Where did the spring go ?????
We started off on February 16th in a snow covered Göteborg. It was cold and snowy all the way through Sweden and for the first 2-3 days in Poland.
In central Poland we had two days with nice spring weather. For a short time Poland offered sun on our faces, wind on our backs and nice temperatures and we couldn’t have asked for anything better.
Then Slovakia and Hungary joined forces and showed us what it’s like to cycle in a real blizzard.
Romania welcomed us with such strong headwind and cold temperatures that we only managed to cycle 35 km. The day after she had changed her mind and offered the best spring day so far. Sunshine, +15 degrees and a slight tailwind. Then she changed her mind again and offered us winter for the third time during this cycle tour.
Our aim for the day was Medias, but we had also checked that we could opt out earlier and stay in one of the towns before Medias which had some motels.
Maybe we should sell our bikes and go with this thing instead. Much faster:-) Look at the flags – the wind was on our backs
It was raining a little when we left and soon it soon turned into a mix of snow and rain. There was a slight little wind on our backs and we could move at a good speed. The landscape was rather dull and the snow and rain mix soon changed into pure snow fall.
To follow our procedures we had a coffee and a sandwich at a gas station. All our gloves were wet so we put them on top of the heater while trying to let the lower part of the heater warm up our toes. We bought a number of cups of coffee to have an excuse for staying inside. Outside the weather got worse and we stayed longer in the warm gas station than we had initially planned.
After leaving the gas station we turned to a smaller road. The quality of this road was B-A-D and for a while we thought we were back in Tajikistan again. The good thing with that road was that there were hardly any cars – I suspect it has something to do with the quality of the surface of the road.
Wej having coffee while gloves are drying on the heater.
The weather forecast had promised anything between 0 to -2 degrees, rain and some snow and moderate winds from the northeast. We knew we had to climb three hills of about 200 vertical meters each. The two first hills went just fine. The wind was strong and it was snowing and we felt more like being in the north of Europe rather than the south. We passed the motels we had checked out advance and all were closed for the season.
The altitude profile of today
Hill number three was a different story. The snow fall had increased and the road started to get a snow cover. We slowly biked up the switchbacks and had quite good grip. The cars seemed to have more problems than us so everytime a car approached us we stopped to let it pass. Unlike the car drivers we were not worried about not getting up, but we were worried that it was getting dark.
Wej saw an abandoned and empty house beside the road with no windows and suggested that we put up our tent in it, but without any supplies for cooking something to eat we were not too tempted and went on.
Less than 200 meters beyond the highest point of the road on our way down we saw a truck and some cars that had got stuck. The police was there to try to organize things and I guess they were not too happy when two tourists on bicycles appeared in the mess and for a brief moment we feared that they wouldn’t let us continue. When approaching the scene one of the officers pointed at us and said:
– you, bicycleta, walk !!!
We interpreted it as he wanted us to walk past the truck that had got stuck, which we did and kept walking until we got to the next curve. Out of sight for the police officers we saw our chance. The truck that had got stuck blocked all traffic going down which meant that we had the road all to ourselves until things behind us had been sorted out.
A truck on its way down.
The road was very icy and we tried to ride on the hard snow on the side. After a while my brakes clogged up and although I tried to clean them up they didn’t provide enough breaking power. I then tried a new style of cycling. I simply sat on my top tube with one foot sliding on the icy road to gently break my descent from the mountain. It must have looked funny and in order to wear my shoes evenly on both sides I kept changing breaking shoe from left to right a couple of times.
Eventually we heard the truck that had got stuck approaching us from behind and after it a long line of cars. We stopped to let them pass and then continued down to the city of Medias.
Medias is a medival city built in a circle and with gates to enter and exit the central parts. We had some difficulties finding our way into the main square but once there we saw a big sign ”Hotel Traube”. Three stars below the name on the sign promised that this could be something for us. It was a Friday night and a large group of young people who were not completely sober were standing in front the hotel shouting loudly to each other and to them we must have looked like men from Mars. Imagine a snowy Friday night, you are out with your friends to have some beers and all of a sudden two people completely covered in snow come riding on fully loaded bicycles that are equally covered in snow.
I brushed off most of the snow, made my way through large group of partygoers and went in to the reception and yes, they had rooms, and our bikes could be stored in their storage room.
The hotel was in a very old house and we got a room on the top floor with a view of the roofs of central Medias. The room was carefully renovated and had kept it’s old charm with visable wooden details and furniture. All for the sum of 250 SK or about 30 Euro.
The slippery road, the fading daylight, the problems with my breaks, pollice and to monitor the road in front of you as well as keeping an eye if any car came from behind made us quite stressed and once in a warm and dry hotel room it was hard to get ready to go out to find something to eat.
Now we think we have had enough of winters this trip.
We want spring number 3 to come now…… 🙂