Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Central Europe: Borders and big miles

Germany traversed, I was on my own, staring at the countless kilometers ahead of me wth no clear break until I reached Istanbul many thousands of pedal rotations away. I enjoyed, as I knew I would, the Czech Republic, following the same route through the country I followed last year - for nostalgic reasons. When I finally reached the Danube river, my well marked path all the way down to Bulgaria, I was excited, but the monotony of a dead straight, scenery defunct gravel road that stretches as far as the eye could see for weeks ahead soon expelled the happiness and replaced it with boredom and disappointment.

Imagine hundred of km's of this

I had to get myself off this waterway of drudgery, so in Slovakia I turned right at Bratislava, (a real gem of a city so close to the sheer wall of tourists found in Vienna) and headed south, destination: Adriatic Coast.

The hospitality of Hungary was a little lower compared to the previous countries I had covered, the occasional rude person, slightly bland food (still good for a parched cyclist), flat scrubby scenery, and an unbelievable mosquito population, I decided to cover the country as fast as I could and rode three 160km days to get out of there. I can't generalise a whole country from my limited perspective, so one day I will visit again. As soon as I crossed the border/borders into Slovenia/Croatia, the scenery visibly changed for the better, people suddenly seemed nicer and the mosquitos were fewer.