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18/11/10 – 19/11/10 – Osijiec to Novi Sad and Belgrade – Rakija?

December 10, 2010
by

deep beer man

shall we take the bus?

nah lets stick with the Danners

So our first night in Serbia starts with our best attempt at secluded camping in the barren and coverless area of north west serbia in pitch dark. The morning reveals that we definitely werent as well hidden as we had hoped – but we werent disturbed in the night apart from some stray and pondering headlights. we wake and make breakfast and marvel at the resiliance of the little slugs to get everywhere over the period of one nights sleep (how did that get in my sleeping bag??)

first puncture, what a douche.

wave

 

The road into Novi Sad is pretty dull and quite busy. we stop at a petrol station for a pot wash and I attempt to remove Mathias burnt pastas from the pan (a frenchman that can’t cook pasta!). while slaving away in the toilet a very curious Serbian man approaches the others and marvels at our mode of travel, shakes our hands and drives off. we think nothing of it until he returns 15 minutes later with a bottle of locally produced Rakija for us to take on the road. the stuff will have your eyes out but we are honoured – we have heard much about the hospitality of the Serbs and our first day has started pretty well! we set off a little wobbily from the petrol station and continue on our way, even high fiving a hitchiker – though i think he wasnt impressed.

Oil Punk Bus

mathias youve got some burned pastas caught in your moustache

novi sad doesnt like facebook

 

We find a convenient turn off the dull road that takes us into Futog and back onto the Eurovelo that we left behind in order to make up a bit of time – the bike lane takes us along the Danube and exposes the vast extent of dredging thats going on along its coast line. The river is a mighty force of nature and a sight to behold but it holds far more industrial than scenic qualities. its a shame as a visitor in some ways as I was hoping for a beautiful ride along a mighty river but more often the waters edge is dominated by heavy machinery or vast lack of respect (ie rubbish) which is a shame. Although saying this, the only real times we get to cycle next to it are when we are entering towns so the industry is understandable – the rest of the time there is no waterside path to take as its pretty overgrown, which is also a quality I suppose, we just dont get to see it.

our lidl hero

remember this place usher / hammond / miller / manning ?

novi sad blocks

 

So we get into Novi Sad fairly effortlessly and memories of my time at Exit Festival quickly re-emerge. I even find the spot where I spent many early mornings laying off the hangover by the rivers edge (the one place I have found where you can sit undisturbed by the water!) and our old campsite. ah, the joys of reminiscence! Novi Sad proves a bit of a headache however as we struggle to find a supermarket, and we need to get online to sort out some overrunning financial difficulties.

We find a supermarket and I get chatting to a man outside who warns me of homosexuals in Serbia, saying theyre very dangerous. he also tells me if i need any money, i should call him, and he gives me his number. wasnt quite sure how to take this gesture, but it seemed friendly all the same.

We find our way eventually out of the city and are back in the same situation of trying to find camp in the dark. We pass a beautifully lit church and think that they wouldnt turn us away for one night, and their grounds are quite conveniently hidden, flat and grassy. perfect. we think about telling them we’re pilgrims if they find us, but its probably not worth it.

our saviour church

 

Good sleep and we’re up early in the morning with Mathias Coffee. We are packing down and are greeted by a french speaking member of the church – a theologian named Joseph, who spends a good while talking to us about the history of the church and wondering why we are doing such a stupid thing like riding bikes in winter. he doesnt even mention that we may be camping on the church land, and even asks us how many nights we are staying! we tell him only one and get back on the road.

The road to Belgrade – our final stretch before another rest. We utilised the great facility of warm showers for our time in Belgrade and found someone who was willing to put us up when we arrive – I phone ahead to double check and he is concerned that we may not sleep well at his place because he’s throwing a party when we arrive! we are all too happy to attend.

morning!

 

So the road is not as long as we originally thought but its really busy and is quite hilly to begin with. we stop for a short rest and come across Matt and Debby, two english cyclists travlling from the UK to South Africa. we have a small chat like a bike convention on the side of the road and cycle along as a 5 piece into Belgrade – its great to be cycling with so many other people!

roadside bike convention

cycing behind mathias

 

They take a slightly different road and we push on into the city, following the Eurovelo which provides us our most comfortable entry to a city to date, riding along the danube and taking cycle lanes right into the heart of town. It starts to rain and we need to find internet again as Julian is hoping to meet Stealth Unlimited in Belgrade and we need to find out if that meeting can still take place. We look hard for a cafe with internet but to no avail.

childish

 

I stop outside FINOVINO (very posh looking wine shop – if he sells wine he may know a bar surely) to ask if there is a bar with wifi in the area and he says we can use his wifi. so we go into his shop, grubby and soaking, and use the computer that is sunk into his oak table. He then cracks open a bottle of fine Argentinian red and pours us all a glass. What a welcome! we get quite drunk and cant quite believe the unquestioning hospitality of our host. He even buys us pizza from across the road! I love Serbia.

We eat the pizza very hungrily but alas, its not quite enough, so we order the biggest serbian burgers you have ever seen –  and just a snip at £1.50. we gorge and gorge until we cant physically eat any more.

good lanes into BG

 

Now its time to go to the party – but how do we get to this guys house? its way out of town. we ask the propriator and he offers to show us the way, so jumps on his scooter and we follow him through town to the bridge we need to cross. the bridge is huge and really busy, but we’re drunk enough to be foolish enough to get across it on the bikes. its raining and there is no visibility, but its a blast and we make it across in one piece – the most exhilarating cycle to date! we get to the party soaking wet, and Rade our host is waiting for us with a bottle of beer and more food! Welcome to Belgrade!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 10, 2010 9:14 pm

    “I love Serbia” too.

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