August 15, 2005 GMT

I arrived in Budapest about 9pm. For some reason, the route in to the centre is not lined with easily accessible hotels, and all the ones I phone or find are full. There is a big music festival going on ...... decide to book in to the Meridian because I don't have any better ideas - Budapest does not seem to be as well served with internet cafes as other places, and I don't want to waste all night. Suddenly realise I forgot to eat all day, and have to break a promise and go to McDonalds as its late and I can't wait...

Saturday's weather is perfect - the best so far. Wander around being a tourist and then have dinner and drinks with a friend of a friend. Up early Sunday for a 10K run around a mountain above Budapest, with quite a large snake crossing my path. Spend the rest of the day with a group of Hungarian marathon runners, watching Paula Radcliffe win the World Championships and chilling out. And making me realise that I'm not that fit after all ! Momir from the HUBB forums also joined us and we talked about Romania.... must Hungarians have a low opinion of Romania and its people, except for the part which should really be part of Hungary :) Which is Transylvania. .... Dracula country. Momir, who is Serbian, agrees with them...... but I doubt I am going to change my mind.

I change hotels late Sunday to keep costs down, had a great meal with my Romanian guide book and my iPod while I take in all the scary advice I am hearing. There are four Italian bikes at the hotel - had a quick chat. I still haven't seen another UK bike since I left the ferry at Calais, and no British cars since entering Germany. Rain sets in on Monday - I've booked to leave the hotel Wednesday, as I am seeing a bike shop later today to see if I can get some work done on my bike - not essential, but may be a good idea.

The bike shop changes my tyres and oil/filter Tuesday, but the exhaust problem is too expensive to fix here and will have to wait until I get back to the UK. Andrasz at Powerbike speaks good English and was very helpful. Had coffee with Jeremy who works out here and runs around on his Guzzi while tinkering with an ageing Velocette and Jawa. Its still raining, but I think the weather is worse in Romania....unsure about when to leave. More and more scary stories about Romanian roads and drivers keep surfacing, but Jeremy has done part of the route - it can be done, but carefully.

Posted by Kevin Payne at August 15, 2005 11:22 AM GMT

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