Serbia, Hungary, Decathlon
Serbia goes flat in the north, and big agriculture extends for miles in all directions. Easy cycling, though less inspiring than the mountains, and typically a headwind comes in the afternoons. Regular little towns and occasional fruit trees offer resupply opportunities. The bigger towns are interesting and enjoyable, and far enough apart that it makes sense to linger a while. At Kikinda, for example, the football club are kind enough to let me use their showers, and it is fun to pass by bike shop, bakery, and town square cafes.
Without the benefit of altitude to escape mosquitoes, or a sail for shelter from rain, the nights are now usually quite uncomfortable, to the extent that I give in and order a tent, to be delivered to friend and contact Patrik in Slovakia.
Before that is Hungary. The EuroVelo 11 route up through the east of the country is mostly flat, following the river Tisza. Again the highlights are the bigger, more comfortable towns where it is pleasant to relax a while. The cycle infrastructure is generally excellent, and many of the routes along the top of levies are traffic (though not mosquito) free. Nice for listening to podcasts, providing you don't stop...
A rare opportunities for a swim and getting clean is where the water is backed up into a lake upstream of a dam. Along this part is also angling land. Hungarian anglers seem disposed to organise their junk into bin bags (already a big step forward from the Romanian angler) but they haven't yet got the hang of taking the bin bags away with them when they leave. Those who enjoy natural spaces - angler, picnicer, whatever - we see you! And leaving shit is leaving shit!
Sitting out a thunderstorm, I finally realise that (additional to the extravagance of a tent) some decent wet weather gear can be justified. Interweb tells me there's a jacket just a 30k detour away! What excitement. When I arrive at Miskolc late on Sunday night there is also a compound-full of vacant tents to sleep in, a car wash (had been a real muddy day...) and a Burger King (vegetarian whopper and yeah! let's go meal on that)!
So already feeling MUCH better prepared as I approach Slovakia - location of the European watershed for drainage into the Atlantic Ocean, Black Sea or Baltic Sea, depending upon which side of the hill you stand...