Around the World on a Bicycle

In 1884, the 29 year old Thomas Stevens set out from San Fransisco on the 'modern mechanical invention' of the Penny Farthing to circumnavigate the globe on his 'big wheel'. His book - "Around the World on a Bicycle" - was published in 1888 and his writings are presented here in blog form. Read more in the archive.

Sport and Adventure

Nine wheelmen accompany me some distance out of Budapest on Monday morning, and Mr. Philipovitz and two other members continue with Igali and me to Duna Pentele, some seventy-five miles distant; this is our first sleeping-place, the captain making his guest until our separation and departure in different directions next morning.

During the fierce heat of mid-day we halt for about three hours at Adony, and spend a pleasant after-dinner tour examining the trappings and trophies of a noted sporting gentleman, and witnessing a lively and interesting set-to with fencing foils. There is everything in fire-arms in his cabinet, from an English double-barrelled shot-gun to a tiny air-pistol for shooting flies on the walls of his sitting-room; he has swords, oars, gymnastic paraphernalia - in fact, everything but boxing gloves.

Arriving at Duna Pentele early in the evening, before supper we swim for an hour in the waters of the Danube. At 9.30 P.M. two of our little company board the up-stream-bound steamer for the return home, and at ten o'clock we are proposing to retire for the night, when lo, in come a half-dozen gentlemen, among them Mr. Ujvarii, whose private wine-cellar is celebrated all the country round, and who now proposes that we postpone going to bed long enough to pay a short visit to his cellar and sample the "finest wine in Hungary." This is an invitation not to be resisted by ordinary mortals, and accordingly we accept, following the gentleman and his friends through the dark streets of the village.

Along the dark, cool vault penetrating the hill-side Mr. Ujvarii leads the way between long rows of wine-casks, heber* held in arm like a sword at dress parade. The heber is first inserted into a cask of red wine, with a perfume and flavor as agreeable as the rose it resembles in color, and carried, full, to the reception end of the vault by the corpulent host with the stately air of a monarch bearing his sceptre. After two rounds of the red wine, two hebers of champagne are brought - champagne that plays a fountain of diamond spray three inches above the glass. The following toast is proposed by the host: "The prosperity and welfare of England, America, and Hungary, three countries that are one in their love and appreciation of sport and adventure." The Hungarians have all the Anglo-American love of sport and adventure.

* A glass combination of tube and flask, holding about three pints, with an orifice at each end and the bulb or flask near the upper orifice; the wine is sucked up into the flask with the breath, and when withdrawn from the cask the index finger is held over the lower orifice, from which the glasses are filled by manipulations of the finger.

Posted in stevens blog by Stuart on Monday 08th Jun 1885 (23:24 +0200) | Add a comment | Permalink

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