Days roll into weeks and being absorbed into our own little bulb where silence, peace and no-nonsense makes for a supporting base to create, grow and admire, I find it difficult to leave. Yet I know that out in nature all that I don’t have in my own quiet green cocoon is present. I call it the magic of plant life; a strange realization for the traveler I was.
I find it beyond fascinating to eat that what my own hands have sown, harvested and prepared, without interfering much on the global scale. I know the hardest of things of a kickbike tour in Hungary is the food.
Obviously, I don’t eat in restaurants but even the food in Hungarian groceries is often as off-putting as it can get. Knowing that a lot of people have their own vegetable garden, the often struggling poor looking little stores sell a few limp, spotted vegetables against high prices. To go back to fake tomatoes and the same dull one pot meal each evening makes me question whether it is worth the sacrifice?
There’s only one way to find out: I thought it a good move to take a train and kick back home. Filled with eagerness to have a goal (home) and to get there tackling some hills seems a pretty plan to me. Previous tour made me kick away from Bakony hills because I was led to a hypermarket by my sensitive senses set on, in particular, cookies. Now, I try to get and stay into the Bakony hills.
With a supply of 14 homemade Ottolenghi cookies I feel secured about a frightful amount of sugar and butter intake.
269 kilometer in 10 days makes for an average of 27 kilometer a day. My average speed is about 8 to 9 km/per hour (as I walk a lot).
‘Where’s your acceleration?’ asks an old man with on his head a dented aluminum pot. It is because he is on a moped that I can distinguish his odd head cover as a helmet. His gray chest hair grows abundantly towards his cheeks and wearing a stiff, very blue jeans and black shiny new shoes, he is at the best grocery store of Várvőlgy. I had this little ABC store integrated into my tour plan as it sells the best bread in all of Hungary.
‘There is no acceleration. I told you, it is a roller!’ says another less old man, who is also on a moped. His moped has a large wooden basket attached to the back and I know from my previous visits that they are regulars. Both elderly men are now discussing on what sort of a vehicle I propel myself.
‘A roller has no acceleration, it rolls. Her legs are the acceleration’, tells the less old man to the old man after I explained the less old man what it is I am moving on. The old hairy man doesn’t really get it and mumbles: ‘A roller. Haa… Naaa… Hello hello,’ and off he goes.
Then a younger guy comes over. Having watched me from his van filled with coworkers, he come to praise my vehicle. In my Hungarian I tell him that I came from Szekesfehérvár and that it took me 8 weeks. He is not impressed but politely nods in forged admiration. Of course, one of the correct words should have been nap (days), not hónap.
After my own made sourdough is finished, I must buy awful fluffy white bread, that I fire-roasted to lift it to an edible level. I throw it out when I have fresh bread sprinkled with sea salt and caraway seeds (of course, I keep the cheese).
That surprisingly little ABC shop in Várvőlgy, it has the best bread and most talkative people. Though less talkative, the personnel of the train system in Hungary is remarkable helpful. Going by train to get myself delivered a 269 kilometers further was the biggest stress factor of the whole trip. With two transfers, each a few minutes in between and a train entrance door a meter above the platform, hoisting a loaded kickbike is impossible for me. On each transfer the super thoughtful, supporting staff of MÁV helps me, as do passengers (those Hungarians!) and after kicking out of Szekesfehérvár and a 20 kilometers further I call it a success already. I like being the tourist again!
Laying in my tent I’d forgotten the pack of dogs that yell, cry and bark in the night, in waves they come, as if all alarmed at once by something. The deer bark too but I have come to be accustomed by their significant yells ‘This is my territory, not yours. Go!’ Not accustomed to is the sleep that floats on the surface of thin ice, each moment I fall through, I tip to the shore, never able to reach that deeper sleep. Only because I lay in coffin style, wrapped in a sleeping bag zipped closed.
Worse probably is the tasteless food I’d prepared myself. But I know that the 3th day has me break through all the layers of discomfort and tiredness will push me over it’s boundary. I will do better soon (with some delay the feeling of comfort comes after 5 nights, when I discover not one more day of rain but a whole week)
‘It is open to all civilians,’ explains the youthful soldier, an unpaved road with a beauty matching Chilean tracks. I am called by a soldier overlooking the area from a tower, not strange as I am kicking back and forth, looking at the map on a cellphone while holding a compass and showing a great uncertainty whether to go back or forth. I might even look a bit odd as I walk more than I kick, my feet sore and impressed by the stark beauty of where I am I probably act too enthusiastic.
I am at the Military Defense Area where all kind of war vehicles pass me. Tanks roll in the distance and greenish jeeps filled with greenish clad men pass me. Shattered over a vast area are discarded army vehicles. All bushes and trees seem to be removed and my favorite landscape is either created to practice war or this is Hungarian nature at it’s best.
Whatever it is, I am told not to stray from the road and with precise directions I kick and walk in the most beautiful area I have ever seen in Hungary. I feel I am in South America and I am enjoying big time, looking longingly at a shepherd in the distance, for sure straying far from the road. I wave to greenish clad men in green army jeeps when I stop again to make a photo, hoping I do not appear too happy (or too suspicious that is).
I am in the mountains because the cars passing my camp spot go in low gear, sounding that struggling shifting of mechanism on an uphill. Day time air is warm, nights cool down to 5 degrees and I hear heavy machine guns and a tank rolling above me. I am pretty sure I am out of practice area but as always, I am on an unseen spot.
Wearing new barefoot shoes soon hurts the soles of my feet and I walk a pretty great deal. Being in the hills where I make only an average of 20 kilometers a day, however, I soon realize that it is the experience of barefoot shoes that prevent me from overuse of the ankles. This way I never felt any discomfort and the foot soles soon become accustomed to be in touch with any sort of surface.
I follow a part of the Kéktúra, the national hiking trail from West to East and avoiding all big towns, sometimes detouring by kicking on busier roads than I’d like to but most often I am alone on the route.
Too many photos made the initial post too long to keep you interested, therefore after your self chosen break, the follow up is here in the second part.
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Focussing to be self-sustainable in the countryside: weeds and wild, tours and talent included.
2 replies on “Kickbike listens to calling hills… Prt. I”
I can imagine sore soles with new barefoot shoes, but it’s so good they promote good movements and prevent any serious issues. Will continue reading —>
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Hi Marita, that is true, the barefoot shoes keep you from overdoing kicking. Which they absolutely did this trip, not a single pang of discomfort in the ankles (previous journeys I would always feel a pain at one point).
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