Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Budapest to Prague in Pics

The beautiful buildings of Budapest
Kicking back with Mamma Pike
Relaxing at the amazing thermal baths
Happy that an old friend had come to visit
There's no turning back now
Crossing the Danube
The former border crossing - definitely past its best
Country number 6 - Slovakia
The view from our temporary home in central Bratislava
Arriving in Austria on a very rainy day with fellow tourer Martin
Once a scout, always a scout
We almost didn't notice we'd arrived in the Czech Republic
John?  Eating pizza?  Surely not!  
Prague by night
Dresden here we come!!!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Day 40 - 50 Budapest to Vranovska Plaz (Czech). 559km (Total 2350km)

Very fast tap tap tap. on a public computer, 15 minutes only.  Access to the internet has been difficult, harder in Austria then in a tiny one street town in Serbia.  Who would have thought?


Had a nice time in Budapest with Mother Pike too,  in a geat pokey apartment that we had for a luxurious 5 days rest.  The boiler looked like a part of a V2 flying bomb but we didnt explode so good times.  It was great to have a cooker and a fridge. Something our tent does not have (not in this climate anyway).

An easy route out of budapest along the EV6 route path, well signed and smooth going to our next country and capital city-  Bratislava in Slovakia.  We even got in a few little ferries across the rver to mix it up.    Bratisalava was only 2 nights for us, but we lucked in with a groupe of a 100 kayakers who had set up camp right smack bang in the centre on the nice river bank, in a private kayaking club ground.  I charmed them with my tedious Slovakian and German, then switched to English since that was easier (and less annoying for them), and we snuck in with them and enjoyed some high society (location anyway) city camping.  Thanks Siggy!! We had some late night drunken swimming in the then chilly Danube.  Nice!!  A great camp.

Our route, and the location of Bratislava, meant that we were in and out of Slovakia within 48 hours.  A nice illusion of speed!  A simple but boring route west into Austria and Vienna.  We got soaked in our wettest day yet.  Luckily our clothes were in plastic bags, so safe and snug.  But my bag was open, so a lot was wet.  Also a good samaritan deed added 25km to my day in the rain, but its all good karma.

so so so..

Vienna, um, wet, expensive (for us)!  great architecture and a nice subway system though.  Poor camp site.  Collect the rubbish!!

I have ran out of time.  Suffice to say, right now we have made it into Czech Republic, after a great route through Austria.  We slept in an empty scout hut one night, just me and Laura.  what would Lord Powell say!!  It was great.  I used to be a scout and have very fond memories of it all.

More pictures and less haste next post.

Godspeed!!  John

Friday, 6 July 2012

Day 28 - 39 Bela Crkva to Budapest (Hungary)

Hello!!  It's been a few days since the last post & the best part of 2 countries, Serbia and Hungary.  With the deadline of meeting Mamma Pike in Budapest on July 3rd we had a goal in mind & so apart from an extra day in Belgrade were on a bit of a mission to make up the KM's in time. 

The ride has continued to be mainly flat (which has suited us greatly) and mostly followed the Danube all of the way.  We've tried to follow the Eurovelo 6 route as much as possible, although I doubt how often the organisers have cycled with heavy panniers considering it's taken us over two 10km stretches cycling on grass.  That said, it's helped us avoid the busier highways which is a blessing. 

John unimpressed by the route ahead

Once again the locals have been amazingly hospitable & we've been overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers.  Our first camping experience was with Dragan, right on the banks of the Danube in Serbia who let us camp for free in his garden (even though he advertised as a campsite) and kept us fed & watered with Schnapps for the evening. 

Tan marks starting to show!

As John mentioned, food has been a bit of an issue and it came to a head when hanging out with Dragan and his friends.....basically I'd been ravenous for weeks, feeling very unsatisfied and sick of living off bread, cheese and salad.  Dragan and his 6 friends were having a BBQ, and on hearing I was vegetarian kindly produced a plate containing a block of cheese, couple of tomatoes and a cucumber.  I nearly cried.  For the previous hour they'd been BBQing a whole bunch of fish they'd caught on the river and were whole heartedly tucking into the feast.  Peer pressure & pure hunger were just too much and eventually I caved....after nearly 13 years of being vegetarian (which I still like to think I am) I caved and ate some fish...and it was delicious.

Another clone of our lovely Roo

Another stroke of luck came our way a few hundred kilometres down the line when we were trying to find a place to camp for the night.  We'd set our sights on the small village of Bac Monostor and amazingly it turned out there was a free reggae festival with camping on while we were there.  We met a great bunch of Serbian young people and had heaps of fun dancing into the small hours (well, 11.30pm actually when we both hit the deck with music still blasting in the background) and got back on the bikes with fuzzy heads the next morning.

Hungary has been equally as hospitable and after a hardcore couple of days we finally made it to the capital city.  What a luxury it has been to have 4 days off the bike, see family, have an apartment to stay in and somewhere to cook hearty meals of our choosing.  John's first port of call was the local supermarket to buy cereal & soya milk - something he's been craving for months. 

Hurray for bike signs!

SO!  We're basically half way through the trip.  It's great to have reached a real milestone and we're very excited about the next few weeks, meeting up with friends and family along the way.  Unfortunately our computer that tells us how far we've gone seems to have broken but we've done about 1700km so far and are feeling slightly proud of ourselves.  Now all we need is to reach our sponsorship target (we're not quite half way yet) so it would be amazing if you could spare even just a couple of pounds to help us support New Life Foundation.  Our fundraising page is here:  www.simplygiving.com/istanbultoamsterdam

Next stop Slovakia!  The 2nd half of our trip should be great fun and takes in some amazing cities; Bratislava, Vienna, Prague, Dresden, Berlin and Amsterdam.  Bring it on!!!x

One of the many sunflower fields we passed along the way

A well needed afternoon nap

Waiting for the fun to begin at the Bac Monostor Reggae Festival

Crossing the border into Sebia

A couple of days in the not-quite-so-beautiful Belgrade

Kicking back with Dragan and friends near the Danube.  Not sure where the women are?!
Happy to finally meet up with mum in Budapest