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4/11/10 – Demandice → Nagymaros – Slovakian soup and the Danube!

November 10, 2010
  • 55km Travelled
  • 18km/h Av
  • 46km/h Max
  • 3hrs 15mins in Saddle
  • 2220km Total

Without Ketchup we  make do with some left over passata to accompany some fried eggs, works surprisingly well.  It’s a misty morning, the churchyard which last night lit up by small pockets of red light looms at the end of the football pitch we’re currently occupying.  A quick flick through JG Ballard’s “Concrete Island” gives us our photo project word for the day ‘LIQUID’ – It’s a good one and better than yesterdays one – IRON which yielded no photos from either of us.  After a few games of ‘Either, Or?’ whilst packing up we head out.

Liquid photo challenge

20minutes down the road a guy pulls over in front of us and waits for us to approach before flagging us down, is he going to tell us off? Not in the slightest, we find out he’s called Nagypal (Michael) and is a keen cyclist and wants to invite us for tea – You don’t have to ask us twice!  Back at his house we’re introduced to his dog ‘Cody,’ intially quite timid is soon happily being stroked whilst we drink tea and eat some sautkraut soup prepared by his wife.  The generosity in Slovakia has been so amazing – people offer you tea then all sorts of other surprises accompany.  Nagypal tells us about his cycling trips to the Tatras, along with his wife and young son in a small trailer which is bolted to the bike soon to be joined by their recently born baby girl.  He tells us about his idea to buy the house next door and their land and create a free camping area for cyclists –  I could really envisage a camp site/commune where you’d help out on the land in return for some meals and a place to rest along your journey.

Nagypal, Codi and two well fed cyclists


We’re told that he is an avid caver and shows us some pictures of caves he’s been down into and camped in!  I had always thought caving was the same as pot holing but caving seems alot more interesting and slightly less claustrophobic.  When he shows us some more photos we spot some of the equipment used to lower people down, how about a dead log placed over a hole with the rope tied to it? Well if it works…  We also find out that Nagypal uses dynamite to find new caves in his spare time and is infatuated with Belarus as they are the only nation to have female cavers.  He quickly backtracks “No, Slovakia also has female cavers…. my wife.”  To which his wife resumes smiling.

Liquid photo challenge

Smoke photo challenge (2days ago)


We leave with bottles full of more tea and a full stomach.  The winds have picked up and our flat ride to Salka becomes more of a battle.  Along the way we try to relay some of the Hungarian Nagypal has taught us – The first country that we know how to say Hello, please and thanks before we enter it.  The Hungarian border is unmanned and we wonder when we’re going to get stopped.  Hungry in Hungary so find an ATM in a town with a  mini railway and go into the supermarket to get supplies.  That first trip to the supermarket in a new country is always quite a fun experience, seeing what you recognise, what new strange products are available and noticing silly things like price tags on every single product.  Warm weather joins us for lunch in a square, we’re not sitting in the sun yet it’s a decent temperature and the air smells Mediterranean!  The Danube is close so we head in it’s direction – there it is in front of us, much wider than i had thought, we’re going to get to know this river very well in the coming month or so.


Danube/Liquid photo challenge


Pot wash

A sign to Budapest accompanied by a bike lane symbol seems like the direction to go so we pedal down the bike lane just a few metres from the river, Highly recommended if your heading into Budapest this way.  Riverside housing density is increasing whilst the light is fading.  The houses perched by the rivers edge remind us of California.  We search for a campsite near to the waters edge and come across a couple of options which are too great, lots of rubble or infront of a hotel which intially we thought was abandoned but turns out not to be.  They didn’t like our offer of a couple of Euros to set up on their lawn so we continue to search.

Lo-fi riverside seating

The red sky is phenomenal as we motor down the bike lane, considering riding into the night to get to Budapest, we spot a potential site.  Down quite a steep rock face right down to the waters edge where there’s some tree cover.  Unpacking the bags from the bike at the top of the 30metre descent over large rocks in the dark adrenaline is buzzing around our bodies.  We make it down, a few bruises on our shins, but happy with the efforts and looking forward to setting up the tents and cooking a meal.  The ground is soft and carrying all the bags makes you sink a few centimetres into the soil, the Danube laps up against the edge about 4 metres away – This river isn’t tidal is it? we think to ourselves.  Over the course of dinner we watch as boats sporadically drift down the water and flashes of activity occurring on the the other side.

Photos don't do it justice

In the tent the sound of water splashing against the bank as another ship passes sounds distinctly closer when you can’t see it.  Let’s hope we don’t wake up in the Danube tomorrow!

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