Country hopping & little pigs …

Since leaving Sopron on Sunday morning we have added another 174 miles to our bike tour. Sopran is a fine town with a ancient history dating back to Roman times with some of the old wall still visible. The town escaped the devastation wreaked on much of Hungary over the centuries. A graphic display on one of the old walls depicts the the awful conditions endured by the people of Hungary by the arbitrary drawing of the the iron curtain after the second world war, and sheer joy as the fences were torn down in 1989.

Sopran, Hungary

The route we followed meandered between Hungary and Austria, mostly through quiet rural, wine growing areas, interspersed with little villages and small towns such as Kozeg where we paused for our lunch. The town was largely closed down for a fun day, which included many of the children competing in a race around the old streets. Our bed and breakfast for the night was on the Austrian side of the border in the little town of Unterbildein, in the eclectic home of a Swiss couple and their three pet micro piglets, Lola, Jumpy and Stoney.

Inongruously large church in the small town of Kozeg. The inside was exquisitely painted with very fine stained glass windows.

Sunday night’s thunderstorm had cleared into a fine day as we ventured south, still following Euro Velo 13, the Iron Curtain Route. This 60 mile day was perfect cycling, well surfaced roads, virtually no traffic and stunning scenery, just reward for the constant steep (13%+) hills. The down hills were great fun and allowed our legs a bit of respite. Leaving Austria behind, the route weaved between Hungary and Slovenia, where the farmers are frantically harvesting vast acerages of maize and cultivating ready for the next crop.

Beautiful Slovenia, so tidy, with extensive deciduous forests.

No two days are the same on these tours, today’s ride from Marokfold in Hungary to Varazdin on the Drava River in Croatia, was no exception. Although similar distances, today gave way to more villages, busier roads (still quiet by Torbay standards) and hardly a bump in the road, let alone a hill. I find this cycling quite hard on the legs, there is no respite.

Varazdin Castle, Croatia dates back to 1100’s

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