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Back to the Danube
A bridge takes us to Hungary. Its Uralic language is known to be complex. We learn a few words from the first day to be able to say hello and thank you: "Sila" and "Kozonom". Leaving the Slovak mountains, we hoped to meet the great Hungarian plains and get out of the bad weather stopped by the high peaks. However, the rain has given way to grey skies and a strong, icy headwind. We struggle to move forward, in a landscape marked by climbs of more than 10%. My joints are suffering from the shock, my knee hurts with each pedal stroke. This evening we have just reached the Danube. The girls are euphoric and are building a little tree house. I look at the purple-orange hues of the sunset on the river, wearing my winter down jacket, exhausted.
Nayla walks out of the tent into the dark night and exclaims in wonder. I join her. She is admiring the waxing moon. Then she asks me if the people on the cruise ships, which pass in front us, are also looking at the stars. I realise that we are back along the Danube after all these kilometres. It is majestic and behind it are the roofs of three illuminated churches. But the cold and the icy wind make me doubt, what will be our destination for the winter, what path will open up to us?
The cycle path follows the Danube, a few metres from its bank. We are amazed by the gigantic birch trees adorned with bright yellow leaves. The first buildings appear in the distance, I find them elegant. Then, as we come around a bend, the Budapest parliament building appears. Five times bigger than most of the large monuments we can see, we are speechless. Nayla wonders how the architect managed to draw the plans. Fibie is amazed by so many details. With a perfect light, an aura emerges, certainly reflecting the power of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, its nobility, its grandeur, its cultural wealth.
Natural hot springs
On the Hungarian territory, a thousand natural hot springs have been discovered. And more than a hundred of them spring up in Budapest. Every day, millions of litres of water flow out of the ground in the capital, at a temperature ranging from 20° to 80°C. Thermal baths are part of the Hungarian tradition for their virtue, their power of relaxation, but also as a meeting place, with friends, professionally or to play a game of chess. We enjoy the hot water, which soothes our bodies from the hardness of the last weeks, rainy and cold. At the same time, we marvel at the architecture, the vaults and the columns.