Mon 12th August.
I hadn’t made the distance I’d hoped to make from the first day, but had done well enough to make it a feasible start. I’d made plans with a host and so had to be there in three days time. I had just over 300km left to do.
In the morning the tent was soaking wet from the dew and it was really cold throughout the night, which took me back to the first nights of camping on the trip in France, when I had to wear everything I had and I would wake up from the cold and have to move my joints. It was a strange mixture of feelings and discomfort that took me back to those early days. As for the dew. I wasn’t at a high altitude and it was in the middle of summer still, so I can only think that it was something specific to the area, but the tent was soaked. Also despite Hrovja’s best efforts to fix about ten puncture on the mattress it was still losing air from the valve. I was infuriated at how pathetic it was, but didn’t see much point in replacing it at this stage in the trip. I could still sleep, just not as well as it provided little cushioning from the ground.
The first site of the day was two reservoirs that were just before the border. The views went for miles around the huge reservoir and regulating the flow of water into the river nearby. I went through crop fields for a few miles before making it to the border for my second passport check leaving Croatia. For once I was glad to be entering an unknown country based on the fact that cycling in Croatia had been so unpleasant.
I had heard that Hungarian was unlike any other language in Europe and it often got paired with Finnish because they both had no similarities to any other latin language. I stopped trying to make an effort to speak the language of the land in Slovenia and I was going to start again now. The first shop I went to after drawing out some of their bizarre currency (Forint it’s called) the clerk gave me my change and spoke to me in French as she counted the coins out. I understood, but had no idea why she thought I was french. Perhaps they occasionally spoke it here?
Yogurt drinks and ice creams were still high on the favourite list and given that I was putting in long hours on the bike, these luxury items of food became a great source of refuge and distance from time on the bike. It wasn’t that it was becoming tiring, it was just after miles and miles of similar countryside that things start to become incredibly boring. As I was on the roads I couldn’t listen to music to distract me and I had thought through every thought I could imagine to distract me. Now it was just the bike, the road and the distance.
I kept on through the countryside and started seeing signs for Budapest at 214km to go. Not great, but seeing signs was always some sort of comfort, ‘You’re on the right road and it’s getting closer kid, keep going’. Then I starting noticing signs that counted down the kilometres. 212, 211, 210. Also good to know when you’ve put a kilometre behind you, but it always took me out of whatever trance I was getting into to, to help get through it and the reminder of the gap would punch you back into reality.
I got far enough and started looking to settle down for the night. I didn’t have much luck taking every road of the road I was on and looking for options. The third road I took, took me up onto a crop field. The ground was dry and hard, but there was a track that went into some woods. The track was soft so I camped there.