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Chill winds and true grit

The previous night I’d noticed a small cafe bar in the centre of Dunafoldvar. Up at first light, I returned for an early morning coffee. 6.30am. About 60 pence, and it came with warm surroundings and a toilet. A chance to assess the plan for the day. I’d push hard for the Serbian border, stopping a few kilometres short of the crossing point. Fresh pizza bread from the bakery and then back to the cycle way. 7.30am.

After a few hours of fairly rapid progress south the cycle way signs melted away and I found myself on the busy route 51. At least it was going in the right direction, across a vast, flat emptiness, the headwind just bearable. There were other compensations. A roadside cafe. I was the only customer. A warming coffee. And cinnamon pancakes. I chose them partly because they sounded nice, but mostly because they were about the only item on the menu I could decode with the phrase book. There were other flavours, but I’d no idea what they were.

Southern Hungary landscape

Soon back on the familiar Danube earthworks, frequent deep patches of fine grit and an increasingly chill headwind made for slow progress. Just keeping the bike upright was a challenge. I reached the sizeable town of Baja just after 3pm, too late now to push on to Mohacs as I’d hoped.

Baja centrum

A few expensive looking hotels in the centre, and an information board. Someone had attached details of a guest house in Mohacs, in English. There was a phone number. No use tonight, but quickly noted for the following day. Then, a little further on, a sign for a motel on the edge of town. Worth a look while still light. If it came to nothing I could at least return and continue looking around the centre in the dark.

I quickly found the place. The owner spoke excellent German. Hardly surprising, he’d worked there for fifteen years. An en-suite room for less than the price of a dormitory bed in a German or Austrian youth hostel. I wasn’t the first long haul cyclist to stop there, a Japanese chap riding from Tokyo to Paris had come through a few months earlier.

Ich komme aus England mit fahrad – I come from England with my bike – I explained. He was insistent that I should have tea – Earl Grey – with honey and citrus. Very insistent about the vitamin C. And a pizza, ordered in for just a few pounds. I explained I had only Euros left until I went to the bank in the morning. No problem. It was. Until my new found friend explained to the delivery boy about my venture.


2 responses to “Chill winds and true grit”

  1. Pat Lowe says:

    Glad to see you pushing on well Ken. Take care and keep safe. Hope the weather not too bad so far. Cheers Pat

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