I wildly misjudged the number of cycle tourists in the campground; they flooded out of the campground from 6:30 am to 8:00 am. I encountered another 43 by mid-day. In the last two days I’ve seen more cycle tourists that the rest of my touring combined, exemplifying too much of a good thing. Usually when there’s a chance encounter between cycle tourists, we stop to chat, share news and experience, and run through our own version of the FAQ. With this many people that translates to a nod and a wave on the way by – not the same!
Visiting the basilica and castle this morning took way longer than planned, because of general awesomeness. Esztergom was formerly a capital of Hungary. I’d say that sheer randomness eventually pays off, but in reality every town has something special, the capital of this, throne of that, or first or best of something or other. I have yet to find the city with the first large ball of string, but I’ll bet it’s out there.
Following EV6 makes things simple. Get on EV6, follow the signage at most turns (and when in doubt head for the Danu), cycle on path or negligible traffic roads, with only the occasional road smaller than I would select for myself being the tradeoff. That philosophy led directly to Komarno.
Following EV6 has any number of benefits. Road selection is done for me, so navigation becomes brainless. When I have doubts, cyclists now come from the other direction confirming I’m on the right path. There’s not a lot of signage, but at every real questionable turn there’s a sign. The cycle paths are getting better (as am I), permitting better speeds. Overall I make much better time.
My map showed three separate castle icons for Komarno, so I had high hopes. The gate for the first, clearly a modern fortress from the World War era, locked and closed. The second, also a fortress from the modern era (1890s in fact), open. A perfect place to take a break; the fortress was huge, with the walking tour through half the fortress over 2 km, through the inner and outer casements, all inside and blessedly cool. I treasure walking those corridors and thinking about the 8,000 troops stationed there.
Today I pushed hard to get to Komarno for lunch, delaying lunch to be able to stop there for a while and take a break through the mid-afternoon heat. Still running late, both from the basilica in the morning, and several breaks through the day in towns along the way with free wifi in the central area, meant I left the fortress at 4 pm, with the choice of a really short day and local camping, or a 30 km push to the next campground. The road out of town got smaller, turned to a dirt track, and then loose sand. When I finally emerged back onto highway, the highway prohibited bikes – I lost EV6.
EV6 to that point had always followed the signage for prohibited bikes, and rerouted to a nearby cycle path. Having lost EV6 here and there, I proceeded onward, figuring the next time I was close to the Danu I’d find it. When the highway edged next to the river, I learned that plan wasn’t going to work, and a quick check on the map showed EV6 on the Slovakia side. Not going back, and being perfectly capable of navigating without it, I finished my ride to the campground.
Investigation of my GPS map tonight shows EV6 split at the last ferry yesterday, continuing on BOTH sides of the Danu. Then EV6 disappears on my side for about 30 km (where I lost it), and then reappears on the other side of the next big city about 30 km from here. With the Danu and associated forks and tributaries, route options limit themselves by bridge crossing, but I should be back on EV6 tomorrow, and back to “easy”. With the distance EV6 adds combined with the heat, that puts Bratislava just out of reach tomorrow.
Mosquitoes are fierce tonight, as I cower in my tent with the heat all around me.