Hungary-Slovakia-Poland by Skike-blades, 16.04.2009-05.06.2009

Like many times before, this trip also ended up something totally different than
I expected.
My first purpose was to visit Hungary and Romania, and possibly also Slovakia,
Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. According to my counting, the route would have
been around 3000 km, but realistically some 2000km. I had the flights to
Budapest for 15th of April and my aim was to start travelling the following
day. Sightseeing would follow after skike-journey.

It would have been impossible to realise this trip with the same equipment as
last summer. From a wide range of options I chose this complex lorry-system. It
proved to be a right decision. In the beginning it was rather comfortable to
pull behind, even so much that I sometimes forgot having it with me.
Unfortunately the tires didn’t function well more than some 200km. After that
the lorry started swinging from side to side with increasing tempo, and also
the tires rubbed. With these problems pulling the lorry behind the skikes
became extremely hard. I addition to this I carried a little backbag, where I
had my map to check every so often.

This travelling story was supposed to come out earlier, so I apologize for
delay. I tried to keep in simple and short, so there is more information about
more active days. Days without anything too special didn’t get so many words in
my diary. During my trip I never really felt like travelling, but instead I had
a constant thought on my mind about starting serious travelling next week.

Day 1. 16.04
First in the morning we headed to the shop for the maps and basic equipment with
Skike-Hungary team. They gave me a ride to the first small road in the Southern
part of Budapest, where from I started my journey. I have to admit that I was
slightly afraid of how the car drivers would take a stand on a traveller like
me. Skike-skater is not very a popular sight in Hungary. Also using the left
side of the road could be problematic when coming across skike-skater. For my
great delight I soon realised that the drivers gave me space as politely as in
Finland. The road was narrow, and due to this one car had to stop when we all
three came across at the same time. I Finland 2 cars and me can most often pass
each other without stopping. The ground was very flat and there was habitation
around all the time. I slept in my sleepingbag on the field. 25km.

Day 2, 17.04
I woke up when a pick-up car passed me on the field. It was time to pack and
start the days journey. A random guy stopped his car by the field and started
talking. Then he pulled out his mobile and showed me its properties; blue tooth
and all! He had bought that real Nokia-phone with only 500€. I suppose he
guesses that my own phone was some 9 years old. It is still fine for me as I
can call and send messages. After this episode I arrived in Kunszentmiklos,
where I had to walk a little due to the stony road. Suddenly I heard a couple
running after me with a microphone and tv-camera! They wanted to make a
telecast of me to the local TV. They asked all sorts of questions about me and
my journey. Result of today; 43km.

Day 3, 18.04
Lazy resting day. All the muscles hurt. What a shame!

Day 4, 19.04
It was a sunny day as I headed to a city called Kisköröi. I had run out of food,
so I had to find accommodation. During the whole trip I only dared to go to shop
twice so that I let my stuff wait outside. The staff had no ability in English
and they seemed surprised and confused for seeing a traveller like me. 27km.

Day 5, 20.04
I went to sleep in a burned pinewood roght before the thunder. 43km.

Day 6, 21.04
I managed all the way to Szeged where I went to the first motel I found. I
booked the room for 3 nights. In big cities one can’t skate on skikes, so I
walked a lot in town. In Szeged there are around 160000 inhabitants. 48km.

Days 7 and 8, 22-23.04
Off-days in Szeged.

Day 9, 24.04
I started today’s journey right after sunrise. Thanks to the partying school
group around, I couldn’t sleep last night. Actually they had promised a new
accommodation for me due to the party but it was cancelled. I do not recommend
that ”Napfény Hotel-Motel-Camping” for anyone, as it was also freezing cold.
Many overnight-places in Hungary are cold as they try to save in electricity by
switching them off. It was such a big problem to get out of the city. Even
though I found the right road, the traffic was so terrific that I could only go
on fluently for some first kilometres. After this I needed a break of couple of
hours during which time the traffic finally decreased. The highlight of the day
was crossing the Tisza-river with a very special wooden ferry. Night on the
field. 69km.

Day 10, 25.04
A short day. I laid myself on a beautiful turnip rape field. 20km.

Day 11, 26.04
I discovered five mites on me in the morning. It was my first experience with
these tiny insects. I heard that the locals don´t find the mites dangerous at
all. Vice versa; In Finland the press and media constantly spread the
information about the perilousness of the mites, but that seems to be one of
those stories from medical industry to make people pay for more and more
vaccinations. Before my trip I read in the news paper that the mites in
Southern Hungary will become extincted in next few years because of the heat
and drought. I swear that it is not going to be soon! I had to visit a shop
again so I booked a room from a guesthouse in Oroshza. 13km.

Day 12, 27.04
I ended up to an extremely bad-conditioned road. Actually that´s what I expected
most of the roads in Hungary to be, but luckily they are not. I also made my way
to a small village, where I was a real attraction. Soon I managed to find a
right road, a rocky, rugged one. I was happy for not having any traffic around,
 but instead only beautiful open fields with wild reindeers. One thorn in my
stick broke so I had to stay on one field overnight. People in a cottage nearby
may have noticed me. 52Km.

Day 13, 28.04
At 7.30 am I saw a tractor driving straight towards my tent. I realised that the
driver only wanted to scare me to get me out from his field. I was still sleepy,
but as the man waved his arm to tell that i should go, i packed my stuff. Then
he boasted in the way they tend to do in the country side; he filled the
sprayer with the poison gas and switched it on straight behind me. In strong
wind it all blew on me. Well, I consider him as a master of drama! I changed
the thorn to my stick after a few kilometres as I had prepared myself with the
extra ones. I learned this from my last trip in Finland, and now the thorn
broke exactly after the same distance. The day was extremely hot and heavy! In
the end of the day I was in the territory with loads of houses and no fields or
bushes at all. Guesthouses were fully booked, so I still had to find my way for
couple of kilometres to find a small forestry area to lay my sleeping bag on.

 Day 14, 29.04
A night in a bush. 40km. To Debrecen 42km for tomorrow.

Day 15, 30.04
This was one of the most horrific days in my journey. The length of travelling
wasn’t that long but i had to go on without food or anything to drink in humid
heat. There would have been a little road going to the side of the city of
Debrecen, but it was forbidden to use. I looked for new options and finally
decided to walk to the town. I bought soft drink and ice-cream from the first
gas station and found the way to the hotel without any problems. I booked
accommodation for 4 nights. 38km.

Days 16.-18. , 01-03.05
Resting days in Debrecen with sightseeing. 

Day 19, 04.05
I left towards Hortobagy-national park. The road was closed again, but i used it
anyways. The prohibitions are sometimes ridiculous, as in many cases like this,
there are no other ways to get to particular places. About 10km from the city
the rules changed and biking became allowed, so I considered that also
skike-skating would be acceptable. I enjoyed that area, the road being the best
by far, with a few cars around and no habitation to make me stressed. I felt
relaxed and good.  Now I could enjoy myself as I didn’t have to be afraid of
locals and their dogs barking behind the fences. I found a nice place for the
tent as well. 55km.

Day 20, 05.05
Nothing special today.  I escaped the thunder hail to the bush by the road. A
couple of cars passed. 64km.

Day 21, 06.05
Being hungry and out of food, I dared to leave my stuff outside an idyllic local
market and go shopping. I bought some chocolate, ice-cream and other sweeties.
With that energy I then skated all the way to Miskolc, the ugliest and worst
one of the last big cities. Now I had visited all the four big cities,
Budapest, Debrecen, Miskolc and Szeged. (in an order of population) I chose a
bit fancier guesthouse, which cost around 30€ per night. There were small
problems with the language again, but I managed to find the right words in
German. After this journey I know whole 5 sentences in German! At this part
skating 50km wasn´t too hard anymore. 51km.

Day 22, 07.05
Day-off in Miskolc.

Day 23, 08.05
I had stomach ache at night and didn’t feel like continuing the trip with strong
nausea. I had a lazy feeling the whole day. I stayed in a nice forest overnight.

Day 24, 09.05
I stayed at the same place again due to the dead tired- feeling I had when
waking up. I also realised that I wasn’t able to move on as effectively as last

Day 25, 10.05
Today I crossed the border to Slovakia. My first image of the country was
positive. On the contrary to Hungary, most cyclists seemed to wear helmets. The
road got a bit better and more hilly as well. The day was really hot again and I
had to fight my way through the open fields to find a sheltered place to sleep.

Day 26, 11.05
I was lucky to find a water pipe by the road when I was just running out of
water. I wondered whether I would dare to drink that liquid, because it might
not be the same as in Finland where one can usually have very fresh spring
water from those pipes. During my decision-making process a car stopped by and
a group of people came out to fill their mugs with water. They drank greedily
and filled their canisters as well. So I also dared to try. I filled my bottle
and tasted the water, but I had to throw it out immediately afterwards. Water
was terribly salty! I couldn’t believe that people in the car had just drunk it
with great pleasure. I ended up having an inadequate amount, 2dl, of water
during that day. I arrived in Kosice through a village called Baska. The
territory was already around 430m above sea level with rather nasty roads and
humid air. The way down to Kosice was very comfortable though and I walked 5km
to the centre from suburbs. By asking the locals I found my way to the
tourist-information and left my stuff in a bus-station office. The cheapest
guesthouses were unfortunately full, but there was a free room in a place with
48€ per night. 100€ burned fast when i booked 2 nights at that place. 42km.

Day 27, 12.05
Day-off in Kosice

Day 28, 13.05
Today’s journey went up and down of occasionally dangerous serpentine-road. The
night on the mattress made of tree leaves bet the hotel with one hundred
points! I enjoyed seeing so much forests. 39km.

Day 29, 14.05
I kept going with all of my energy. Despite continuous and fast moving I
couldn’t make it that far due to the hilly roads. I passed Slovakia’s ugliest
city, Spisska Nova Vess, after which I continued only 10km to the next sleeping
place. I saw the Tatra-mountains in the horizon! I spent the night on the field.

I had a traveller’s boiler with me for cooking food. It worked with wood and
functioned well, but still I found it a bit risky to use it in dry Nature areas.

Day 30, 15.05
Climbing the mountains appeared to be the heaviest thing I could have imagined.
Since this day I started walking occasionally, but it is a natural part of this
sport. I met a French couple who wanted to take me a little way forward in their
caravan. As I was completely out of energy and exhausted, I agreed. This had
been physically one of the hardest days by now. They took me for some 30km and
left me in a place called Strba. From there I only had some 15km left to
Strbske Pleso. I started walking towards the right direction and slept in the
spruce woods. 27km.

Day 31, 16.05
I climbed a very curvy road uphill and even though the distance was less than
10km, it felt long. Nevertheless i made it all the way to the village where i
headed straight to the first guesthouse I saw. I suppose it was a good
decision, as they gave me a small discount as well. 3 nights cost me 80e.
Having a heater in the room was real luxury after spending a few nights in the
cold rooms in Hungary. The weather had also been quite warm in the beginning of
the journey though. Strbske Pleso itself was startlingly a beautifull place with
all the necessary service available. It was such a real tourist area! There were
plenty of hotels and new ones were being built as well. I really enjoyed the
village and I can recommend it to anyone travelling around
Tatra-mountain-territory. I add many pictures from this area for you to see.

Days 32 and 33, 17.05-18.05
Off-days in Strbske Pleso. The weather turned sunny again and there were many
attractions to photograph!

Day 34, 19.05
The biggest mistake happened when I accidentally chose a wrong road when going
down to Poprad. I skied downhill a little way and then I had to climb back
again. While wandering uphill, I met a czech motorcyclist who asked me to make
a video clip of him when he was riding his motorbike. This was a day of many
rain hails, but it didn´t change the fact that the scenery was stunning
gorgeous! I still had 10km to go to reach the border to Poland. As thick fog
covered the road with signs of becoming rain, I sqeezed myself in a sprucewood.
The location was 1000m above sea level. 53km. 

Day 35, 20.05
The roads confused me time after time and I wasn´t always where I assumed to be.
Zakopane was suddenly right there, even though I had prepared for travelling for
some 10km more to reach it. The roads are not always the same in Nature and on
the map, or it may be that the mapreader had a problem. This idyllic
polish-village seemed to be conquered by tourists. The streets were full of
little children, likely having their school trip. I booked a hotel room for a
couple of nights right beside the mainroad as the price seemed reasonable. For
Polans is a low-cost country with a lot to offer for a traveller, I can
honestly recommend it for everyone, this town not the least. 28km.

Day 36, 21.05
Day-Off in Zakopane.

Day 37, 22.05
The road from Zakopane onwards, and the whole way back to Slovakia was the most
suitable for Skike-skiing! It went gently downhill which enabled me to skate
without sticks most of the way. It was truly relaxing and enjoyable, making the
way with no stress at all. In the afternoon the uphills took their place again
and I continued walking. At the top there was the last steep edge to climb
after which i built up my tent to the place with a view over the sea. That was
1100 above sea level. Hard thunder surprised me in the evening, but I was lucky
to have only few small trees around me. You never know what happens in a big
forest in the storm. I honestly don´t enjoy the scenery of trees falling down
under hard wind. 56km.

Day 38, 23.05
Mainly downhill-day, which still didn´t go too fluently. Nothing special today.

Day 39, 24.05
The idea was to book a room from Brezno, but it stayed as a dream. I asked for
accommodation in seven different places, but only a few were open-was it not
tourist season or vice versa; fully-booked. The signals to these hotels
irritated me most as they led me to places where I could not find a room
anyways. I wasted a lot of  energy while looking for accommodation in humid
heat, walking among numerous Roma-people in Brezno. 34km.

Day 40, 25.05

Dehydrated and starving I made my way down to the big mainroad, where I still
stayed calm and continued to the next city. So I didn´t choose the first motel
which I saw before. I found a hotel Detva in a city called Detva, which seemed
very posh from outside. I was rather surprised when I heard that the price was
ridiculous 22€ per night. The price-quality relation was definitely the best of
any guesthouses! First I paid for one night, but when I eventually saw the room
itself, I decided to stay for a couple of nights more. I recovered in this
city, where actually wasn´t a lot to see. 40km.

Days 41-42, 26-27.05
Off-days in Detva. I found an Internet cafe. Hungary, Slovakia and Poland are
quite ahead of Finland considering the public Internet cafe-service! As
everyone has their own computer at home, it is hard to find any place with a
public Internet-connection in Finland. In my last trip in Finland I didn´t come
up with any. The computers at people´s houses don´t really comfort the one on
the way.

Day 43, 28.05
I didn´t have many breaks on the way, so today´s journey ended up to be the
second longest this far. Still the guesthouse was 80m higher than the previous
one. The road wasn´t too hilly to skate, but only the hard wind was keeping me
back a bit. 76km.

Day 44, 29.05
There was no need to go for too long way today, so that there was a reasonable
way left to Esztergon for tomorrow. The day was windy and cold. 42km.

Day 45, 30.05
I arrived to Esztergon in the midday. I asked for a room from places that were
all full. Then I called to a few places and found a free room from a
guesthouse. 35km.

Day 46, 31.05
The Hungarian Skike-team offered me the dinner while chatting on the table. They
also gave me some tips for my last week. The day was exceptionally cold with
only +10 degrees, and in addition to this, it rained all day non-stop. I
dropped by a pizzeria to order 3 pizzas for tomorrow´s celebration day.

Day 47, 01.06
There were only few roads for cars, so I travelled tens of kilometers on the
road for cyclists! It was amazing. 45km.

Day 48, 02.06
I spent the night in a city called Mor. The accommodation was expensive due to
the large buffet-breakfast. The girl at the reception was rather talkative and
made many questions about my journey. 46km.

Day 49, 03.06
I arrived in Veszprem where I gathered a lot of attention from locals. 59km.

Day 50, 04.06
Day-off in Veszprem. I made a tour to see the sights and met the first Finnish
people during my whole trip. They were also photographing the main sights of
the city. There was only a handfull of tourists in the area.

Day 51, 05.06
I only needed to finish last 10km after which the whole journey would be over
and the distance behind would be the same as last summer. It was the only day
when I had to move on in heavy rain and traffic. It didn´t disturb me though,
because I knew I would make it to Balatonfurdoon-unless I would get overdriven
by a car. I savoured the last few kilometres downhill. I was laughed by many
people when the water splashed up to my knees.I found a guesthouse and stayed
overnight. It was time for photographing again. Balaton is truly a beautifull
lake, which I recommend to visit. 25km.

So... What did actually happen and what did I gained? What were the fruits of
the trip?

On the contrary to what I assumed in advance, I didn´t see much poverty in the
countries I visited. Only a few Roma-villages in Slovakia seemed a bit ascetic.
Many people speak about Hungary as a very unwealthy country, but it seemed quite
normal to me. The roads were being cleaned early in the mornings and the Nature
was taken care of, just to mention some examples. It was nothing like Italy for
example, where one can see a lot of trash on the streets wherever you lay your
eyes down on. I only saw a small part of Poland, but hopefully one day I will
have a possibility to see the middle part of the coutry as well. Now I only
travelled near the borders.

The roads were well enough for travelling.

And my main-equipment, the Skike-blades didn´t show up with any problems. It
would have been good to fill the tires with more air though, as this was quite
a journey without any re-filling. It was only a couple of bars, when I left
home. I will try something new next year considering the lorry for my stuff. I
believe my new idea will function well.
The final result in kilometres was 1520. So 12km, more than last year. I was
surely a bit dissapointed, but looking from another angle; it was the longest
way by Skikes in the whole world. So I can call myself a double-world-winner :)
Later, the summer of 2009, two men, Ari from Finland and Rainer from Germany
Skiked even longer routes. They travelled separately. Rainer(this German man)
bears the current, unofficial world-record of 3000km by Skikes, all the way
from Berlin to Nordkapp. He has made many journeys before me and I think it
wouldn´t be too long a way for me either. In comparison to this man I am still
quite young myself, so let´s see what the future brings. Of course I want to
become the one to have the world-record-result in Skike-skating!
Thank you for all of my supporters!