Day 38: Pecs to Morahalom, Hungary

The sun is on the tree tops, i.e. setting, and I have 19 km to go

It was a strange long/short day with a late start - almost 11 AM because I needed to finish some internet things, and the internet cafe didn't open till 10 AM - and a late finish - I stopped after sundown, just after I had removed my camera and fitted my headlight, at the first place I could stop in 50 miles.

I took back roads today, which ended up adding 20 miles to my day and letting me meet two French women who have been on the road for three years. They started in Africa, and were mostly in Asia. Now they are going home to France to work for a few months "so we can get back to Asia!" They were in Bejing for the SARS epidemic and have most recently ridden through Bulgaria and Romania on their way to Hungary. It was great, and humbling since I think myself as a real tourist, but I've done nothing in comparison to these women, to meet them.

Pecs, in the morning

Riding Highway 57 to Mohacs

The ferry across the Danube

I started out today heading for Mohacs, a town on the Danube. Riding, once I got out of Pecs, was good. I rode to highway 57 from Pecs, the rode highway 57 to near Mohacs. Then I rode into Mohacs to get some cash and to have lunch. That was about 30 miles of riding, with some hills. After lunch, I rode to the river to take the ferry so that I could continue east on back roads.

My first Hungarian ferry experience was not good. I rode up as the ferry was coming in. I waited till it had unloaded and headed down the ramp. The man directing traffic on the ferry shoo'ed me away. They loaded a single truck, carrying gasoline I think, and went back across the river. 15 minutes later they came back. On these ferries, bikes load last. When they finally let me try to load, I discovered that I had to go buy tickets instead of paying the folks on the ferries. Of course the ferry left before I could get back. 15 minutes later, it came back. I went to get on and was shoo'ed away again. The ferry crew took a half an hour break while I watched the Danube. Finally, an hour after I got to the ferry, I was allowed to load for the five minute trip across the river.

The backroads near where I met the French tourists

Counting down the Kilometers to Szeged

My long shadow on Highway 55 near sundown

Once I was on the other side, I rode east following small roads. My mapping software had a minimum distance route that I followed, but the roads turned out not to match the map, and I ended up riding 20 miles more than I should have. I reached highway 55, which runs to Szeged, in Baja at 6 PM. I had ridden 60 miles, 30 miles on those backroads, and I still had 100 km to go. Thanks to my late start and the ferry delay, I could not make Szeged before dark. There isn't much in the 100 km between Szeged and Baja, but I went for it anyway. Riding was great, so I figured I could make it, if I had to, in less than four hours. Two and a half hours, and 75 or 80 km later, just after I had mounted my light, I found a place to stay. That riding was some of the best riding of the day, but it was also dangerous riding around sundown. Hungarians, although they are better here than in the north, tend to pass rather casually. With the sun literally at my back, I was in danger of being passed into by an oncoming car. That happen once, but I was able to get off the road and give the driver a dirty look as she passed me in my lane. When it was really getting dark, I worried that my headlight was not going to be enough to keep people from passing into me. Fortunately, I didn't get to find out.

An interesting sideview on the ride near dusk: There were a lot of pullover places between the towns on 55. When I rode through, many of them had good looking women wearing tight clothing and high heels. Hmm, a red light district on the highway! I've heard of such things, but never seen one before. Last night in my hotel, I also saw a very attractive woman, who was dressed seductively, but who looked a little too dressed, or should a I say packaged to be undressed. I wondered if she was a working girl. After seeing the ones along the road, I think she was. I must say they have good looking prostitutes in southern Hungary!

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