19 September 2017
Czech Republic to Hungary!
Nigel is cycling through Europe to raise money for our Hardship Fund. Here is the latest update on his travels.
"We had an eventful ride through the Czech Republic and Slovakia. We really enjoyed the varied landscape after the expanse of the North German Plain. There was plenty of climbing and headwinds as well as sun and rain. Also some interesting camping experiences. Last Sunday evening we thought we were arriving at a normal campsite but what we found was an encampment of ex squaddies and truckers living in shacks around an informal bar. There was no drinking water and just a long drop toilet into a deep mire. It was raining hard when we arrived and in spite of a less than friendly welcome there was some shelter to cook under. They didn't seem to mind where we camped and wouldn't accept any money except to buy some beers.
We woke to a misty morning but the sun broke through and I started the day with a swim in the delightful and warm lake which was right next to our tents.
We crossed into Slovakia a couple of days later and had a glorious sunny ride in beautiful surroundings until we started looking for somewhere to camp for the night at which point the wind got up and the clouds darkened. A very helpful young man tried to find us a place to camp and if the wind hadn't started blowing branches off the trees we may have gone to the place he identified. We were looking to take shelter in a substantial structure outside the local bar. We were thinking we might spend the night there if all else failed. We had some great food from a stall next to the bar and then went into the bar to get out of the wind and watch some Europa League footy, Slaving Peter v Maccabi AK, I 'm sure you were watching it too!
Eventually we got talking to the locals in bad French and German and some better English. They were very friendly and helpful (or drunk!). They found us some methylated spirits which we were struggling to buy for our camping stove and in the end we pitched a tent in the yard behind the bar with the broken vehicles and the caged raccoons!
We crossed the Danube into Hungary on Saturday evening and just managed to pitch camp and cook dinner before the heavens opened and the thunderstorm ruled and crashed for a few hours. It was still raining when we got up yesterday and packed in the rain for a short damp climb and the descent into Budapest.
We are in a hostel here for a couple of nights. We have today for sightseeing and hanging out. It feels like a significant moment. We're more than half way in miles to Istanbul and it's a real gateway to the East, as well as being a dramatic and beautiful city. We expect the journey from here to be more. Challenging with hard climbs wild camping and packs of wild and possibly rabid dogs!
You can see more photos of Nigel's journey and sponsor him here.