(Guide says 21.8km – 13.5 miles, but we walked 30.5km – 19 miles)
We strike out through muddy fields with corn on the right and beans on the left as far as the eye can see. The accommodation we stayed in last night was still under construction. It was nice in theory, new and on a horse ranch as the guide states, but in our room alone both doors literally came off and the sink was not attached, which caused a couple of near mishaps. We assume this must be the result of growing pains. The prices, according to the guide, were a bit higher for everything. This, we’re assuming is just the natural increase for the year.
It was honestly only a couple of euro more, but the hosts seemed very focused upon money above everything else. Free wifi was advertised, but then turned off at 7pm. We paid the additional fee to have a full breakfast and were told it would include eggs but for five euros we are provided with a small serving bowl of yogurt for nine ravenous people to share, and a small offering of lunch meats with cheese and bread. Even Jenny’s heart was broken.
After moving quickly for the first 45 minutes we somehow managed to get entirely lost in the forest and circled around for what seemed like forever trying to find where we made the wrong turn. We tried using Google Maps but ran into fence after fence. This ended up costing us about two hours and many additional kilometers in the end. I have long since known that I have a horrible sense of direction, and though I’ve tried it just never seems to improve. To this point in my life, when it has really mattered, I’ve generally been surrounded by others who are directionally gifted. What we have realized here is that we are a group of three and one is worse than the next from a directional sense. You’d honestly have to work very hard to find three people who are more directionally challenged than we are. See how I’m helping here? 🙂
Eventually we backtracked far enough that we were able to find we were following some old arrows from the previous year and the route had since been changed. This shattered our spirits completely. It was confirmed that we were at least two hours behind and yet exhausted from climbing through the brush and mud in circles. It was at this point, Jenny said, “But I told you I saw these arrows here.” I have no idea how we managed to walk giant loops, to include a huge hill when Jenny knew all along exactly where we needed to be the whole time.
As if that wasn’t enough fun, we spent the rest of the entire morning climbing through muddy fields. The muddy slog made walking very difficult as it caked onto our boots and made each step that we took even more labored than the next. It was like cross country skiing with cement blocks on your feet.
When finally, we made our way out of the woods we popped out all of a sudden in this little village and immediately a gentleman walked directly towards me with open arms and gave a huge hug while mumbling something in Hungarian. I’m certain he was saying, “You’ve made it through the mud!” but Jenny thinks he was just drunk and saying something lewd. Still, I hugged him, because hugs are nice sometimes, you know. 🙂
We found the other six walkers looking relaxed while having their lunch and stopped to tell them about our disastrous morning getting lost in the woods. They hadn’t gotten lost, but were absolutely wiped out from the mud as well. With the rain looming overhead, we decided to stop quickly and have water, cappuccino, juice and a hamburger which was basically one of everything on offer at the pub, save the booze. That was better saved for later.
The pub was quite entertaining as the interior was decorated with all things American and country music was blaring. The owner was very friendly and welcoming speaking German, Hungarian and English, and we had a nice chat with him. As we were leaving we realized we had left tons of mud on his floor. Jenny got out the broom and dust pan and busily swept it all up while singing and dancing around, he was so amused and said that she could stay and work there as long as she’d like to with a little twinkle in his eye.
As we left with the rain sprinkling down on our heads, we decided to move as quickly as possible since we were so far behind schedule. We made a decision to pass the Co-op, which is the only market along the route today. Fresh apples have become the walking snack of choice, for ease and yumminess, but none for today. We did, however, stop for a while at the Hungarian/Austrian border to look at some of the remnants left behind from the war.
Today was supposed to be a short, relatively flat, easy day and yet it’s been so long and difficult. With all the extra miles walked getting lost, and then dealing with the mud, we’ve been walking eight hours with 4km left to go. Jenny and I both feel new blisters and we’re just exhausted mentally and physically. We found that getting lost makes our adrenaline spike and then all the additional time that we spend trying to sort out where we are saps all of our energy and makes the rest of the day a real struggle. And, another interesting thing we’ve noticed, no matter the distance for the day or how the day has gone, the last 3 km are painful. It must be that your brain is just so ready for the walking to be finished.
The end of the walk is down a long white gravel road through wheat fields. It feels as if can feel every single small pebble through my boots. We stop talking and focus upon each step. When we cross the border, once again back into Hungary, we know we are less than 1km to the Szentpeterfa City Hall where we will sleep, the mood lightens and we begin to talk again.
Community Center Accommodation Hall
24 Euro per person for bed, dinner and breakfast.
Baggage transport 20 Euros.
Some favorite pics from the day: