Although it was Thursday evening, everyone was there. The banks of the Danube were crowded and it was hard to find a place to sit. Even for me, who’s presence was the reason for the feast in the first place. Only Alfonso couldn’t watch the sun setting big and orange on the other side of the river. “Probably hit by a car”, said Michael with a funny Slovakian accent. “It happens a lot here since they build that dam. Before that, only the swallows were a problem, but the cars, they go fast and are much bigger.” So except for Alfonso, all the musqitoes of Eastern Europe were present tonight and as with any ‘all you can eat’ buffet, they really went for it.
When I would write to you about animals on my trip, it would be about musqitoes and slugs. The first ones keep me occupied in the evening, the last ones in the morning. The slugs usually have been everywhere both inside and out of my tent and bagpack. So I now have the habbit of collecting them in a plastic bag (around 10 fit in my hand), turn the bag inside out and sling them away with all my strength. After that I feel a huge relief and start to clear all their shit from my tent. I know about the environment and stuff, but some things do still get me angry. During the afternoon break I do sometimes find a well hidden one in my pack somewhere. I just place that one outside and wonder if he knows he’s 20km east.
As you read this I am already out of Slovakia and heading towards the inlands of Hungary. I am done with the Danube, the dykes, the tarmac, the willows and the lack of a view and plan to head for the Balaton lake. From there I might walk to Budapest, or skip the town all together, since I’m also done with walking to and from big cities. I will head there by train to catch up with some friends and either take the train back south, or the plane back west, I haven’t decided on that as yet.
The last three days were really boring. After being positively surprised by Bratislava, the river and the route did not inspire at all. The thought of going home grew stronger with every step and I had to fight not to put out my thumb and hitch hike a ride. Not that anyone would have taken me, since I was not greeted once along the way in Slovakia. I wonder if I do exist at all here. The only Slovakian speaking to me at all was Flip, from Flips Club under the hostel where I stayed. Okay, that’s not completely true, one man in a car spoke to me, and today the last km in Slovakia I had the company of Jos. Jos started walking in Groesbeek and goes to Athos, he is retired and walks it in pieces of a month.
He showed me that walking long distances doesn’t have to be done in once. So the thought of coming home will be an issue here for some while I think. But I will walk till Oct. 3rd. anyway and break the 2000km before that. Something to look out to!