Thursday, August 14, 2008

No More Tapas

Day 324
Dolny Kublin to Povazska Bystrica
Time: 5:06:00
Distance: 90.2 km
Avg Speed: 17.6 kph
Terrain: Around Mala Fatra NP to the Vah River
Location: 49˚ 8’ 13.39” N, 18˚ 27’ 30.8” E

Now, you’d probably figure that we might be saying that in a few months once we had been traveling through Spain. Chris decided to try some cured meats from Spanish country today for lunch and he paid dearly. As a result, I’m the guest blogger this evening.
It rained a fair amount through the night and we were both a little worried about a wet start to the morning. Luckily, it let up and we got rolling with some humidity and mist. As we ride through this country, I’m intrigued by the landscape. It’s such a paradox; communist era apartment blocks and smoke stacks, verdant countryside and old world architecture. It’s definitely got me thinking about history and its progression in this part of the world. I have nothing to compare it to since my country has never been occupied by other people who didn’t share the same beliefs.
We decided to take the scenic road, a recommended bicycle route around Mala Fatra National Park. The area is quite beautiful with high mountains, limestone cliffs, and quaint settlements. The traffic was light and the air was cool – a perfect combination for touring. We had our first 12% grade and resigned ourselves to granny gear and a slow climb. The view at the top was great and in just a few minutes we were on the downhill slope for the rest of the day.
By kilometer 50 we had reached a large city called Zilina. We had two goals – lunch and the procurement of a bicycle touring map for this part of Slovakia. I found the map while Chris shopped for groceries. We left the city square just as the police were hassling a vagrant.
For the rest of the day we rode along the Vah River. Our stomachs had started the day a little queasy and continued to get worse as the kilometers piled on. I’m pretty sure that our lunch of bread, cheese and cured meats did not sit well on top of the medium pizzas that we ate last evening.
At kilometer 73 we stopped in town to look for a room and found nothing. We continued on and looked for anything that might be off the road. At kilometer 88 we spotted a sign for a hotel and turned around. A combination of heat, fatigue, and queasy stomachs led to an 80€ (yikes!) room without argument.
The budget suffered a little, but at least we have a very nice room tonight and a chance to rest and feel better for another ride tomorrow. I’m sure it will save us down the road.

Here’s to eating tapas in the right country,

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