Donat’s parents have got up early to go to the market for some breakfast foods. His mother has even brought home fresh flowers for the table. The spread is impressive with breads, salami, liverworst, tomatoes, sour cream, goats cheese, scrambled eggs, honey and the ever present capsicum. It’s a wonderful way to start the day and I feel blessed to be invited into this world.
And then my time in Szeged is over. I say my farewells and set off out on the road again. I am heading north for the fist time on this journey. I have instructions to follow a certain road and that it will take me to Csongrad, where I think I will camp. The ride is uneventful and I am in Csongrad within a few hours. The camping I was going to stay at is a dive (though, to be fair it turns out that there were two campings in Csongrad and maybe the second one was nice), so I decide to push on another 35km to the next camping.
Crossing the Tisza River at Csongrad is a bit of an adventure. There used to be a punt here but now there is this rather interesting floating bridge. Pontoons have been dropped into the water and a wooden bridge erected across them. The pontoons are held in place by the old punt and a few rusty old boats. With a clickety clack I follow a car across the seemingly fragile expanse hoping that the clickety clack doesn’t turn into a clickety crack. I actually wonder, for a moment, whether I am still in Europe or have now crossed into central Asia.
Once across the Tisza River the scenery becomes more interesting. The landscape opens up and the towns separate more clearly. Churches mark my progress as they have for the past thousand kilometers.
I pass through another small wine region with grapes lining the road. This looks like it might be a younger region with many immature plants.
And tractors are worked in the fields.
It’s late in the afternoon when I reach Cserkeszolo. The town itself looks like an agricultural hub. It is stretched out like some of Australia’s rural agricultural hubs. The outskirts boast a number of bars and small eateries. There’s not much of a centre here. Just a Coop supermarket and, across the road, a huge thermal spa with three hotels and a camping. Trucks roll through town day and night heading east. This highway must have a border crossing to Romania because I have noticed that the roads with border crossings have more trucks than others. Fortunately, I was able to take small side roads to avoid this highway. It added about 5km to my ride but I’d rather arrive alive than early.
The camping is busy and it doesn’t take me long to work out why. For about $10 I got a shady grassed pitch, kitchen, modern clean bathrooms, fast wifi and access to this amazing thermal bath complex that also had an outdoor recreation swimming area. The baths are divine after a long day in the saddle. I soak for over an hour before hunger takes over and I get out to organise some food. The yellow/brown water is the thermal water. You can either soak in it directly or mixed with normal water, creating different temperatures. There are soaking baths, these shower massage things that feel amazing pummeling my shoulders and a jacuzzi. I try them all and none are bad. Relaxed and rejuvenated, I chill the evening away at camp ready for a monster ride across the Great North Plains tomorrow.