A lovely slow start to the day at the creek in Slovakia. I'm not sure where I am but who cares. I do an amazing thing this morning. Although the path is clearer the other way I choose to go back through the overgrown way (back the way I came), I'm learning you see, although the urge to not do it was very strong. I leave the candle for the next visitor and go in search of water as I have none, and as beautiful as the creek is I'm not sure I want any of its watery delights that much.
10k of cycling in the sun finds a big part of the dam where people work and a small hotdog stand. I order a hotdog for 60c and go without the ketchup at 30c. Fill up with water and although 09:30 I try one of the dark beers advertsied on a poster. It turns out to be kola. Onwards on the path and following the dam before the river starts to hug farmland again. The concrete path is not a patch on the German and Ausrian paths but perfectly good all the same, and still a marked improvement on most of the paths I've been on at home. I decide to try and keep up 20kph for an hour. This will leave me having done 50k by 12 lunchtime. After 7k the path starts to get worse until it is loose stones over mud. It's like trying to cycle up a gravel driveway at times. I try various parts of the path, the verge, the lower path, all sorts to try and keep the speed up. It's hard work but I'm determined to try and make 50k by 12. I fail by 2 minutes and the gravel path is still doing its worst to finish me off, a mirage ahead looks like something approaching. Apart from the odd car earlier and the hotdog stand I have seen no people in 50k. I wave the approaching bicyclist down keen to find out how long the gravel goes on for. It's two German lads who have come from Budapest. They have front suspension mountain bikes so it's a bit easier for them, they also have no luggage on the front wheel. They tell me it's only for another 4km which makes me feel a bit better as I tell them its for another 10km in their direction. When I tell them about the quest their eyes light up and they ask if they can interview me for a film they are making of their journey. I oblige and before you know it I'm off again. Not much further up the path I spy a deserted beach; it feels like the sea with small waves lapping on the shore. I descend from my track down to the lower level of the river bank. The bank has been strengthened with large rocks and I have to haul the bike over the rocks to get it down to the sandy beach below. Although gently overcast it's about 26 degrees and the river bend each way is candy for a gonzo historian's eye. I know exactly what I'm going to do. Sarong laid out for a towel, pasta cooking. Do washing of clothes in river, lay out to dry on rocks. Back in for a skinny dip in the Danube then eat dinner and fall asleep naked on the beach for an hour or two. The groggy head on waking takes quite a while to shake and I'm so tempted to put the tent up and stay here for the rest of the day. But Buda calls and I literately drag the bike through the soft sand back up the rocks with clothes drying in the wind tied to the bike. By this time I have decided to put some clothes back on by the way :) 10k more and I'm in Kuormo. I stop at a deserted beer hall and try out my Czech, which I have been wanting to do so much but had no one to do it with. "Ahoy!" I shout as I enter the bar. Ahoy is hello, how fantastic. A massive beer and a bit of blog later and I'm back on the quest and enter the town in search of a chocolate milk. I come out on a bridge and over the bridge is Hungary. I change my remaining Euros for Hungarian Florints and head over the water. Police are checking cars but they are not interested in me. What do I find as I land on Hungarian soil? A nice European flag to take a picture under with Magayar or Hungary on it?....NO! A bloody gigantic Tesco. What a downer. I go in to buy a map and a milkshake. The staff are miserable, the queues are long and the lights are bright. It's soul destroying and I vow to never visit a Tesco on the trip again. A chat with a local on a bike as old as him sees me on the right track to Tata where I intend to find a camp for the night. Just as I enter the town I spy three guys in what looks like hunting gear walking down an empty canal. Turns out they are not hunters, they are Military and this town is basically a military town. I think I'd best keep on pedalling rather than face an interesting wake up call. Next on form Tata is Tatbanya. In-between the two mcwifi rears its head and I stop off for a charge. Mistake. Before I know it the light has gone and I find it difficult to find a camp. Never do this again silly boy. I head down a path that points to Viking Rock Club. I then come off the path and onto some disused industrial park over grown with weeds. It's a dumping ground and I end up putting the tent up on a pile of builders' rubble. I cut my hand on a smashed building block and bleed everywhere. I lose another tent peg and have to tie the end of the tent to a tree to make it stand up. The tent is pathetic. I crawl in, don't bother getting undressed and dream of the 1 minute cycle to McD in the morning.