Budapest to Byzantium, Days 1,2 and 3

So 1 year on and I’m back on the bike. The final part of, at least for now, my journey across Europe. I made a challenge to myself 2.5 years ago i would cycle across all of Europe on the EV6 and this will be the completion of that, and then some.

Writing this doesn’t come easy to me, and as I’ve said before, this is more for me (and Mum) than anyone else -it especailly doesn’t come easy here (Eastern Europe) where mobile data, and wifi, are scarce.

The plan this tme round is to cycle from Budapest, where I finshed last time, to Istanbul, which, if I do, will be bloody amazing, as even after 3 days i am knackered. There is no cycling infrastructure here – or at the very least – it is rubbbish (as you will see!).

I’m writing this at the end of day 3, as I said, and already I have covered 270 miles. Tough tough miles. .. It’s a weird one this year, as opposed to a holiday, it’s a kind of trial run as to whether I could hack a ’round the world’ pedal. My plan, for life,as it stands, is to save for a few years and then cycle the world on a pedalling sabatical – possible? yes. Doable? yes. Could I? not sure.

And so to day 1. Budapest to Szeldi:

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So this time, I have my mate Matt, and his own flavour of chaos, with me for the entire trip. Which I am really happy about. this time the countries travelled through are rumoured to have wild dogs, bad roads, snakes, and bears…. I hate snakes – and will feed Matt to the bears, no qualms.

So on Sunday we set off on an 80 Mile journey from Budapest to Szeldi – should say here, we also hvae a mad Italian, Luca, with us, for the first week:

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Luca, will bring something completely different to the group. for a start off, he doesn’t really cycle, and as such has done amazing so far. Anyway, back to Hungary. Was a tough first day, they always have been, and a real slog. Sometimes 80 miles can feel like 40 and sometimes 120 – on Sunday it was the latter!!

Some pics of Sundays journey:

i had planned a campsite – however, Dr google had baadly let me down as none were open – we got to Szeldi at half 7 and panicked. Luckily an amzing chap let us set up camp in the back garden of his shop. OK – so no hot water, etc etc – but I am training for becoming feral, and so, out of the 3 of us, I was happpy.

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Day 2: Szeldi to Gagic (Croatia)

Day 2, and country 2. Another hard day in the saddle.  We managed 85 miles today, and pressed on into Croatia. Shoud apologise here, as, writing this at midnight, a day later, have really no energy, or recollection what happened. One thing that did though, was the border, one i was most worried about after recent geopolitical issues around the ‘migrant crisis’. Hungary has closed its borders… and built a masi;ve fence:

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However it seems it is much worse coming the ‘other’ way, as we passed easy:

It certainly appears that the aborent way Europe is dealing with this crisis is effective – as I saw no sign at all of any issues around the border. As the day ended and we had no more light – we ended up staying in a ‘zimmer’, a kind of air bnb misus the ‘air’..> we rocked up to a farmhouse, and they put us up, to the tune of 75 euro, but dinner and breaakfast were provided:

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Other pictures of day 2:

And to today, day 3. a mega 105 mile day, and another country – Serbia. Today we rode to Novi Sad.

What to say… The journey through Croatia and into Serbia today was long, awesome (in a cycling way, at least for me) and harrowing.

Todays journey took us through Vukovar, a  town destroyed in the Balkans war, and the symptoms remain. almost every building, and I mean family home, has bullet holes in it. The journey through Croatia, has alrady been annotated by signs for graveyard after graveyard, but Vukovar, well it still wears it’s sores openly.

No picture could tell how shocking it is to cycle past thousands of people homes which literaly still have bullet holes in them. These people were  in the midst of a horific war, with people, and tanks, shooting from, and bombing, there houses. Indeed, they themselves, were….

We made it to the border with Serbia – the Danube. And crossed the rather wierd bridge that spans the EU and, in this case, a European no grata country.

The border guards were idiots, and I think it is fair to say, less than pleasant to the British amongst us – maybe fair enough… I think not. We got in/out, obvs, and made our way, on awful roads to Novi Sad. Tomorrow, we hit Belgrade. More pics of today:

The ride to Novi Sad

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