Day 118

Tues 13th Aug.
Lake Balaton.

Early in the morning, men drove up to where I had camped in a truck and got out. There was no disruption to me or the tent, so I knew I was safe and they walked past me and went into the woods to begin their days work. I guessed they were tree surgeons, but they didn’t hassle me given that I was blocking their point of entry and they had to go around me to get to work. I was grateful for that.
I packed up when they where in the trees sawing and I didn’t see them so I guess they didn’t see me. I took my time to get ready and noticed a giant hornet hovering about. It landed on the front tyre and I was wondering if it would try to sting, ruining my morning. It didn’t and we both left the crop field.

Minutes after getting back on the main road that would take me to Budapest, I saw a large kind of hotel lodge for people coming to this area. I was near lake Balaton, which I assumed was a popular holiday destination or day trip for Hungarians, so I guessed it was due to that. Knowing I’d have no better opportunities for coffee than this, I went in and got my morning fix.
It was a nice place, all made of wood in a kind of Canadian-lodge theme. The dining area was huge, but the bar where the coffee was, was much smaller. I felt out-of-place in my cycling gear and having camped for two nights I had showered in a few days and probably looked rough around the edges. I had an espresso and went to the loo. No one took a payment and no one was their to when I got back. I waited for a while, then just left, hoping to be the target of a hot pursuit with the manager. But no-one chased me and I had just stolen an espresso from perfectly honest people. I felt bad for the rest of the day.

I went through the occasional town with same Gothic style buildings that were prevalent in Slovenia and Croatia. The regional style, which made a nice break up from the endless fields and occasional crops I was getting used to. I passed a few melon in Croatia, where I thought about helping myself to a the sweet prize, but chose not to. Seeing a melon field was something though.
I did a brief stop and shop and perused the ice creams of this country. Something I felt I had become quite the expert by at this stage. I picked up a strange creation that was about the size of a cigar with ice cream in the middle and chocolate coated ends. It was good, but not great.
A few miles more and I reached the lake. I hope the Hungarian road planners where as considerate as the Swiss road planners and that the road went alongside the lake for the entire stretch. Unfortunately, it did not.
This lake was pretty big and I knew it was going to be the majority of the days riding, hence my hopes that it would come with good views. Instead I got the occasional glimpse through some bushes and had mostly a different array of buildings to my right to look at. I stopped on the lake to get a good look at it when I had the chance and got a proper ice cream this time, a Magnum espresso.
The lake smelled quite bad. When I got there, there was a smooth path going up and down and stretches of grass either side that the people were sunbathing on like a beach. A lot of people where out enjoying the day and some guy came over to me and started talking and studying the bike. Him wearing his little trunks. He brought his son over, and then started calling to his wife who was out swimming to come and meet me. I guessed she spoke some english. I really needed to get going as I had a day of mediocre buildings to cycle past. I put my things away said goodbye and he left.
Having said all that the lake was beautiful and I wish I could’ve gone in just for five minutes to get a refreshing dip.

Towards the end of the lake, I stopped at a Lidl. I knew what they offered inside-out now and given that I used to eating the same things with the occasional extra thrown in my shopping trips were quick and brisk. got back on the main road then had to leave shortly after to find a camping spot. This time was difficult and took a bit longer then normal, but I had learnt that you can always find something with a little persistence. I left the smaller road I was on and followed a field round on uncertain path. The track I was on was plotted out by pole masts connecting the nearby building with telecommunications. I followed these past some buildings, the occasional dog going mental in the distance and finally found an ideal spot that offered cover from sight, soft ground and few bugs, a huge relief.
I could feel that the trip was coming close to an end in a way, which relax me as I cooked and listened to podcasts, the usual tricks.

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