When we last left Doug he was heading to find camp on the outskirts of Brno. Too tired to press on and find a different camp he bedded down for the night, hoping to get some well-deserved rest.
Here Doug recounts the next leg of his journey…
“I had hoped today would be a rest day, but I’m not happy with the camp at Brno so I decide to take advantage of a break in the rain and packed up with a plan to make a short fast run down to Bratislava in Slovakia.
First I have a couple of errands to run. A few miles from the camp is the Brno Circuit, home of the Czech Moto GP and I fancy a quick look around and watch a few bikes run around the track. Here is as good a place as any to leave a calling card.
A few hours later I’m in Bratislava. Personally I don’t think Slovakia has developed at the same pace as Czech Republic. There are a lot of tired old functional buildings, leftovers of the communist era and while I can see a few modern, high-rise office buildings in another part of town getting to them proves very difficult, via a complicated one way system and multiple road closures. I do manage to find a few gems in the city though.
Nevertheless I don’t linger and push on to my camp in Senec about 30km away. The camp at Senec turns out to be more of a holiday resort than a campsite. At the centre is a large lake with sailing and other water sports. On the southern edges are holiday homes and chalet lets, while to the north is a central strip with bars, shops, restaurants and a few small hotels as well as a grassy area for tents and camper vans. There are plenty of good shady areas and I pitch under two trees just far enough away from the bars for it not to be disturbing at night. The Wi-Fi is ropey, but this will do for a rest spot.
The following day I do practically nothing. In the morning I rearranged my packing a little to better distribute the weight and take a wander into town for an hour or so. In the afternoon I finally get around to replacing indicator that was smashed back in The Hague.”
After his day off, it was time for Doug to make some progress. It was time to move on to his final destination of this section of the route, Szeged, but not before a quick detour through central Budapest.
“Feeling thoroughly refreshed after my day of near zero activity I’m ready to set off early, so early in fact that the camp office was still closed and I could not pay for my second night’s stay, sorry about that Senec.”
“I’ve use the Sat Nav to route me through the back roads towards the Slovakian/ Hungarian border at Esztergom. The route takes me through fairly non-descript agricultural landscapes, broken occasionally by small towns whose only purpose seems to be to service large chemical processing plants sitting on the horizon. As I pass through one town I can’t help but notice every other business is named Formula 1 this, or F1 that, or GP another. I start to think that I must be nearing the Hungarian border and that I have my geography wrong, but no there just happens to be a large Continental Tyre plant just outside the town and I am still at least 45 minutes from the border.
As I move on the landscape changes from open fields to wooded hillsides and the road begins to twist and bend a little more. The road surface is good, well maintained, and I start to enjoy leaning off a little to pull the bike around the bends; but all too soon I have to slow for traffic crossing a narrow bridge, and what the hell is that on the hill over there? Have I just crossed into Hungary?
Finally I have reached Esztergom, an ancient capital and centre of the Roman Catholic church in Hungary. This is the Esztergom Basilica and boy is it one impressive structure.
Check out Doug’s trip so far on the map below. Click on the markers to view his photos.