Hätte es kaum erwartet aber das Auto ist gepackt somit kann es dann gleich weitergehen und wir können Sandra nach Wien zum Hauptbahnhof bringen.
Sunday October 2nd
In Which we Almost go Hungry in Hungary
Our ride out out of Bratislava took us through an assortment of derelict areas, large expanses of graffiti and trashed and empty buildings.It was not the most attractive way to exit the city, but at least it was a quiet Sunday morning and the place was deserted.
We soon found the bike path and spent the majority of the day riding on smooth bike paths . This made for almost effortless riding and the progress was quite rapid. The weather was still fine, although it did give the first early indications that the pattern was about to change.
During the ride we crossed the border back into Hungary and it was easy to see that the socio economic conditions were a lot further behind than even in Slovakia. As we rode through small villages we noted that the condition of the houses was run down and (in some cases) almost derelict
It seemed that any form of house maintenance was not high on the locals list of priorities.
When time came for a morning tea stop we pulled into a local pub. Inside the air was full of stale tobacco smoke and several locals were clearly settled into a drinking session at the bar. David and I tried to order a couple of coffees, however the proprietor did not seem to take much interest. It was obviously more lucrative serving alcohol than coffee. We waited for several minutes and, when there was still no progress on the coffees, we told him not to bother and walked out the door and back to our bikes.
It was only when we were ready to leave that the proprietor belatedly appeared at the doorway with the two coffees we had ordered so much earlier. By that time we did not want them. I reluctantly paid the price of the coffees but left them untouched on the outside table.
We reached the significant town of Mosonmagyarovar where we stopped for lunch before looking for the railway station. This was another instance where we could make a short train ride and thus arrive in Gyor with more time for exploring this beautiful city. For Maggie the date was also significant as it was her birthday
You might think that it would be simple to ask for directions to the railway station, however this turned out to be anything but the case, especially when you do not speak even one word of the language. The only thing we could do was make a noise like a train and then point in any direction with a confused look. It didn't work. The first person we tried this approach on was apparently the village idiot. He looked just as confused as we were and then tried to tell us that the station was "100 km" away. Not a good start.
We spent about 30 minutes zig zagging back and forth around the town, until I decided to ride in the direction that the GPS was advising. We rode along a busy road for a considerable distance before we finally found the sign indicating the station. As it was, we still had another 2 km to go before we finally discovered it.
The station itself was old and depressing. It was covered in graffiti and peeling paint and looked much like it must have looked in the old soviet days. We were pleased to find Wolfgang waiting with the bike trailer and handed our bikes over to him. It was just as well we did not have to worry about the bikes as, when we boarded the train, we found it packed with hundreds of travellers and mountains of luggage
There was no way we could even have fitted a single bike on board.
The train certainly moved along briskly at 160 kph and we were soon dismounting at Gyor. This was my favourite town from the 2009 ride and I was keen to show Maggie around this place. One of the most refreshing aspects of this place is that there are NO TOURISTS and the streets and quiet and clean. The people seemed a happy lot and almost everyone was eating an icecream.
There is a magnificent central square with an elaborate fountain display. Numerous young children were amusing themselves running in and out of the water spouts. In 2009 we had been here a couple of weeks earlier in the season and the weather was quite hot. The fountain then were proving to be a welcome haven from the heat. Maggie and I enjoyed a coffee and cake to celebrate her birthday before walking back to our hotel.
The hotel we were staying in did not have its own restaurant so arrangements were made for us to eat at a nearby restaurant. This was the only place that insisted on us ordering our meals before we left Australia. I had a list with me of what everyone had ordered as I well knew that no one would remember their selections
The dinner turned out to be a complete circus. Although I had the original list of options that the restaurant had supplied us, the waiter insisted that the numbers were all wrong and tried to just tell us what each person was going to get. There was much shouting of numbers and general confusion all round. It was so chaotic it was actually great fun. We felt like we were in the middle of our own Fawlty Towers episode. We ended up just about rolling on the floor laughing as it was such a disaster. All the while plates of food were being passed back and forth along the table looking for someone to claim them.
Since it was Maggie's birthday, someone told the waiter that it was a special occasion. Normally you might expect a small cake or something similar, so you could imagine our surprise when the waiter reappeared with an unripe peach on a plate and presented it to the birthday girl. It was completely inedible, but we thought it might be some sort of tradition in Hungary so took it in good humour.
When I returned to our own hotel I asked our concierge about the peach, however he was just as confused as we were. He assured me that it was certainly not a tradition that he had ever heard of. This was just the sort of evening it had been. In spite of the massive mix-up it had actually been good fun and the food itself was quite good.
We now have only three more riding days to go till we roll into Budapest.Read more
You might also know this place by the following names:
Rába, Raba, Raab, Raba çayı, Раба, Río Raba, Aravos - Αραβος, Arrabo, رابا, Rio Rába, 拉布河