Burst tyre and hospitality

July 6, 2017 0 By Viktor

Balkans cycling trip, Day 1

6th July 2017: Szeged – Ada
An average family of three from Hungary, we have the ambitious plan to get from the south of Hungary to Greece only by bicycle. It will be around 1700 km (more than 1000 miles). The first day starts loudly but then we cross the first border and experience the hospitality of lovely people.

Distance: 70 km

We left a bit later than we planned as it took really long to find the best place for everything in the bags. I guess this will get smoother as we move on. Then we had a very annoying moment after the first kilometre.


Still  in Szeged, Aron’s (my son’s) rear tyre burst and it was so loud that I thought two cars crashed or someone fired a gun. The tube was beyond repair with a 10 cm long hole on it. Maybe it was over-inflated or I pinched it when  I changed the tyre.

Sunflower field near Szeged

We chose a less busy border crossing near Tiszasziget. There was no queue at all, the whole process took 10 minutes. It could have been even less but the guards were having an international gossip summit in the booth.

It was getting hot as we arrived in the first sizeable town, Novi Knezevac (Magyarkanizsa). There is a cosy pedestrian street with bars along it. We had a drink after exchanging money and then got back on our saddles.

Unexpected friendliness

The day’s first pleasant surprise came in the village of Padej (Padé). We were just about to stop under a tree for a second when a woman asked us where we were going. My wife couldn’t remember the name of our destination for the day but the woman sad we could relax a bit in their house as there were no benches in the village. We sat down in their dining-room and they told us everything about their other ad-hoc guests and their family.

Then they suggested we stay in the campsite near Ada, the next village. Their neighbour, the security guard at the campsite, was just about to cycle to work and we could accompany him. So we did and we spent the next hour pedalling along this grumpy but very amusing fellow to the Tisza bank by Ada.

The campsite is really basic (maybe this is why I couldn’t find it on the net) but it was perfect for us to get a shower and we could even swim in the river. There are few toilets and showers but the guests don’t seem to care too much about getting clean so we didn’t have to wait long. And it’s a bargain at 500 dinars (around 4,20 euros).

The second surprise came when we were cooking our dinner on fire. A neighbour came up to us and asked about our plans. He wished us good luck and then brought me a bottle of beer plus two large pieces of homemade cake for Anita and Aron. Then he sad we could have our dinner at their table. Sadly, they left for the town soon after so we couldn’t invite them for a palinka in return…

In Ada, I also managed to buy a Serbian SIM for data connections. It was 540 dinars, which gives you 2 GB of data for a month. No idenfication was needed and the lady at the Telenor office was extremely helpful.

Tomorrow we have a little more to cycle (around 95-100 km) because we want to spend the night at another campsite just after Novi Sad (Újvidék). There aren’t that many official places to pitch your tent in Serbia so we feel it’s worth the extra effort.

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