Wednesday 3 June – Heatwave on the Danube

Today was our shortest ride yet, only 56km. We are slowing down a bit to savour this journey along the Danube.

We crossed over the river into Slovakia again this morning, travelling back on the north of the Danube. We crossed at an attractive old bridge and admired the view of Estergom from across the river.

leavingbridge    leaving

The first part of the journey took us a bit away from the river, over flat fields fringed with poppies. There were also some fields that were just poppy’s, an amazing red display.

poppies

We bought watermelon at a roadside shop – which was wonderfully refreshing in the oppressive heat. They agreed to sell us half a watermelon and cut that into quarters for us, and we managed the rest with Kris’s pocket knife.

There were a few other cycle tourists, all coming the other way (it seems most people go from Germany or Vienna to Budapest and then take a train back).

The last stretch of the ride was around ten km along the stop bank – it was lovely riding side by side without any traffic, but also very hot (no shade).

A point of interest along this section was the ruins of an old Roman fort (called Celemantia) – clearly visible from the cycle path with an information board (unfortunately not in English). You can make out parts of the main gate from the ruins.

ruins1  ruins2

When we came off the stopbank near Komarno (at around midday) we saw a pub with people sitting outside in the shade and stopped for a drink. The heat was stifling. When it gets this hot many of the men here take their shirts off to cool down and two of the men were sitting shirtless. They also had a (cute) dog with them.

escapingheat

We crossed a bridge and found the Komarno town centre (still on Slovakian side). As we rode in looking for accommodation, the proprietor of the Hubert Varga Pension and Restaurant saw us and ran out to offer us a room. We were drawn in and the room is great value for money – larger than the standard hotel room with a little sofa, fridge, kettle and computer. Kris didn’t like all the stuffed animals hanging on the stairs and passageway (there is a large stuffed hare just outside our door) – but I would recommend the place for value and customer service. The restaurant specialises in venison and the owner seems to have a passion for hunting. There is also a zebra skin on the stairwell with a photo of him and freshly shot zebra!

pension

We had plenty of time looking around Komarno, which is actually two towns spanning the Danube – one in Slovakia and one in Hungary. The Slovakian side is much prettier. 

We went to a large Teskos on the Hungarian to try to spend our remaining Hungarian currency – Kris got a replacement bike helmet and I got some replacement shoes (my old shoes were pinching my toes). We had a couple of ice creams and some beer at a pub with spray misters outside for the heat. We finally returned to our pension and had a meal in the restaurant (not venison), which was very hearty and good.

It is incredibly hot into the evening, only beginning to cool down after 10pm.

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