Monday, 1 August 2011


Uherske Hradiste - Cachtice 48km
Cachtice - Dunajska Streda 81km
Dunajska Streda - Janoshaza 130km
Janoshaza - Focovci 116km
Focovici - Lipoglav 117km
Lipoglav - Zalec 45km
Zalec - Sofja Loka 95km
Sofja Loka - Ziri 28km

from this point I had to make a decision, originally I was to go through Romania, but Honza from Azub had offered to put me in touch with a Marija Kozin who had cycled to Bejing and back through Tibet a few years ago, so if she was OK to see me then it would mean a bit of a detour, well a complete one, but she repled very quickly and all the lights were green, a new direction, so heading a bit more west now towards Slovenia.....but first.

 Bathory's Castle

Just outside the village of Cachtice, after cycling up a steep climb for nearly 40 minutes, dripping with sweat I finally reach the site of this castle, it was worth the effort as usual, with effort their is always reward afterwards.

Some sort of Queen, Vampire...not sure as their were no engish translation, but some interesting pictures....!

What I presume is she became so obsessed with her own beauty, she tried all ways to maintain her youth, so with clever tricks and bottles of vodka she lured men and sometimes wolves into her castle, stuck wooden spikes in them and drank their blood believing their power would keep her young....hmmmm maybe, well I had a great night camping here, peaceful, no Vodka, maidens, banshees wailing or wolves to disturb my colourful dreams, but the rain came the following day, so I stayed and waited it out....almost the whole day, maybe Bathory had found my weakness after all...bloody rain, but finally I managed to set off late evening to gain a bit of ground.

Well, the break in the weather was short lived, not long and it started again, this time more like monsoon.....nothing to do I was already wet and starting to be cold so it was looking like a night in a bus shelter this time....I hate the rain.
after the rain came Hungary

The pterodactyls that seemed to be still present in Hungary, had found great places of already supplied residency, with cable, electric, wifi, 360

Moments of clarity between even more of that bloody wet stuff

Hungarian good life, and it looked good, simple...just my typeofplace, people friendly and curious also

Just inside the border, but very tired and this thatched shelter was too good not to use

A wise come that bloody rain again....aarrrrrrrr
 Well it became another monsoon, and so another waiting game, nearly 30 hours constant heavy rain, it seemed to reallyget to me this time and I got really cold and chilled, so was very happy to be on the road again after it had finished, but all that day I felt no good, shivering and weak, towards the end of the day I was trying to find a good place to stay, but nothing looked good, so started climbing up a hill, one that  just kept going and got steep, about half way my gears started slipping, and I have to get off and push my super tanker of a bike up the steep parts, taking more energy than I already had not got, you start feeling all the options and green lights changing to red, then flashing, then, alarm alarm....all systems shut down in aproximately 7 minutes.
I just manage to reach and area where it levelled out, but in the distance I could see it starts to climb up again, thats it system shut down and I lay down on the grass being horizontal an instant orgasm, I dont care I am finished I thought, I will deal with it all when I can.
My saving Angels...thank you.

A great opportunity to have met such kind, beautiful people, so many moments like these whilst travelling, that do restore my faith in human nature again.
They came out to see if I was OK and finally offers me in, feeds me, shower, I meet her husband who had been to India a few times and started talking and all just clicked into place, really great people, next day we look at bike and the chain is worn out and the lowest gear I use for climbing, so the chain was just riding up over the teeth and slipping, could not believe it just 5000 km, I thought was possible to at least get me there, so he drove me to bike shop , we bought parts and got it going again.
In the morning just as I was setting off, a guy with touring stuff was climbing up the same road, so I went out to give him some support, and told him he needed more weight, not enough bags, he did not laugh, but I caught up with him at the top as he was waiting, another really nice interesting guy, english, touring europe, and so we spent two days cycling together, was really good to have conversation, and exchanged many thoughts, finally he split off to go down to Croatia and I continued to Marija's town.....

Richard....I really enjoyed riding with you those few days, great conversations and shared experiences, hope you continue to enjoy life and discover every day new things.

A great night camping by this lake

I was still not recovering from this chill from the rain, not slept for three nightsnow, all night sweating/shivering, really hoping for improvement soon, but hoping to just survive two days to reach Marija's house then at least I feel I can stop cycling, rest and try to recover properly.
My first riding companion...I look like crap, losing a bit of weight now.

Someone told us about a place not far away along this road we were heading that made these famous fresh doughnuts...well with appetites like elephants we smelt them 5 km in advance....they were amazing.

Very close to Marija's house now, so my spirits are better, seemed like something was really making things difficult along this part of the journey, but beautifull scenery, mountains, hills, space, nature...hmmmmmm.
Sofja Loka
Marija Kozin, and my 'super tanker'
 ...Finally I get to meet Marija. I arrived in her town pretty drained after days of suffering with this fever that developed from riding in the rain the week before, I could feel my body clock counting down to zero, so all I was able to do before all my sytems shut down for the night was to leave a message to say I was here and in the next five minutes I would probably be alseep on a bench outside the bus station, so please meet me and give me a kick....!
I slept a bit, just enough to function again, much to the amusement of people around me and finally Marija came speeding up on her bike with energy I wish I had 10 percent of....still the power of the Hymalays present in those legs of hers I guess.
A great opportunity to have met her and for her to be patient enough to talk through all the thousands of kilometers with me that she had experienced, my mouth was bottle necked with many questions, but finally I think my hunger for answers was satisfied and surely I will be taking some of her experience with me, certainly a little less weight to carry after comparing what she travelled with and inspired me to re evaluate a few luxuries that I was carrying, so a big thank you Marija for your time, patience, especially as I was in such bad condition, and not as entertaining as I would have liked to have been.
Now after travelling myself 6000km and experiencing just a small part of what is to come, some problems, a few mountains and big climbs. I appreciate more each day what a huge journey Marija had made, physically and spiritually, alone, which I am already finding hard some days, and especially being a female, a very brave, strong person to have crossed some very remote and harsh climates. Well done Marija, and thank you so much for your time, advice and inspiration, hope you keep all the good parts of your journey alive and keep your spirits high....keep going, we are all travelling every day so we have to make the most of every second.

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