Monday, August 02, 2010

Rural Hungary

This is hopefully going to go down as the worst leg of my trip. I spent entirely too much time on the Internet trying to find out if and when I was going home for my dad's memorial. I had one foot at home and one foot here in Europe. I just wasn't able to focus on either. I was paralyzed by less that ideal choices and a lack of information. I craved the days in the Austrian countryside where all I had to do is ride. On my push to get to Budapest to maybe catch a flight, I did 101km and 126km days. When I woke up on the third day, it was raining and my throat was sore. However, I also found out the memorial was pushed back, which temporarily relieved me, but also added a lot of complications for flying out later.

15th century benches at the castle turned agricultural college in Mosonmagyaróvár.

What is there to note about this leg of the trip? I made a smart decision. I was about to do a huge day, but on a whim pulled up short. I just didn't have any need to rush along even though I was only mildly interested in what I was seeing. That put me in a hotel and a bed that was really nice to sleep in. I might be getting smarter at this. I was trying to beat a tractor. It won. Who knew tractors went faster than 30k?


What is wrong with this picture? I think the sun flowers are on strike.

While riding through the rural towns, I saw a ton of people, old and young, men and women, doing their yard work in their bikinis. It was really hot so it should not be any different than the beach, but it is a little different since they show a bit more in their bathing suits, no matter the body type. I had to strongly resist the urge to take a picture to protect your eyes.

I have no idea what this was about, but it was great.

They seemed to have so much yard work because most of them have vegetable and fruit gardens. In the US, this seems to a middle class trend to get back to the earth and back to green. However, in the Hungary it seems to be the working class who is leading the way. Actually, they never left. They have always done it that way. The one predominant characteristic I felt while riding to Budapest was humble living. I liked it. Of the two castles that I stopped by, one was now a factory and the other was an agricultural university.

A national theater or a ski jump in Gyor.

Szechenyi ter, the city center in Gyor.

Recreating by the Mosoni-Duno river in Gyor.

While biking the wrong way one day, I passed two old French guys. They were doing the Danube river trail over two summers. They were carrying almost no gear. I was jealous. They were committed to spending every night in a hotel and eating every meal in a restaurant. I cannot imagine how much easier the biking would be if I prescribed to that same attitude. I have been in a hotel or hostel for seven nights straight, including the Budapest nights, and it is definitely making me soft. I'm not sure I am looking forward to getting in my tent again, but I know I'll love it once I am out there. Tonight should be that night.

Just like in Austria, I love the old with the new, the horse and the satellite dish.

My time in Hungary started to turn around when I got a Thai massage and then spent a couple hours chatting up the two out of four Thai women in town. I cannot imagine living in a town where only 3 other people speak my language. Their work requires them to only know the basics to talk to their clients, but they are learning by making their clients, like me, practice with them. Anyway, while talking they found out about my shoulder and the two of them both went to work on it at the same time. I do not think I have ever experienced more pain in my life. My whole body was tingling and I was light headed from the pain. When they were done, it did move a bit more, but that might have been the adrenaline talking, just like when I was playing ultimate.

The abbey at Esztergom.

On Semester at Sea, I was young and brazen. I went up and talked to all types of strangers. I have great photographs of people. I have not done that this trip. I have taken a step back. Maybe, I am not fearless. Maybe, I am more respectful. I don't know. I forced myself to break the bubble for the first time in Hungary. This might be one of my favorite photographs so far.

One of many old Hungarian men I met on the trail.


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