Danube Day 2: Rackeve to Szelidi-to
Total Distance 79 km
See end of post for map, elevation profile, and GPX file.
Trip overview can be found here.
When we woke up in the forest we did our best to quickly pack up and get out without anyone seeing us from the road. Getting in and out of the forest with the trailer wasn’t terribly easy and we flatted one of our trailer wheels with a measly little thorn. The tires that come stock on the Bike Friday trailers just aren’t made for off-roading in thorny forests. If only they made Schwalbe Marathonsfor 12 inch wheels.
In the morning we packed and left and had a massive brunch picnic on the side of the road about 10 km into the ride. We pooled groceries and had an egg scramble with some bread and honey and oatmeal and of course two pots of coffee. After basking in the sun enjoying our food coma we rallied to get going. For the rest of the day we wound our way down unbelievably flat terrain sometimes on the highway (which wasn’t too busy) and often on nice country roads and even paved bike paths. For the most part we followed signs for the EuroVelo 6.
After a lunch stop we all were singing the need for caffeine so we stopped at the very next place we saw. It was a little bar in Apostag. I walk in with the hopes of using my finest Hungarian to say “Five cappuccinos please.” There were three men at the bar and on hearing me talk one guy turns to me and says something in Hungarian. I inform him (in Hungarian) that I don’t understand and only speak a little bit of the language to which he says “You’re not Hungarian?!?!?” You’d think it wouldn’t be surprising given my poor language skills but even after I confirm that that answer to his question is yes he asks me again another two times. Then we he asks me where I am from and I respond “Kaliforniai” he does a triple take. Now another guy gets involved and we make about as much small talk as I am capable of. This guy wants to buy us a souvenir of Apostag by which he means a round of beer or schnapps but we decline, knowing that we will lose all biking motivation if we forgo caffeine for alcohol. He persists and persists and we decline and decline but in the process we get to know him a little better. Turns out he is a truck driver and is spending his Sunday off getting blisteringly drunk. If he shared the souvenir with us it certainly wouldn’t have been his first (or third). After many wishes of a good journey and some puszi puszi (kisses on the cheek) we take off. We ride the rest of the day, taking some time to mess around and switch bikes just for fun when we are on a really straight, wide and flat carless frontage road.
As we follow the signs one points toward a campground 10km down a side road. As we debate and look at our map and consult the Don (our GPS) a friendly cyclist comes by and we assess our options. We point to the sign and say camping and he says no camping and points in the other direction and says 30km. We thank him and bid him farewell, but decide to take our chances with the close campground. Lesson 1 of bike touring: always listen to local advice.
We pass by the campground and it looks really sketchy. There is a group of motorcyclists hanging out near the entrance and no one else in the campground. We decide to keep going to find a place to eat and come back. We stop at a place called Family Restaurant and order the “family meal” which consists of about 16 different meat products (mostly pork and largely deep fried). We dig in and enjoy a beer to celebrate our day. I have some fun using my extremely poor Hungarian skills with the owner of the restaurant and he even is so impressed that he brings us out some free ice cream bars. The great thing about knowing so little of such a difficult and obscure language is that people really respond positively to the little Hungarian I do speak. In very few places will a wish of “goodnight” be as impressive coming from the mouth of a foreigner.
Here are the before and after pictures of our calorie-rich “family meal.”
By the time we leave the restaurant it is 8:00 and dark so we roll back about a kilometer down the road to where the campground is only to find that it is closed. It had looked pretty deserted on the way in but it now appears that absolutely NO ONE is camping there and all the lights are off. With little other choice we go back to the restaurant and ask the owner if he knows where we can camp. We do this by Andrew saying “camping place not open” in German and me saying “where camping ok?” in Hungarian. After we establish we will only be staying one night he graciously offers to let us camp in his extensive parking lot which is set back from the road and made of soft dirt. With another usage of my Hungarian “goodnight” we say thanks, pitch our tents and head to sleep. Jó éjszakát!
You can see a map of our ride and the elevation profile below. Here is a link to the GPX file (right-click, save as).
View Danube Day 2: Rackeve To Szeliei-to in a larger map