So we made it! We have spent a couple of days partying in Ozd, where Zoltan is from. I am now back in Budapest for the night and taking the opportunity to finish off the blog before I fly home tomorrow.
Here's the story of our last day.
We woke up to rain, the first of the trip. It was only drizzling really but it was a welcome relief to the heat of the previous days.
From Mosonmagyaróvár we calculated 175km to Budapest which would mean a whole days cycling if we were to get there on schedule. The last part Zoltan assuring me would be uphill....joy!
Setting off we made Gyor in good time and stopped for a quick coffee. It wasn't until today that I realised how aggressively hunched over my handlebars I was, a position that was beginning to put a strain on my back. To solve this I flipped my drop handlebars to vertical, effectively allowing me to hold my brake levers as handles. This was something Zoltan had suggested days before, but of course I hadn't listened...
Zoltan was leading again today and set off at what seemed to me to be a really ferocious pace. Earlier we had decided to break the route into 40km stages and so it was with immense relief that I got off my bike at each break.
Zoltan (the machine) was an unstoppable force and patiently led the whole way until reaching Budapest very much started to become a reality within the day.
The last 30km presented us with some terrible roads so our progress slowing a bit with even Zoltan not able to keep up his usual blistering pace. The last 10km very definitely became hilly, coinciding with the sun that decided to show up just in time to make us even hotter.
Just before Budapest we encountered what was probably the steepest hill of the trip. This was never supposed to be easy, I realise that, but this bit felt really hard! Just then an old guy on a rickety bike shot up the hill in front of us, spurring us on for the last steep climb.
Cruising down into Budapest the hard work was finally over and we made our way to Buda Castle, the final destination in our Castle to Castle cycle ride.
So, London to Budapest, cycling over 2000 km (we have accounted for our numerous and varied detours) in 13 days. That is just three days over schedule, thanks in a large part to Geraldine.
I promised I wouldn't, but with all the frustration, hearing Zoltan say "big junk" whenever he meant big junction made things a whole lot better. Forgive me Z.
Now the trip is over I have been trying to figure out how to draw this blog to a fitting end.
Having spent several days in Zoltan's home town, recovering and reflecting, it absolutely feels as if the adventure is over. Lots of people have asked whether we will be cycling back again. Asking Zoltan this morning if he would, he said yes. Me on the other hand, I’m not so sure... give me another week with these Hungarian girls and I will let you know.
I do however know that we both feel a huge sense of achievement and we would strongly advise anyone to take on the adventure of a huge cycle trip. I think the detours and all the problems we’ve encountered on the trip will be what sticks in the mind most and, sorry for the cliché, but it seems to me that all the trials and tribulations and the uphill struggles certainly make the reward of the downhill well worth it and the sense of achievement that much sweeter.
Thank you to everyone who has taken the time for reading our blog. We hope you enjoyed our story.