Tour05 Day 29

A small town, Stary Hradok, on the back roads south of Levice

Today I learned that the shortest route from Levice to Gyor through Struovo is 70 (Levice to Sturovo) + 51 (Sturovo to Komarno) + 39 km (Kumarno to Gyor). That's is just over 100 miles. The route I took two days ago is about 35 km longer. So, instead of 110 miles, I rode more than 120 miles that day. No wonder my butt and feet were so sore! My feet are sore tonight as well.

The Hron river

My route today was the same as the route I used from Gyor to Levice except for the segments nearest Levice and Gyor. Today I rode back roads from Levice south about 25 km before getting on 78, the main road south to Struvo - that saved about 5 km - and I crossed over to Hungary at Komarno and rode highway 1 to Gyor. That saved at least 30 km. I left Levice at 9:30 AM and arrived in Gyor about 6:15 PM, which is about right for seven and a half hours of actual riding, versus the nine hours I spent going the other way.

The back roads south of Levice were nice, but it was dripping a bit so I didn't take many pictures. Riding south on 78 was uneventful, but a little hillier and bumpier than I remembered. By the time I got to Struvo - lunch time - it was actually raining lightly, so I had stopped and put my camera away.

Lunch was slow, relatively expensive, tasty, and small. It took almost and hour because the restaurants were slammed. I first stopped at the hotel - which looks nice, but is under construction - and, after waiting about ten minutes - gave up on it. I moved on to another restaurant, sat in the light rain, and got my meal in about half an hour. By that time the rain had stopped and an hour or two later, it was sunny as I rode to Komarno.

A local rider, many miles from the nearest towm

Riding in Slovakia was, as usual, just fine. I could, and often did just let my mind wander while my body did its think to move the bike down the shoulder of the road. When I crossed over to Hungary, things were not as easy.

At the border, I had to wait, once again, while they did a security check on my passport. The guard said "American" and smiled before handing my passport off to two other people for checking. This wasn't happening to other people at the border, and didn't happen when I entered Hungary a week ago. I suspect Hungary, or Slovakia, is retaliating for US unpleasantness to their citizens. The guards at this border were very friendly and we talked about my bike and touring while I waited, but I definitely felt selected for a delay. and I expect the same delay when I cross back to Sovakia tomorrow.

Highway 1 - a dangerous road for bicycles?

Hungary's highway 1 was schizophrenic with respect to bicycles. when I got on it near the border, it was OK for bicycles and I was relieved. Eight km later, and for the next 22 km, there were 'no bicycles' signs at least every km. Now I'm guessing there was an alternate route I could have take at that point, but I have no way of knowing what it was!

The worse sectinon of Highway 1, 10 km from Gyror

Traffic was terrible by Slovakian standards, but light by Hungarian standards, and the lanes were wide enough that passing me was only a problem when two large vehicles were involved. Not a bad bicycling road by Hungarian standards, but illegal to ride. As usual, I did see a local rider riding the other way.

My biggest concern is what is the effect of my illegal status if I should get hit by a 'legal' vehicle. I noticed that many vehicles were speeding - some motorcyles were doing twice the speed limit - so I assume there is little enforcement of laws on the road, but in the event of an accident, legality might be important.

I'm riding that road again tomorrow, and every time I've been in Hungary I've ridden illegal roads. I have to if I want to tour here! I have to if I want to get to Slovakia from here!

I visit the dentist tomorrow at 11 AM, then, after lunch, I'll ride back to Komarno. I may stay there - it is nice town - or ride north along the Vah river. Komarno has several hotels and lots of tourist stuff since it on the Dunja and a border crossing point. I'll try to find out more about hotels at Kolarovo, the next big town up the Vah before I leave Komarno.

On the way here, I stopped for ice cream in Komarno. Tonight, I went to 'the best ice cream place in Gyor' according to The Lonely Planet. Gyor won that contest, but that, and dentistry, are about the only thing that are really better for me here. Considering that, in part due to my choice of Hotel, it cost me almost three times as much to be here, I look forward to spending the next week in Slovakia. The scenery, the roads, and the people are great there and I don't know of any country that is more bicycle friendly.

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