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J168 - Friday, April 2: Fonyod - Zalatarnok

75.03km – 10H39’
Altitude : 207m
Hungary is divided into 19 administrative departments (Megye).  The country joined the European Union in May 2004, at the same time as Slovenia, which we will reach tomorrow.  If the Hungarian language is known as Magyar in Hungary, it is easier for foreigners to speak German or English.  All the signs for rooms to rent or points of interest are in German and the population prefers to speak German rather than English, which makes it difficult for me to make myself understood.  It is the case this evening for our hosts, Petroska and Josezf, who rent rooms in their home, which is located in the town of Nova.  Petroska is preparing dinner for us and to show me what we will have for dinner she takes out a figurine of a pig.  We had a good laugh over that.  Serge studied German and was able to put his knowledge to good use.  As for me, with the exception of a few words, I remember little of Nietzsche’s language, which I studied in school.
At km26, we leave Lake Balaton and its bicycle path to take Highway 76 for 11 km.  It’s a very dangerous road.  The lake is a good weather vacation spot for the inhabitants of Budapest.  At km37, highway 75 is quieter and hilly.  It is the road with the most curves and hills that we have encountered in this country.  It is worth noting that the highest peak in the country reaches 1,014 meters.  Hungary is not a particularly mountainous country.
Meals consist mostly of a soup like Goulash, marinated cabbage salad with bell peppers (ever present in Hungarian cooking) and pork.  It’s no use hoping for cheese or deserts to finish the meal, as one does in many countries.  We have read about “Gundel” pancakes but we haven’t tasted any.
Our stay in Hungary ends tomorrow at the end of the morning and we can sum it up by saying:  we met no one, which is a definite change after Romania
Yesterday evening, the whole team was worn out.  The word that everyone used was “exhausting”.  There are few places where the van can stop, the team feels cut off from Serge physically and mentally and refueling takes place in a religious silence.  In spite of a few bright patches in a cloudy sky, the wind is glacial.  Serge isn’t running comfortably, especially during the second part of the stage.  There is a spectacular range of temperatures, from early morning frost and like yesterday   25°C in the sun.  It is tough on the body.  Serge complains about his knee but doesn’t want us to touch it, in spite of Dr. Roattino’s recommendation to use passive joint mobilization.
I am tired of having Serge complain about pains and having to fight to try to relieve his suffering!

Town : Zalatarnok

GPS : N 46.41’29.8° E 016.44’22.8 °