marți, 4 august 2009
I started this tour on 19th of May at 6 o’clock PM from Ineu. First day I cycled only up to Varsand village at 2 km away from the customs. I pitched my tent behind a Turkish motel, the cook of the restaurant, a very becoming and good-looking Turk was so kind to approve me of spending the night there. All the night I enjoyed in the company of many interesting Turks that were truck drivers. I ate a tripe soup, I drank a couple of Carlsberg beer and I talked to a fat lady very amusing and a lovely girl that was waiting on the clients. Next day I entered Hungary at Gyula. The weather was just great, but a bit hot. I chose secondary roads with very few traffic. I passed through towns like: Oroshaza, Mindszent than I crossed the Tisza river by ferryboat towards Baks village. I enjoyed a lot riding my bike in the neverending Hungarian steppe. The boundless plains, sometimes a forest, sometimes a pond, lots of wild life, always flat road, few cars, dormant villages with plenty of storks’ nests. This is what this huge steppe, the largest of Europe is all about. So it’s so nice to stop sometimes to quench your thirst with a cold draft beer in a cosy village pub endowed with a lovely terrace. And so I did, seizing the moment. In the evening after I enjoyed a beer and some pistachios in a local pub in the Kömpöc, I pitched my tent next to this village in a small forest not far from a pond. All of a sudden before I went to sleep I heard a frightening noise made by a wild beast I assume.
The next day I faced the same monotonous landscape of sun-drenched steppe passing through towns such as: Kiskunmajsa, Kiskunhalas, Janoshalma and then at Baja the relief finally changed after I crossed the bridge over the Danube. The next village named Pörböly was the place where I stopped for a beer at exactly the same pub where I stayed 2 years ago when I came back from my European bike tour. While drinking my beer, a good friend of mine, a great cycletourist in the making, the young and the gifted Victor Perdevara, called me, anxious to find out the latest news from me. One month ago he had a very nice bike trip of 1600km in 5 countries in Europe, cycling a lot next to the Danube River. I was happy to quickly inform him about my trip and my plan. Then I finally had some hills to climb, to my sheer joy and I cycled a bit next to the Danube and I slept in my tent near Bar village where I met a very interesting pub owner with whom I had a long conversation. The next day I passed through Mohacs where the Hungarians lost their worst battle in history in 1541 against the Turks. Then I cycled on a busy road to Pecs, a great town with a gorgeous historical centre. Here I climbed The Misina hill, which is included in the BIG Challenge club’s list. It was my 30th BIG climb for me, so I reached a new level and it was time for me to celebrate this victory, so I stopped at a pub on the top and I enjoyed some beers with pistachio nuts. I also met another Hungarian cyclist who was speaking English so I had good company there. I admit that in the first part of this climb the slope was up to maybe 18%, the toughest slope I saw in all Hungary, so I had to struggle a lot to climb it. Then I had such a nice itinerary to Kaposvar with lots of climbs, some of them up to 12%, exactly to my liking. Near Manfa village I met at a restaurant an extremely beautiful girl, a real goddess: great slender body, long fair hair, blue eyes and fabulous smile. I could have fallen in love with her, but what a pity I had to carry on traveling on 2 wheels. In Gödre village I stopped for a beer at a local pub where I came across a very funny middle-aged gipsy woman who was a bit drunk, her husband was away to work and she was heavily drinking in the pub. She invited me to dance with her and I accepted for I didn’t want to upset a drunk old woman. How funny it was, and when I had to go he kisses me 3 times on my cheeks, hugging me strongly. He spoke a bit of a sort of ancient Romanian language and it was quite an interesting situation for me.
Then I liked very much the Kaposvar town centre. Very nice architecture, great churches, it was a jazz festival right in the main town square, plenty of tourists and a colourfully dressed organ-grinder drew my attention. I stopped for a draft beer on a terrace to listen to some itinerant musicians from Argentina who had such a lovely street band. Such a lovely music. Than I started sipping greedily some great white wine talking to an artist, than I had the pleasure to strike up conversation in English language with Jorge, the singer from the band, I invited him to drink some wine with me, he was interested to hear about my travels and he told me his story how he left his country Argentina, 11 years ago and how he used to sing all over the Europe with his band till he finally met his true love of his life in Hungary and how happy is he now having a snug cottage in Pecs, having a lovely house and carrying on performing his great music in tourist towns. Quite a life!
The next day I reached the Balaton Lake, this fabulous Mecca for tourists from all over Hungary and not only. Here it was time for me to have fun, I toured this lake in 4 days, enjoying a lot, swimming a lot, drinking beers and talking to the foreign tourists. It was just great. You can find everything you want at Balaton. The infrastructure is as developed as at The Black Sea and the prices are very good. I remember that on a terrace near the lake I had a long and nice discussion with a young german woman who was on holiday with all hers 4 little children. Then on the other side of the lake, at a swimming place, the waitress that gave me good red wine and pizza frutti di mare, she was born in Romania, and so we could speak Romanian. I had 2 days of sun, when I could swim a lot in the lake and 2 days of cold headwind when I could bathe no more.
Then I headed for Budapest and on my way to this capital I had to go through a nasty misfortune. Not finding the right road that was leading to Budapest I tried to cycle a bit in a moat beside a motorway, and after only a few km a police car stopped and I got fined. The fine was of 20 000Ft but I didn’t have to pay it on the spot as I had only 8000FT on me. Then a truck driver carried me to Budapest. I was impressed by this spectacular and magnificent city. The historical center is quite fabulous, I climbed to the Citadella and I had a great view over the city. Then I went to pay a visit to Gabor Gyorgyi, a good friend of mine, he is the best cycloclimber from Hungary with even a more important career in cycloclimbing than me. He lives in Budakalasz, a locality in the northern part of Budapest. I stayed at his place for 2 days. He gave me a nice room, good food and excellent beer. He also joined me to climb Dobogoko which is the highest peak in Pilis Mountains and is on the BIG club list. He raced me on the way to the top and he won by 30seconds. He climbed at a very good rate, he is indeed a very tough cycloclimber but he also had a much better bike than mine. In the evening we watched videos from his tours.
Than on a Sunday I had to return home. Gabor joined me a few km to get me out of the city and to show me the way. Then from Dunakeszi it started to rain. 2 days I had to cycle through the rain, I remained with very few money. I remember I pitched my tent near a village, and because all the night was raining like hell, my tent was flooded and it was a nightmare in the morning to pack up things in the rain. Then a gipsy man came, he was speaking Romanian and he invited me to have breakfast at his place. He gave me some coffee, a small glass of brandy, great sausages and I met his beautiful family. He had 3 pretty girls and a little boy. How nice it was! Then when I had to leave he sponsored me with 1000FT very important for me as I had only 3000FT in my pocket and more than 200km till home. Than I struggled to cross again the huge and endless Hungarian steppe again, I met so nice people and when I entered Romania at Varsand customs office again I was penniless again. Then I received a sour tripe soup for free from the same Turkish restaurant and I drank a good wine with a young prostitute and a couple of Turks. Afterwards I pitched there my tent and next day I cycled the last 55km till home.
It was a fabulous tour of Hungary, over 1000km in 15 interesting and funny days.
Claudiu, Member of the Gratzu Sport Club
Long live our fabulous Banat Region!