We were atop the "iron curtain". Looking down at old border crossing stations now being used to houses Syrian refugees. Hundreds of former "detainee" buildings that had sat vacant since the end of the Cold War have been repurposed and offered as a roof over the heads of those who fled their neighboring country. These people had to go somewhere and these run down monuments to a terrible time in history seemed like the best option.
Graffitied covered buildings with many of the windows boarded up line our bike path. People sitting in lawn chairs sat watching us pedal by.
The spaces they had to live in were like 8x 6 cells or holding tanks. Theses boxes with windows in the doors were used to lock citizens up who were trying to enter the country illegally. During a time when armed guards and trained military lined this border crossing to protect their way of life. The only "way" they had ever known.
From above the housing units looked like a storage or warehouse facility. In many respects, it is. Rows and rows of doors with windows above. Dressing rooms. Painted blue to cover up the obscenities painted in graffiti in German or Chec.
Some men were busy fixing the roof of one section by draping a tarp and cementing it to the sides of one unit. Others were blocking windows with bricks. We suspected the broken windows were broken and not expected to be replaced so the new inhabitants of this "Cold War prison camp" were busy trying to keep the elements out of their new homes.
There was an old bunker, pill box off to our left with other remains of the war. We were riding single file because the wind was driving right at us. A wind tunnel raged thru this portion of of the ride.
We were at the end of our 28 miles, maybe mile 26.
I was up in front when I heard the crash.
Men's voices yelping, metal meeting, cloth sliding on pavement ... I turned my bike to find Mark on top of his bike on top of Roger. Both men unable to speak, the wind knocked out of them.
I saw blood on Marks helmet and thought "this can't be good". He crawled of Roger and found a patch of grass where he stayed on his hands and knees, protecting his head. I asked him about the blood on his helmet, he could not speak. I touched his back, he yelped, 'my ribs'...
Lynnette uncovered Roger.
Drafting on a bike works best if the person in front knows you are doing just that... Because when Lynette went to brake she had no idea she would set this pile up in motion.
As we sat on the "iron curtain" wondering how injured our husbands were, it occurred to us: what does one do in Slovakia when injured in a desolate bike path? Who do you call? How do you call them?
Fortunately our guys were like "weebles" who wobble but don't stay down. The blood on his helmet was from his hands. Mark injured his ribs...Roger his knee. Both powered through.
We sat at a pub nursing the wounds of the day and pondering the "luck of our birth". To be born free. To have never lived with the fear of those who have sought refuge.
To be a little bruised on the bike trip of a life time...is hardly worth blogging about.
Yet, this was our very blessed and humbling day in Slovakia!
Today we visit Budapest!