I don’t remember waking up. I took a picture of my morning coffee and how I brewed it. I only ate a single breakfast of oats, nuts, and fruit for breakfast on the road so I’m sure I ate that. I was heading to Dunakiliti where there was a campsite that I planned to stay that night. The riding was right around 70 kilometers or so but possibly more.
I followed the highway 1 to the city of Győr, Hungary, where I planned to stop for lunch. The ride was something like 30 or 40 kilometers, I’m not too sure how long. Fields opened up beyond overpasses when cars and trucks become less frequent. They would come in bursts of fast moving vehicles shaking my bike and then they would dissipate and I would be left again with the trees and fields.
The road was smooth and straight and my gloved hands barely had to hold the leather grips of my handlebar to keep the bike steady. The wind pushed gently against my skin and I wore my rain jacket to stay warm even though the sun shone. At this point I had 4 panniers and a handlebar bag all filled with gear. As I remember it, my front panniers held my food and electronics and other strange items thats I didn't have much use for, but I bought them because I felt I should. My back panniers held all my clothes, sleeping bag, tent, bike equipment, and more things I did not need. In conclusion, it was a heavy bike and each of my muscles felt it.
The highway 1 kept extending and extending across field after fields with breaks of forest in between. Wind turbines scattered across the horizon like buoys similar to radio towers. Each one spun at a different speed and it was mediative to sit and watch them spin and spin while others did nothing. A large group of deer grazed in a field and I stopped my bike to watch. A car drove by quickly, the driver not noticing the deer, and in turn the deer ran back to the safety and darkness of the trees. I stood straddling my bike for a few more moments before putting my headphones back in and pushed my bike forward and continued to ride.
I continued on and on across for about two hours until I started to see signs stating that Győr would be coming soon. I relied on signs I didn’t understand for a lot of my navigation.
Going up a very long, hilly guided bike path that eventually joined the road again and eventually made it to a roundabout in the eastern part of the city. Turning right would take me onto highway 14, north out of Győr, which I eventually planned to take. Instead I continued along highway 1 and turned right onto the small street Baross Gábor út where I planned to eat, drink, and slightly shower at the sanctuary that is known as Mcdonald's.
Now I understand the silliness and then hypocrisy that eating at a Mcdonalds means when traveling but the golden arches are so much more than a fast food joint slowly clogging arteries. They offer wifi, they don’t discriminate against a dirty sweating kid pushing half his bodyweight on a steel bike.
There is a couple, both bike touring as well, sitting besides their bicycles and I leaned my bike up against a pole near them and asked if they could watch my bike and they replied they will. I went inside, ordered a Mcflurry(which isn’t nearly as good as an American Mcflurry) and had a lunch of nutella and peanut butter; typical for my lunch.
The small section of seating was covered and overlooked a small courtyard that held a playground. The structure of the buildings was very similar to the courtyards in Budapest with the Soviet cement white block style that were all monotone and plain. The unembellished windows and staircases that surrounded the small playground matched the essence of the city of dullness and structure. Small families came with their children and teenagers loitered about similar to what I was used to in the United States. In moments like this you forget your time and place and that you are in a completely different country where you do not speak the language and have no idea where you are. It is in these moments that you sit and drink or eat and stare at the world around you, not noticing anything yet taking in every single detail.
I continued to sit there for a few more moments until I checked the time and began pack my bags to continue along the road. I stuffed my food back into my pannier, which was bursting with bananas, avocados, and the such, and maneuvered my bike back onto the road and took a left onto the highway 14 that would begin to lead me north.
The road eventually become a path and the path followed a old country roads and it meandered through small towns and in and out of fields. I passed bushes of blackberries and I would stop for a moment to catch my breath and eat a few, taking in the field that extended a kilometer away before reaching a wall of trees.
The small towns felt empty of any people except the few dogs that would bark and pace behind fences. There was always a church in the center of town, pretty much always gated and always a yellow-tan complexion with a green steeple. The houses surrounding the church were similar in colour expect their roofs were tiled and a clay-like red, like you would expect in a Italian countryside.. Pretty much all were a single story except some pockets were rich and elegant, completely misplaced from the other houses in the town yet they still had their own appeal.
I began to feel my thighs burn. It was more flat than before and the wind pushed against me. It also had begun to get cold. I rode through the village of Püski and down more roads passings more trees and more fields. I became lonely and wanted the day of riding to end soon. Maps can be misleading and can make you think the distance will go by quicker. Knowing something is 10 kilometers away does not help much for you ego or you mental health when you do not know the trouble that could happen in the next 10 kilometers. It could rain, or it could all be uphill. The bags could fall off the bike and you could spend 10 minutes trying to mend the hooks to fit back. I was tired and I was lonely and I pushed harder.
By the time I reached Dunasziget, a town 5 or so kilometers south of Dunakiliti, I was ready to find a small grove to pitch my tent and call it a day. I knew if I did that I would not have the pleasure of being able to call home or have clean water or take a shower, so I pressed on. Back and forth through familiar fields and through the routine of stopping every 10 minutes or so to check and make sure I was on the right patch, I eventually made it to Dunakiliti.
Seeing the signs for the village was a relief and it took me 10 more minutes of riding around to eventually just find campground. It was on a small tributary which fed into the Danube a short distance to the East. Across a small bridge was a resort spa hotel that sold rooms for $100 a night, which I considered. It all worked out and I paid the 1500 HUF, roughly $6, to stay the night at the campground. I tried pitching my tent, struggling to put the stakes into the loose soil, when the man who managed the campground came over and lend me his hammer. I took it, finished setting my gear into my tent, and went to the hotel for a beer.