Ottoman 2: Gyor to Budapest
Monday, July 18, 2011
The original plan today was to ride 45 miles east along the Danube, then cut SE through the countryside to Budapest. Change of plans mid-ride had us take a 30-mile van break from Tat to Visegråd, and ride the same distance, but all along the Danube. This we did. No rain, not much wind. The map below shows the original route 10 into Istanbul, with the straight line short cut.
Győr, Hungary is the most important city of northwest Hungary, the capital of Győr-Moson-Sopron county and Western Transdanubia region, and — halfway between Budapest and Vienna — lies on one of the important roads of Central Europe.
Jurgén told us, as we rode out of Gyor, that bikes were not allowed on the (2 lane country road) highway, but fortunately the Hungarians provided a nice bike path along the road. Looking forward and then backwards to Nels, this is what it looked like…
We had some slight confusion with directions, the proper attitude to which is demonstrated by Jurgen…
Most of the ride in the morning was on well-paved, 2-lane country roads. We caught up to a pair with loaded panniers, a mother and young son, riding along EuroVelo6 mid- morning.
Seemingly amazingly, I never picked up on the EuroVelo (google it) system until I started seeing these signs along the Danube. We’ve been on it mostly since Vienna…
After the first break in Komarom, Hungary, where there’s a fortress that has been used for maybe 15 centuries or so, Nels, Jürgen and I rode on, while Annie, Tom and Lisa did a great job handling an unexpected dead 2008 VW Caravelle battery. When they caught up to us in Nyergesufalu, we loaded the bikes on the van, drove (sadly for me) through Esztergom.
Hungary, even rural Hungary, is in pretty good shape. But the Danube speaks to you in various languages as you ride along. We disembarked at Visigrad at a roadside park, a couple of us went bare-breasted swimming while others rode on.
Somewhere along the way here (I know it is geo-tagged in my iPhoto) we saw a giant nest along the road, with some ‘baby kind of bird in them…
But mostly Lisa (who quickly regjoined, Nels. Jurgen, Tom and I just wound through the country road toward Belgarde. About 12 miles outside of this magnificent city, the road turned highway-ish, and all but Nels and I bailed. Riding into Budapest was an adventure…
– bike paths along the highway and through parks
– past an old Roman coliseum
– through fields
– along railroad tracks
– behind old apartment buildings and garages covered with graffiti
– through an underground museum, if you will, showing Roman ruins
– walking up flights of stairs to the bridge to cross over the Danube to Pest
– the challenge of riding in bus lanes with determined bus drivers
– and finally to the Andrassy Hotel
Here’s a picture of the hotel on the boulevard with all the embassies, and Mr. Andrassay himself…
When we got to Budapest we all did the usual wash up ourselves and things in the sink, tub or showers in our rooms. Bob went down to the terrace of the hotel and had the best cold beer of his life, and was soon joined by Nels and the rest of the team. Our dinner host was Attila, a Budapest wine merchant who has 10 wine shops, a restaurant and a wholesale business. Miklos Dora, our good friend from Santa Barbara, connected us with Attila – a charming 44 year old guy (pix to follow) stunned us with a sweet Tokai wine to start, gave us a bit of a walking tour, and then we had a nice open-window dinner in his restaurant.
Attila swirling the white.
The Hungarian Red and white from dinner we liked so much. Need to find Sauska and Hangåcs in the states…
We have an easy-going group on the ride. All are riding exceptionally well. It makes for lots of distance in easy time, so far.
Bob 7/22/11 10:56p Belgrade