Staying with friends of friends in Budapest we were shown around the city to drink under the stars in one of the many lively beer gardens. Arriving in a new city can be a little tense, bustling car and pot hole filled streets can frey the nerves after riding in the quiet countryside. Not to worry when you have lovely company to show you around and a warm shower.
This Hungarian capital provided spectacular night riding sights and before taking to the roads the following day we came across a photography exhibition and an indoor bustling market place that was so outstanding it resulted in extreme salivation on our behalf. Thankyou Sofi and Andrew for you hospitality we hope to return and continue some polictical debates with you guys!! One thing is for sure, the Hungarians are a passionate bunch.
We are following the Eurovelo 6 which runs all the way to the black sea and while the signage is large and bright, the lack of signs proved exiting Budapest a challenge. Not to worry though, becuase once we found the path we were met with an even tougher task of actually navigating this so called "path" ***see below picture of terrain.***
The terrain changed from gravel, tarmac, grass, dirt, you name it, we rode it. Finishing up at a small town that provided thermal baths and pools near the campsite, what a bonus! The mucles soaked it up and now that we are further south the temperatures are starting to soar reaching 38+ and we find ourselves devouring liter after liter of water, so this special thermal treat prepared us for the next day of 90km on the bike.
Cycling along these Hungarian planes, taking diversions through small country towns we felt as though we could be riding somewhere in Queensland as the post-war looking homes and heat gave an instant familiarisation. Dusty small towns where a cold pepsi was in order and buildings looked like last centuries hot spot seemed to be a trend.
As we rode into a slightly larger town we spotted a SPAR and this is how the converstation went;
Curtis - Floss we should get some food for dinner.
Cara - Good idea, and stuff for breakfast tomorrow.
Curtis - Why is the lady from the SPAR waving at us.
Cara - Um I think she's telling us its closed.
Curtis - But its Friday and its only 4pm.
Cara - Is it Friday?
Curtis - Yes, um maybe, wait what day did we leave Budapest.
Cara - I don't know.
Curtis - Me neither, could it be Saturday?
Cara - This is possible. **Looking at ipod** Yes its Saturday and the only shop just closed and we have no food and tomorrow is Sunday (nothing is open in contryside europe on a sunday) and we're pretty much stuffed.
So throwing caution to the wind we rode on into the corn feilds and hoped for the best. The best came along in the shape of a Garlic Festival and a man named Atila.
Picture this.... we are walking around a friendly small town Garlic Festival when a man jumps in front of me and says "where are you from?" and I say "Australia" and he says "lets drink?" and I say "Yes, yes please". Turns out the festival has many tents all are groups of friends or families and they cook their "signature" dish (the only rule being it has to include garlic) and a panel of judges vote the best dish and this is followed by lots of eating, drinking and dancing. The contest is taken very seriously, and according to our new Hungarian friend Gabrielle, bragging rights go on for years to come for the successful families.
This year the winning dish was rabbit wrapped in cabbage, although we arrived late so we only got to try a pork stew dish and the traditional langos - both were delish and helped line the stomach for the onslaught of paprika shnapps and a cocktail (wine + beer + grapefruit juice).
Special mention has to be made about this bloke. Not sure of his name, but 'street tuff' will suffice at this stage. Whilst the stew was sensational his true skills were yet to be revealed. Judging a book by its cover, he seems the type of bloke to bite you over the last beer. Quite the opposite, as his friendly nature encouraged us to the dance floor where he became the ' Rennegade of Funk'. Within seconds he had many women spinning and smiling with delight as he controlled the floor. Curtis stood back, jaw on the floor with amazement, and admiration. I in the meantime got the full leg slapping show and boy did he have exceptional toe pointing skills. At one stage he yelled at me as I did the hands-up-in-the-air-click-shuffle-twosteps-click combo "luuvvv yooouuuuuu" to which I replied "Just keep ya shoes on buddy boy". I mean the man couldn't speak a lick of english yet knew those two words - I saw right through this player.
Leaving the festival some time in the morning we were presented with our very own balls of locally grown garlic that hung proudly around our handlebars. Off we went with Atila to his house.....