Click here for the Introduction.
40 miles – Friday, September 9
How pleasant to wake surrounded by sheets instead of a sleeping bag! Despite the comfort, we still rise with the sun. We inhale the small breakfast provided: instant coffee, a banana, and croissant with apricot jam, then retreat to our room’s balcony to cook round two: oatmeal with more coffee. We’ve grown accustomed to a huge morning meal.
We visited the large fortification, Bratislava castle, perched above the Danube River. It was the center of the Kingdom of Hungary for 200 years, but since has undergone deterioration, two world wars (used for barracks), until the 1950s finally saw its value and eventual restoration for public viewing and tourism. It certainly has a commanding presence on the horizon, capturing our attention at dusk the previous evening. We spent a while in its magnificence, ducking into the gift shop amidst periodic showers before pushing the bikes through narrow cobbled streets then rejoining the bike path towards Hungary.
|Old town and Bratislava Castle, 2006. Photo credit: Wikipedia|
Four countries in four days: Czech Republic, Austria, a night in Slovakia, and now Hungary. It’s mindboggling. The flurry of languages, swapping currency, with only glimpses of cities and countryside. We love our slow mode of travel, and yet there is so much more out there than we have time to explore.
Today’s route was away from the river. Light rain teased the smell of sage from the roadside, immediately reminding me of central Oregon. Eventually the moisture let up. Navigating the Slovakian and Hungarian bike route is a test of patience and map reading. Gone are dedicated bike lanes. We pedal small country roads and use a fan-like Magyar/English dictionary. German is also widely spoken, fortunately, so we get by with simple words. “Campingplatz” steers us in the right direction for evening accommodation.
The Hungarian Florint exchanges at 101 to one U.S. dollar. Andy and I are delighted to be back among cheaper lodging with the nightly fee only 410 florints.