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European Peace Walk: Day 11: Orimagyarosd, Hungary to Szentgyogyvolgy, Hungary

European Peace Walk

European Peace Walk. Leaving town in the morning.

A great breakfast at Sunshine Camp starts us off on the right foot.

Knowing the heat is coming, everyone but our sickest member is walking by 8 AM.  On a roadway.  Beside fields.

John, at aged 76 and still fighting a cold, is in the lead as usual.  Amazing guy.  An inspiration to me.

Even the early sun is quite hot.  Walking into a forest provides sweet relief.  Spiderwebs glint in the sunbeams. It’s a wonderland of sun-dappled yellows, browns and greens.

The forest delivers us to the fields again, this time on a sandy road where bird footprints decorate the surface.

The sand road becomes a dusty road with dirt as fine as talcum.  For two kilometers, flies are incessant, circling and buzzing in my ears and face.  “I am not a poop!” I tell them.  But they don’t care.  Where is a Venus Fly Trap when you need one?

European Peace Walk

European Peace Walk

Walking through a village, a loose dog follows Senja who is just ahead of me.  “Go home” she tells him but he, like the flies, doesn’t listen.  Finally, he turns back to join his dog-mates who have gathered in the road.  Traffic is extremely scarce but a car suddenly appears and despite the ample width of the road, the driver honks the horn, barely slows, and proceeds to hit the dog squarely and completely.  Right in front of my eyes.  My hand immediately covers my eyes and I turn away in horror.  Now, I hear the squealing of the animal and when I look, it has disappeared.  The man drives on without pause.

Finally, I come upon what appears to be a cafe and half of the group is sitting there on the terrace.  I join, sitting on a chair with a heart-shaped cut-out and admire the matching wooden window shutters.  Quaint and charming.  Once the others arrive we wait in hopes that when the clock strikes ten, the owner will appear and we can purchase a coffee.  That would really be nice.

The owner does appear and is clearly agitated.  She tells us this is not a cafe (which harkens back to the restaurant that was not a restaurant) and is only for her guests (of which none are present).  We ask her if we might be able to purchase a coffee anyway and she is clear and direct in stating that she does not have permission to sell us a coffee.  It seems we have ruined her day.  When asked where we might be able to get a coffee she responds “There is nowhere.”  Yes folks, it seems this may be the only place on earth that Starbucks has not yet invaded.  We quickly evacuate the premises while she rants on about how she doesn’t understand why people keep coming there despite the two string “fence” she had made.  A real delight she is.

Cafe that is not a cafe.

This is not a cafe.

There’s a reason you never see ads in travel magazines that say “Escape to Hungary!” Or “Hungary – Welcome to Paradise!”  A real good reason.

Although we’ve met some real gems, I can’t wait to leave this country.  Not that I know it.  More than anything, I know it’s fields.  But I’ve had enough.  Of fields.  In Hungary.

After 16 kilometers of walking in the woods, fields, woods, fields, woods then fields, we arrive at a church where Sunshine Camp arranged a car to drive us to the official end point.  Senja will be the only one continuing.  We are purposely avoiding this stretch because it is largely unshaded.  I worry for her safety walking solo in this extreme heat (32° C or 90° F).  But she is determined.  As Rob, Helga and I sit as passengers in a car, traveling the path that Senja will travel by foot, I feel total relief that I an not walking: fields and more fields with only an occasional interruption by a village that appears deserted, as they all do.

We arrive at a resort created by Hungarian handball champions as a training camp for future handball champions.  The resort features a pool and a restaurant with a terrace.  Unfortunately, not a soul speaks English, which we learn is typical in this area of Hungary.  Most older people, if they speak a second language, know Russian.  The younger people now learn English but they are extremely shy to talk.  Communication is challenging for everyone involved.

European Peace Walk

European Peace Walk

The resort appears to be in the middle of nowhere.  The group is mad with frustration that we have no ability to see anything, go anywhere or interact with anyone.  What is the point of walking through fields and forests all day to arrive in backwater villages where no interaction can occur and there is nothing to see or do?  How are we doing anything of value?

Less than 250 miles away, the Syrian refugee crisis grows more intense everyday with thousands literally dying to cross into Hungary (their entry into the European Union) while a razor-wire fence is hastily being erected to keep them out.  Meanwhile, us “PeaceWalkers” casually walk over the border several times each day with not a care in the world except whether there will be wifi at the next stop.  These refugees are walking in the same heat, with more on their backs, with no food or sleep and with trauma and grief in their hearts and bodies.  And what are we, as PeaceWalkers, really doing?  There is discord in my heart.

I’m unsure of what to do.  Moving on each day gives little time for planning or contemplation of how to get off this spinning wheel I’ve put myself on.  I’ve got to think.  What to do?  What to do?

Thank you to Jamie Johns for sponsoring today’s walk and this post.

Distance of the Walk Today: 27 kilometers (16.7 miles)

Distance I Walked Today: 16 kilometers (10 miles)

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European Peace Walk – Day 11 Tips

Important: As usual take lots of water.

Tip: There are no toilets, no fountains.  Bring toilet paper or baby wipes.

Terrain: First 16 kilometers are quite flat. 80% dirt.

Accommodation: The cost was 14 euros per person for a shared room in a little cabin.  Hot showers.  Pool.  Dinner: Restaurant on premises with meat and vegetarian options.Wi-fi: Available but difficulties with connecting. Breakfast: Available “to go” or on premises by pre-arrangement.

Tip: From this accommodation, if you walk about one kilometer to the stop, it is possible to take the local bus to the next destination: Lenti for 465 forints (about 1.5 euros).  You pass through several villages on the way and it’s an interesting ride.  Once in Lenti, it’s about a twenty-minute walk to the Hotel Denis.

Photos of Day 11 of the European Peace Walk (click to view):

2 Comments

  1. I can feel your despair with the endless fields, woods, heat, deserted villages and unfriendly Hungarians. I hope the organisers of EPW are taking note!
    Fingers crossed Croatia and Slovenia will provide changing scenery and some oppourtunity for interaction with the locals.
    Take care, Laura!

    • Yes, I hope they are taking note too. I want this walk to succeed. Thanks Jeanette!

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