(Guide says 27.5km – 17 miles, we walked 29.4km- 18.3 miles)
After getting to sleep rather late because of the lively, but lengthy dinner that was held in the guesthouse, then returning to our youth hostel to experience the summer camp children still outside running and playing until after 10 pm, we didn’t exactly get the 5 am start that we wanted to.
Janet, the owner of the guesthouse and hostel, was very kind. She was so upset that she only had ten beds in the house and since we’ve fallen behind with my rest days, we are now walking with a full group of ten. Jenny had told her we were coming the night before, so she had made two other options for us to choose. One in her youth hostel down the road, and another in the next village in a friends hotel. We chose the hostel so that we could meet the other walkers and have dinner with them.
She even packed sandwiches for us and left them in the refrigerator so that we could grab them and go without having to backtrack to the guest house for breakfast. This made us really happy because extra walking is a big deal right now.
After coming out of the youth hostel we walked along following the red arrows for about 5km, until we found a lovely little country church. While taking pictures we became a bit distracted and realized there were no longer arrows to be found. We’ve now made a pact that we will never travel backward, forward motion only, so we used Google maps to plan a route through the woods from there. Google maps showed us that there are actually three routes that can be taken to get to our destination all within 19 minutes walking time of each other. The only problem, we have learned the hard way, is that Google maps doesn’t know when farmers move their fences. The small barbed wire ones are fine, but electric fences and the six foot high deer fences, I don’t do so well with. So far I’ve survived, but there’s a lot of cussing and anger each time I have to get over one. Luckily there’s never anyone for miles to witness or hear it.
We chose the middle path which turns out to be through the woods for about 20km with no road walking, and no signs of any red arrows. I love walking through the woods alone hearing nothing but the sounds of the birds and our own footsteps. We ended up having two electric fence crossings and one river crossing, which taught us another lesson. Google maps doesn’t care how or if you can get across a river that has no bridge. It just assumes that you can figure it out somehow, and sure enough, we did!
Since the theme of the day was climbing, we decided to have some fun and investigate some hunting stands along the way. We’ve seen hundreds of them on this journey, all designed slightly differently, but these have been my favorite. Built entirely from small round trees and left rough with the bark still on, they are just like giant thrones to sit in the sky. In hindsight, I probably should’ve taken the time to remove my pack before going up. On the way down I got snagged and almost had a little mishap.
We also managed to walk directly through an area with some loggers who were apparently taking a break. All of a sudden their break was over and we heard trees being sawed down all around us. One of the men catches a glimpse of us and yells as loud as he can for them all to stop. He then walks over and escorts us out of the area shaking his head, and laughing while mumbling in Hungarian. I’m certain it was something about the stupid American trekkers who were almost killed by falling trees, but he was smiling, so we just smiled back and thanked him.
We carried on at a good pace for the last 6km and my feet still felt pretty good. Maybe they are finally accepting that we are doing this, like it or not. We started at 6am, walked quickly for three hours and covered 16km, then stopped for an hour to eat and dry our socks and feet in the sun, and then walked for three more hours to finish up the 13km. My body and mind are feeling really good.
I tried threading my blisters for the first time yesterday and it seems to have worked well. The threads didn’t stay as they were supposed to, but I was able to walk without pain and had much more room in my shoes without all the huge swollen blisters taking up space. I’ll have to see what the next few days bring, but it seems to have made a huge difference. It goes against everything I know to drain them. I have always been told to cover them with Compeed and not let them rupture. The problem is that when you have six large ones on one foot, that takes a lot of space inside your boot. Then adding the Compeed takes even more. When you cram an already swollen, blister covered foot into a super tight boot, and try to walk 20 miles on it, you’re just asking for trouble.
Today, I’m thankful for my rest days, and I’m thankful for threading. Did I mention that I’m now completely out of money? It’s always something it seems. The accommodations, restaurants and stores in the Hungarian countryside don’t take debit or credit cards and the nearest ATM is 23km away. This is the problem that must be solved tomorrow.
Jenny had sent a message late last night to say that the accommodation in Szentgyörgyvölgy was awful. She said that there were loads of summer camp children there and the staff was having a very hard time keeping up, but also that they were being really rude to the EPW walkers in her group.
It was while listening to screaming children at 10pm that I got her message and immediately decided to book a different place to stay. Only problem was that the village of Szentgyörgyvölgy, is just that, a tiny village in the middle of nowhere. Exactly the kind of place parents love to send their kids away for summer camp. I knew it was a long shot, but I also knew I would be desperate for sleep. I was completely shocked to find a small villa for let on Booking.com for $55!
When we arrived in the village we had to go to the GoNa Summer Camp to collect our bag of extra stuff which had been sent ahead with the groups. As we collected the bag, we tried to tell the lady working there that we had made other accommodation plans so that we could sleep and she literally couldn’t even be bothered to speak to us. We weren’t on her list anyhow, since we are now moving two days behind our group, but we thought it was the right thing to do. Needless to say, we were so happy that we had made different arrangements! Jenny had saved the day!
Our little Hungarian Villa was just down the road 1km further and had a giant, lovely bathtub! Situated on four acres and surrounded by fruit trees, it’s not at all the kind of place you expect to find on Booking.com. It’s also owned by the sweetest, older couple ever, who did everything they could to make sure we were comfortable.
The day was long, but very good. I’m really hoping my feet have turned a corner and there won’t be any new blisters from this point. Fingers Crossed!
EPW Suggests: GoNa Summer Camp
8975 Vörösmarty Utca #1
$55 equivalent must be paid cash upon arrival in huf 17,900
No food on site, you’ll need to go to the market.
Some favorite pics from the day: