Friday, 24 November 2017
E3: Hungary: Aföldi Kektura
This time in Hungary I was walking on the Aföldi Kektura through the Pannonian Lowlands. I had already known in the planning stage that it is not a good idea to hike here in the middle of the summer. And all my expectations came true: It was flat - I mean really flat. In the beginning there was a lot of road walking and no shade. And it was hot. There were no lakes to swim in and the water in the irrigation canals was so disgusting that I could not even use it for washing up. But I went into every public swimming pool along the way!
My only big town stop in Hungary was Debrecen where I stayed in a brand new air conditioned pension. I could even wash all my clothes there. Timing was perfect: I was in town when a big storm dropped rain in buckets and the temperatures! I made one last big shopping trip to Aldi. It made smile that in Debrecen Aldi is located right next to the Grand Casino! Aldi attracted by far more visitors - at least during the day ...
Another encounter was not that friendly ... Shortly before the border I was stopped by an old guy on an even older motorbike. I took him for a homeless person asking for a cigarette or money and briskly walked on. But he kept yelling at me in Hungarian and follow me along an irrigation canal. I was already considering to defend myself physically when he finally left. But ten minutes later a different but equally unkempt guy showed up on a mountain bike. At least now I understood one word: Kektura - which is the name of the trail I was hiking on. When I signalled that I was just a hiker the guy relaxed and disappeared.
Both men had worn high-visibility jackets with the inscription "Polgarörsek". When I googled that word I got scared: it meant "militia"! First I thought I had met some self-proclaimed sherriffs but later Hungarians told me that these "second-class policemen" are actually appointed by local counties. Their goal is to deter from petty crime and protect nature reserves. Apparantly they had taken me for an illegal immigrant ...The offical E3 trail crosses the border at Letavertes but that would have involved 60 km of roadwalking in Romania. Instead I continued on the Kektura and crossed at Artand - after walking through endless fields in the summer heat.