Ribbed, for your displeasure.

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Flag of Hungary  ,
Monday, October 24, 2011

What a day. We started out in a charmless village at the bottom of the Czech republic, the kind of town that neither they nor Slovakia really wanted but the Czech republic lost the coin toss. It was grey and ugly and framed with rusty iron pipes and faces that haven't smiled in many years. There was nothing on the streets but bars and signs of industry and not much else. This is where people go to work, not to have fun, not to have families and not to live.

We passed through and outwards and had our first GPS glitch. Not me, mine is fucked, Marcin this time with his updated maps. We came to a small roundabout and the sign showed 2 turnoffs but there was only one and the satnav couldn’t make sense of it. I’d like to assume it was a new road but more likely it was an Eastern European problem i’ve heard so much about.

The roads out of the Czech republic were bordering on the appalling. Their version of a motorway was rougher than a chopping block and had the dubious pleasure of being beset with freezing fog. When we started out we were clocking around 4 degrees and it showed. We stopped in town to get a picture in front of the only nice building we could find. Instantly a 12 year old police officer told us off for riding on the pavement. To be honest it was a bit weird being told off by a 4 foot tall girl who weighed less than some of my more ambitious morning shits and we didn’t take it too seriously. In fact I got her to take a picture for us and she seemed to forget she had a job to do, in fact it wasn’t the kind of town where anything really mattered. So we motored on through the freezing fog until we found a petrol station and gassed up ready for the journey ahead. My fuelling was playing up still, the fuel isn’t being sucked from the tank. A quick check on the fuel tube showed it had started to melt so the hose is now removed and the fuel system is now awash with redex which should repair all my woes.

So we powered on and the weather seemed to be mostly on our side. We had a few showers along the way but nothing I would call rain. We crossed into Slovakia and stopped for lunch because Marcin eats like a horse. Slovakia, or at least Bratislava was very tidy, friendly and cheap for the most part. We stopped for pictures and got moved on by a fat secret police officer. It must be the day for it.

Lunch was served up in a little cafe. Marcin ordered something with meat, I asked about vegetarian options and was told I could have chips. Then the chef came out and offered to bake me a broccoli gratin which turned out to be excellent and around half the price you’d pay elsewhere in Europe. Impressed. So we motored on and finally reached the Hugarian border. This time it’s a proper border with security and everything... except people so we just drove on through.

Then the winds kicked up and they kicked up hard. We were managing an average of 75 and that dropped down to 65 and then the rains hit us and hit us hard and this time it wasn’t a shower it was a judgement from god, probably for this blog. My speed dropped and dropped until I lost marcin altogether. I just coulnd’t keep the pace with the wind sheer which catches my little bike hard and my glasses fog up instantly from the cold. He waited for me in a petrol station, I had a feeling he would so I caught sight of him and he caught me up back on the road. Finally we got into Budapest where I found I had a busted tail light and no fuel again. My consumption is way up, probably due to the pace and the blocked fuel pipe which had caved in on itself and had closed off the breathing tube. We got some more food and then headed for a hotel we had found on the internet. The hotel didn’t have the cheap room we had hoped for but was cheap enough and had parking off the main road, ideal for our bikes. My blown tail light, as suspected was caused by a dodgy cheap HID unit which had popped a fuse. In the morning I will shut off the full beam switch and replace the fuse. I want to swap out the fuel line too and then normal service should be resumed. Weird thing today... the place we stopped for lunch and the place we stopped for dinner were hundreds of miles apart in different countries but had the same salt-shaker. Even more weird, tonight’s hotel and last night’s have the same toilet paper. Strange.

So... now we’re in Budapest. It’s wet and cold but a remarkable beautiful city.. Everywhere you turn is another pristine example of real culture and history. Hopefully if time allows we’re going to get some snaps in daylight. Tomorrow is meant to offer better weather so I hope that holds. I would love to get some shots of this city.

So that was our day. No social, political observation because my battery is dying and I’m having to blog in the only place in the hotel with wi fi... the bar.
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