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Andy and Eric begin home stretch

By By Chris Whitaker / staff writer
June 25, 2002
Andy and Eric Armstrong reached the home stretch of their European bicycle trip on Monday, entering the country of Hungary.
Andy, 58, and his grandson Eric, 15, started their trip May 31 from Paris, France, and were planning to reach Budapest, Hungary, by the end of June. They are ahead of schedule and two days from their final destination.
The two started their ride Monday just outside Gyor, Hungary. Andy said they were out of maps and unsure of which way to go. So, they got directions and followed a road alongside some railroad tracks.
Before they knew it, the road turned to dirt and then a path made by car wheels.
They stopped Monday night in Komarom, Hungary. Andy said the hotel where they stayed had four swimming pools.
Monday was dull compared to the weekend. Andy and Eric started Saturday in Krem, Austria. They rode through vineyards and came upon a town with expressways.
Andy and Eric met an older man on a bike who complimented them for their determination in finishing the trip. In Wein, Austria, a group of Southern Baptist Convention missionaries gave Andy directions to follow the Danube River out of the city.
Andy and Eric were following the river when they saw a nude beach. Eric said that he and his grandfather "couldn't close our eyes because we had to watch the road."
Andy agreed: "For a conservative Baptist deacon, that was weird. It was the funniest thing I've ever seen and the scariest." He said he thought he had seen everything until a nude bike rider passed by.
Next, Andy said they decided to stop and ask for directions because they didn't think they were making progress. They met a man, Wolfgang, who drove them back to the road out of Wein.
Next, they met another man, Gerhardt, who drove them to Orth, Austria. Andy said he and Eric ate at the "neatest restaurant" inside the Danubis Hotel.
That night they saw a parade celebrating the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. He said a marching band played, six firemen carried a dead Christmas tree and two tractors followed.
On Sunday they passed through Slovakia in two hours. He said Slovakia's currency was unavailable no Euro and it didn't accept his credit card.
Andy is ready for the trip to be over because he is starting to become homesick.