Gadany is a small village
with a single food store that reminded me of the shops of the post-war period in the UK, when rationing was still in place. Most of these shops
have a small range of goods, on shelves behind the counter, and the owner serves you in the good old fashioned way. Communicating my needs, in my non-existent Hungarian, prompted me to be more subtle in my use of sign language. In the countryside, nobody speaks English….on the other hand, some may speak German….but with me, there is still an impasse there.
It’s now 25 years since communism controlled the country, but the hardship of those years is still very much in evidence in the rural areas.
There is a functionality and greyness about most of the buildings, and many houses still do not have an inside toilet, nor even running water in the house.
I learned a lot about Hungary from Rudiger
…I turned up at his small village campsite and, despite being closed, he graciously let me stay the night in an attractive little field next to his house. I was his first camping guest this year…..
….and when I asked about wifi, he promptly brought out a router and installed it on the veranda near my tent
…..the perfect setting was enhanced even further by the company of his two friendly labradors
…and the fact that Rudiger and I relaxed over a few beers and chatted for a few hours. He is German, and moved here with his wife about 8 years ago, but sadly his wife passed away last year, so he has come to a crossroad in his life.
Rudiger told me so much about the simplicity and poverty of life in the Hungarian countryside, but what intrigued me most was the ringing of the church bell at 8pm. The bell is the signal for people to go to bed, and a bell will ring at 5am for them to get up….which I heard this morning after I had been awoken by a thunder storm at 4.30. So…..like all the locals, I got up!
And it’s no wonder western Europeans are rushing to buy properties in former communist block countries: a property like this will sell for about £5000
The last three days, I’ve had an annoying little problem with the bike, which has defied correction, even with the emailed advice of one of Grafham Cycling’s mechanics. I even had a village car-mechanic look at it, and he sprayed lubricant in relevant places……I’m not holding my breath, but the last few miles were almost trouble-free. I shall be watching this space myself..
I have just arrived at the beautiful city of Pecs (pronounced ‘Paysh’)
…and the first thing that caught my attention in the main square, was this representation of Da Vinci’s Collosus, which never was constructed in his life time