It was time to leave Budapest today, but not before we tried to sort out a problem that’s been literally keeping us awake at night. One of our Thermarest sleeping mats started to delaminate a few days ago. This means it develops a big bubble in the middle of the mat and is a bit like trying to sleep with a balloon under you – far from comfortable. The same thing happened in Morocco with our other mat and Thermarest kindly and swiftly sent out a replacement under their lifetime guarantee. Great customer service.
At the time, they had also suggested trying their distributors. That didn’t work for us in Morocco but since we were in a capital city on this occasion we thought we’d cycle out to Budapest’s Thermarest representative to see what they could do. Some good luck got us through a set of locked doors and into the right office, even with an English-Hungarian translator in tow to get our message across. The poor woman in the office didn’t know quite what to make of us but she called her boss who spoke excellent English and quickly sorted us out with a new mattress.
Success! And another gold star in our book for Thermarest. This time, however, we decided to try a different model of sleeping mat – the Z-Rest Lite, a closed-cell foam pad – and we’ll see if it holds up better to our intensive use. To give an idea of just what we were asking of our sleeping mats, we stayed in our tent about 170 times before the second mat gave up on us. That’s the equivalent of taking a 2-week camping holiday every year for 12 years. We’re still impressed with the Thermarest self-inflating mattresses, but maybe they’re not quite designed for the type of extended trip we’re doing. We’ll certainly keep you updated on our experiences with the foam pad.
Our second task was to get Friedel a badly needed new pair of shoes. This proved rather more difficult since none of the bike shops we entered sold shoes or knew where we could buy any. Finally we stumbled on a shop that at first told us they didn’t have the right size but then a worker chased us just as we were leaving, shouting “come back, come back”. Somehow they managed to unearth a pair that fit perfectly and we left Budapest quite pleased with our new purchases.
Our afternoon was spent dawdling along the Danube, heading upstream towards Bratislava. It was uncomfortably hot for the fourth day in a row and we stopped for a long break under a shady tree at midday. We are now thinking of getting up at 5am or some such hour to try and get an early start before the heat gets up. Afternoon siestas are definitely required.