floor of their 5* hotel room, the fluffy towels and hair conditioner. What a difference from the bedbug infested hostel I had booked myself in.
From Budapest it was lake Balaton, thermal villages, swimming among waterlilies, meeting the Danube again and staying with truly special Warmshowers hosts on my way to Serbia
A few people are asking me about my days and the kit so let’s start with food!
Tomorrow will be two months that I’m on the road and the days are developing some sort of rhythm. I wake up early and faff around quite a lot. Those of you who know me well, will be able to tell that I am a morning ‘faffer’.
Coffee comes first, I make a whole flask of it and sip it slowly whilst writing my journal or deciding where to aim for that day. After coffee l take down the tent and pack the bike. No matter how much I try (and really I don’t try very hard!) this process never takes less than one hour or one hour and a half, by which time I am ready for breakfast!
I take to the road and after a while I start thinking about what food to cook in the evening. Funny how the basics take so much headspace when there in nothing else to clatter your day. I always try to have enough food with me to last me a couple of days just in case. Shopping is easy. I park the bike outside the shop, lock it up and go in. To start with I was nervous to leave EVERYTHING unguarded outside but as another bike tourer told me, who is going to want to take a heavy monster of a bike for a joy ride? Now I trust that all will be OK and no one will touch my belongings and so far so good.
At some point I get peckish and it is time for an energy bar only that my energy bars take the shape of whatever the local bakers produce, in Germany and Austria they were mainly big pieces of cheesecake, in Slovakia some cheese filled pastries and here in Hungary I devoured the chocolate variety. At the end of the day I enjoy cooking my evening meal as I always did at home. My stove is brilliant and I am making all sort of things: lentils (which I put to soak in the morning), chicken stews, curries, paella, pasta – you name it!
More about kit next time!