This was a lovely day’s cycling across the Great Plain. We are feeling pleased with ourselves – having clocked 60 miles for the second day in a row. We’re flying!
Kecskemet turned out to be a lovely small town. Yesterday evening we went out to find food and found that the town hall was doing a roaring trade in weddings. In addition, there was a beer festival going on – with stalls all over the square. Drunk people in suits – just like Ripon on race days. We felt very much at home.
The place we stayed was also brilliant – Fabian Panzio. A series of ‘garden rooms’ round a small, central courtyard garden. And lovely people. Highly recommended if you are passing through Kecskemet.
So to today’s cycling. The Great Plain turns out to be quite cycle friendly – with cycle lanes in many of the towns. The fields were lush and full of vines, tomatoes, peppers, squashes, sunflowers and so on. This is very fertile country. It is also much more prosperous than the little plain before Budapest. Here is a shot of a typical village street.
Just before lunch we came to a bridge over the Tisza (the second largest river in Hungary). This was a single-track, floating, wooden pontoon bridge and, because the water was low, we had to ride down a steep ramp onto the bridge and back up again.
Then an unexpected bonus. Instead of the expected section of main road, there was a brand new, European-funded, flood dyke with a cycle track along the top. We were able to follow this for about 4 miles to the next town. Excellent. Here there was another remarkable sight. The road had a cycle path painted in yellow along the side of the main carriageway (i.e. not separated entirely from the traffic). It was a residential area with street parking. But instead of parking by the kerb and blocking the cycleway, the cars were parked 8 feet out – part blocking the road and leaving the cycle lane clear. I often bend the wing mirrors of cars parked in bike lanes – but I couldn’t think of anything constructive to do to here indicate my approval. Give the car a hug? Leave a note for the owner?
And then the last leg. This was longer than would have been ideal because of the lack of accommodation where we wanted it – but at least it will be a shorter ride tomorrow. In this final stage the Great Plain became even flatter, and the roads straighter.
Hungary is proud of its thermal springs, many of which are spa resorts. We had already stayed at one in Komorom, and this is another, at Oroshaza. The advantage for us is the presence of tourist-orientated hotels – and tonight’s is excellent. Gyula tomorrow.
Helen’s track of the day: Dire Straits, Your Latest Trick, with Knopfler’s miserable lyrics rescued by the sax solo of the incomparable Michael Brecker. Just what is needed at the end of a long day.