I saw lots of storks in the small towns I rode though this morning
Why come to Slovakia? Well, aside from the fact that it has some of the best bicycling in Europe, my best reason is to drink the beer. After a long day riding from Hungary to Slovakia, I'm sitting in my hotel's dining room, sipping a Zlaty Bazant, my favorite beer. I've been drinking lots of good beers since I've been in eastern Europe, but this is the best.
I decided last night that I'd head north on small roads this morning, taking a back roads route to the border. I rode towards the Ukraine border for about 20 km, then headed more east to reach the Slovakian border this afternoon. After I crossed the (non) border, I had to ride about 20 km north to get to a hotel in Trebisov. I'm really glad that Trebisov has a hotel because my legs, after four hard days in a row, were definitely complaining about the hills I had to climb going north from the border. Tonight I'm having a hard time staying awake while creating this web page.
I gave up and crashed abut 8 PM. I woke up again a few hours later and finished creating this page while giving my digestive system some time to work on digesting supper. The beer was great but the rest of the meal was very bad. So bad that I shouldn't have eaten it, and, being very hungry, I ate all of it...
I never found a place to change money in Hungary, so I was limited in what I had to eat. Last nights excellent restaurant took my 10 E bill and gave me 1 E worth of Hungarian money. I also had another, almost 1 E, in left over Forint change. I used most of that money to buy some bread and yogurt in a small town on my way north this morning. I didn't find any restaurant willing to take Euros or Visa today. When I got to Slovakia, I went to a fancy service station and bought food using my credit card. When I got to this hotel, I was very hungry. Since I could charge supper to my room, I didn't have to deal with the currency problem.
Some of todays pavement in Hungary could pass for Romainian
Note the foothills ahead
My ride today was pleasant, if sometimes bumpy. Northeastern Hungary is flat agricultural land and the villages and small towns I rode through were prosperous. I could see the cultural and architectural connections with northwestern Romainia which was, until after WWI, part of Hungary. After I left to Kisvarda - the place where I hoped to find lunch - the nature of the land changed and the population density was much lower. I was riding though open country with big fields and fewer trees and villages. WInd was more of a problem, but it was mostly a crosswind in Hungary - which became a head wind in Slovakia - that kept me cool and only slowed me down a little.
Much more open country with longer distances - 20+ km - between villages
After I left Sarospatak, I was riding on an expressway with moderate traffic. The route I used to get to Sarospatak ends at a major road coming from the big cities of eastern Hungary. It wasn't nearly as much fun to ride as the small roads, but I was only on it for 10 km or so. Then it was urban riding through Satoraljaujhely and finally a border crossing station that was deserted. I'm in the EU now so borders are open.
Coming into the last town in Hungary - Satoraljaujhely
That nice bike path went most of the way to the border
I didn't use it
On the other side of the border was nothing except the OMV service station where I got my very late - 4 PM - lunch and some good routing advice. I was relieved to find that the nearest place to stay was only 20 km away. I really have been pushing hard for the last few days and I could tell I was running out the ability to push my body. That 20 km would have been easier without the several ridges I had to ride over, but I still got to Trebisov about 5:30 and, after riding all the way through the city without finding the promised hotel, asked some other people for help and found it more than halfway back. I'd missed it because its sign faces north and because there is major construction - a very large hole being dug for what looks like the foundation of a new building - just north of it. Digging started again at 6 AM this morning.
This is the start of the largest ridge
It goes over that ridge, goes down, and then climbs over a much bigger ridge
Then there is a nice long down hill...