The big rock candy mountain – by bike!

Well, the distance between Germany and Hungary requires at least a little explanation! The 1500kms or so from Frankfurt to Budapest were some of the best of the best. Crossing three borders and four countries, we met so many beautiful people. Our hosts in Vienna, Katarina and Christophe, were getting ready to peddle to Vietnam, but still found the time to accommodate us and provided a relaxing environment. From there we tapped into `The Bike Kitchen´ and the `WUK´, two really great open bike communities, where there are workshops and tools to put those bicycle dreams in action! Some beautiful people to be met too, and laughs shared over a dumpster dived vegan meal at a local squat.

From there we carried on through Austria to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. At the last minute, our organised couch surfing host was unexpectedly unable to help, but all things flowed freely, and we ended up calling a `stranger´ we had met on the street an hour previous, asking if he might have a place to rest our weary bodies. He came through with flying colours and we finally met up with his friend the film-maker, Michal. A truly adventurous spirit, beautiful soul, and open doors… on the 11th floor! We hiked our bikes up the flights, and spent the morning hours exchanging valuable stories. A joyful connection.

Through Slovakia we peddled on, enjoying the change in vibe. Things were much poorer here, ruins frequent, but open fields either side of the dilapidated national bike track. The delightful Danube to keep us company every night, camping was peaceful (except for the mosquitos!). Hungary greeted us with a giant castle on the river across the border and provided more days of easy adventure. We met a walking nomad, Lorent, who is living the simple life, wisdom in his clear eyes. Finally, our two wheels carried us to Erd, a suburb of Budapest, where we found `the only yurt around´ housing David, a mountain climbing philosopher, three cats and two turtles. In the comforting circle of this yurt, we lived happily ever after for a few days. This journey became one I will always remember as a turning point in my life. A deathly drama of food poisining in Germany, a romantic reunion, a cycling expedition… but really just a good old tale of fun and adventure.

One evening as the sun went down
and the bikes were all unloaded,
Down the path came a rambler peddlin’
And they said folks I’m-a-touring.

I’m headed for a land
that’s far away
And the miles I’m not a-countin’.
So ride with me, we’ll go and see
The Big Rock Candy Mountain.

In the big rock candy mountains,
the wheels go round and round
Where your big load feels like feathers,
And the hills always go down.

Where you reach the top without a sweat,
but the vistas take your breath
Where your wheels come true,
and you never need lube
The tyres stay new,
and the drive train too.
In the big rock candy mountains.

Where your fuel bills all are zero,
and you’ll never see a car.
There’s tandem bikes
and recumbant trikes
Where it’s never a race
at a natural pace
In the big rock candy mountains.

Where you’re friends with all the locals,
and the k’s just slip away
With an energy snack,
on a nice smooth track
and the wind at your back,
In the big rock candy mountains.

Where the campsites are all bramble free,
and the smoke don’t sting your eyes
There’s plenty of trees
and you never pay fees
Moss for a bed
and mosquitoes are dead.

In the big rock candy mountains,
your bum just don’t get sore
Where bright and shining rainbows,
light clouds that never poor.
Where each new day,
you choose your way
You can ride your bike,
Till the fall of night,
In the big rock candy mountains.

(whistle)

I’ll see you all this comin’ fall,
In the big rock candy mountains.

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