Tuesday 19. 06. 2012 Zebegeny – Papsziget (about 20kms short of Budapest)
Wednesday 20.06.2012 Papsziget -
Wednesday 20.06.2012 Papsziget -
The idea of making a short day of today was so that we could rest awhile and contemplate the navigational rigours of traversing Budapest tomorrow. So we enjoyed a leisurely and unremarkable ride in temperatures which show no sign of decreasing. (Still up in the high 30s). We arrived in the mid afternoon at a fairly dilapidated site. Its appearance may have been disappointing but the facilities were all that we could wish – old, but clean and functional with a very reasonably priced restaurant so I left the stove in the trailer. Always the best place for it! A good meal served by a delightful young man anxious to practice his English (or Irish as he had honed this skill in Dublin), a pretty hot and sticky night in the confines of the tent, and we were ready for Wednesday’s challenge. It was not go exactly to plan!
It had always been my intention to write the blog for these two days together. What I did not know, was that it would be my last! It has to be said that Budapest was not the easiest place to ride. You have to accept that as something of an under-statement. It was a city full of the sound/noise of motor vehicles. It is true, that there was much beauty in the architecture and, no doubt there was much to recommend its offerings to culture but for us, it represented many of the things that modern life seems to require, at the expense of the original wonder. That said, I am sure some of you now are certain that I am a charlatan. Anyway, after a good many wrong guesses (even with two maps) we were well clear of the city when IT happened! My excuse – that I was tired, a bit fraught and very, very hot. Pretty poor excuse I hear you cry. My trailer wheel hit a very upstanding speed bump, flipped over bringing my bike to an abrupt halt catapulting me through the air to land in the dirt. As it was my second fall of the day I had hoped a quick rub and dust down would see me whizzing again. In short time and feeling sick (always a bit of a giveaway) it was clear that the injury sustained by my right wrist this time was not going to respond to a quick ‘kiss it better’. Mmmm….. we knew where we were on our map but had no idea how to pronounce the name and even less how to explain to a taxi or an ambulance where they might find us. We stood looking forlorn for some time while vehicles, disappointingly, gave us a wide birth. It was clear that we must initiate some action or stand like a couple of lemons all day. Bravely, Alan hailed a couple of young girls on bikes. (Pretty too.) I have already commented on the thoughtfulness and kindness of youth and now we encountered it again. One of said lassies spoke very good English and once we had explained our predicament she called the emergency services explaining how to find us. Not satisfied at that act of kindness, she and her friend offered to remain with us until the ambulance (I use that term loosely) arrived. When the vehicle arrived some 20 minutes later, she was able to explain to the medic (and I use that term loosely) what the situation was and more importantly she was able to convey to Alan the name of the hospital they would take me to. I left my poor spouse in hands of our little angels while I was sirened back to Budapest. I really wasn’t that unwell! The journey still took forever and while I was relieved to have survived it, I was less confident about building I was ushered into. To those of us from the west it was a shock, looking much more like a hostel for down and outs than a 21st century hospital. However, the medical treatment, while basic, was efficient and the doctor, very competent. Alone in such a place, and probably looking a bit lost, a very large and unkempt man approached me. Now I don’t do cowering, but with some temerity I acknowledged his ‘Excuse me.’ (in perfect English) ‘Can I get you a coffee or something?’ His kindness nearly had me in tears but I didn’t want to dilute the coffee so generously proffered. I thank him from the bottom of my heart.
Finally, lying with my hand in a rack, my ‘phone rang. It was with much relief that I heard Alan’s voice firstly checking that I was still in one piece and secondly to say, that with much help from les girls, Ramona and Erika, he, bikes and trailers were ensconced in the airport hotel and I should make my way there when the torture was over. Two hours later we were re-united and our voyage was over. Now we await our flight in some luxury and with grateful thanks to Deborah and Brendan, who will collect us from Paris, and we return home somewhat sooner than expected.
Despite completing just about two thirds of our anticipated journey, the experience, as ever, has been full of interest and human kindness. We have enjoyed the variety of the different environments and cultures, and we have benefitted from the work put in by the organisers of the Eurovelo 6. That, on occasions, when it has been less than perfect, the fault probably lies with local vandalism or sheer ignorance as to the importance of the signs. On this trip we have encountered a plethora of different track surfaces, and it has to be said that some are found wanting. We are all up for a challenge but rutted and muddy without a quality mountain bike are not a lot of fun. Much of the scenery has been glorious even in the rain, of which we have had a goodly amount and the rivers have been endlessly changing as water is wont to do. As ever, we have been cheered by your comments and good wishes and so with heavy heart (no, arm) we bid you adieu with our thanks for your support.