Our ride today was a little more manageable at 77km and took us to Szecseny, just on the other side of the border in Hungary.
The first part of the trip relatively flat (thankfully) and took us on route 526 out of Hrinova. We were surprised to see a train passing not far out of town with heaps of tanks on it (no clues where they were coming from or going to).
The route turns off and becomes a quieter at Podkrivan – we had a bit of an uphill climb through a rural area, but no too bad compared to the previous day. There was not much traffic at all on this road and it was pleasant cycling.
We took a detour from the 526 road onto a little farm road to the left, which was very potholed, with green fields on either sides dotted with spring flowers and rolling hills all around.
When we got to Abelova, we saw some evidence of real poverty – a run down building with the ground floor empty and people living above – and ill kept looking kids playing outside. The road out of town was just as bad as the road in – even worse as it had a 16 degree down gradient.
Our route then took us through Sula, Hor. Strehova, Dolna Strehova, Mula, Nógrádszakál. I was interested to see a storks nesting on top of a power pole in one of the towns just before the border. At first I thought it was an ornament, as it was standing so still. Then at the next town I saw three in one street.
It was a hot Saturday afternoon and we saw a number of people lying around outside their houses in the sun as Kris looked for a border crossing. We found ourselves going through a slum area near the river and a small boy began to throw stones at us but quickly backed of when Kris reacted. We didn’t hang around there long.
Kris found a border crossing at Nógrádszakáli that was basically a footbridge with a muddy track through a paddock on the other side. When we reached the other side we exchanged a few words with our first Hungarian family – the father was shirtless and was slim and sinewy, the mother had teeth missing in the front of her mouth, a small girl was carrying a young kitten and the little toddler was cute and wide eyed. They were very good natured and excited to exchange a few words in English. From there it was only around 10km ride to our destination town of Szecseny.
Szecseny was was also buzzing with celebrations when we arrived, evidently “childrens day”. It felt like a friendly town, with some well kept historical buildings and a small castle. A couple from Budapest helped us find out hotel by looking it up on their smart phone. Our accommodation was a bit on the outskirts of town and hard to spot (no signage) – but a nice room and good value. We headed back into town thinking we could have something to eat and drink – however none of the pubs or cafes serving proper food were open. So we bought some food from the supermarket, had an ice cream and watched part of the folk dancing display.