Sunday, 24 June 2012

Day 22 - 27 Calafat to Bela Crkva (Serbia). 319km (total 1206km)

Thats what I always say.  They keyboard is Serbian, so advance apologies for this taking me so long. Not that you'll notice, obviously.  Its john this time, by the way, after a long time off the keys.  I lost the mojo for writing them, so lets see how this goes.

Romanian traffic was a nightmare. ROADHOGS!
As i told you, (via a clue), we are now sat in Serbia! That's exciting.  We've covered a lot of Km's since the last post, at least it feels that way.  We're working things out, working out our pace and meeting people with more information about roads ahead.  Its been physically harder than id thought (my age???? I hope not), due to the heat, which is way over 30 every day, and near the 40 mark sometimes. This puts the pressures on the body, but also mentally challenging.  So we've had our ups and downs, but its all part of the game isnt it.  Laura has been a right powerhouse, and handling things really well.  I put on a brave face and weep inside instead.

So we hugged the south and western Romanian border with Serbia, following the Danube.  Capitalizing on the beautiful flat and notching up the distance nicely.  Camping and accommodation has been trickier than I'd thought.  Wild/free camping is actually legal in Romania, its just a case of hiding from nosey's and the omnipresent barking dogs.  I've had enough of dogs.  Although as laura says it could have been worse, it was still annoying.  They are fast and make a lot of noise and want our food.  So we've been 'pushed' into some pretty swanky hotels for lack of choice.  Having said that, once you're checked in and showered, the pool and air-con are a welcome change to the furnace that is being outside on the tarmac. 

The scenery from Orsova and along the river, with Serbia on the other side is stunning.    Its been a beautiful ride, with mysterious Serbia keeping watch.  All the little villages we pass through continued to be friendly and welcoming, our waving arms getting almost as tired as our legs.  I did see a sign of foul play though, in this depressing crime scene...

Someone's robbed the no doubt sweet rims off this Lada

We've been meeting other cyclists, (all but one going the other way to us- did we do our research??) from all over the place.  Its great to meet people doing the same things and feeling the same pain.  Though we've been a bit privately embarrassed at the daily distances that some people manage.  We've settled at about 70-90km a day, and our latest rest-day strategy is a short 25 or 30km ride and then stop.  I feel better to get some distance done, although I know that the rush is not important.

Nice spot

Bad spot. Truck stop camping! Concrete surface, which had been nicely  heated by the roasting
sun.  The tent was like sleeping in a pizza oven.  We worked out the reason 2 days later.

We had an AWFUL nights camp the other day, leading to zero sleep and some stress to boot, which gave us an early morning start.  End result was an unintentional 80km ride on no sleep, not being able to find camping or a hotel in Romania, and opting to reluctantly push over the border into Serbia and stop where we are resting up now.  Its not ideal to go into a country on a bike, having not slept for about 36 hours, with no money, no language, and no knowledge of where to sleep.  Luckily the border guard was nice and spoke english OK, and here we are.  However! all this camping bashing is not fair, as we do like camping.  Just yet to find that 'killer spot', un-aided.   It has led to some funny nights drinking cheaper than water beer with a fine cross section of people that don't speak a single word of English, and you cant beat those kind of nights, no sir-ree!

The food is boring, as we sort of expected.  Vegetarian for Laura translates as "you will only eat salad and bread", again..  
Another drive-by mulberry raid gets messy

If our van Roo was a Romanian builder, this would be her.  NICE! I want one.
Beautiful people who took is in from a thunder and lightning rain storm and fed us coffee and
home brew prune liqueur while we dried off.  Nice!
Just catch those chickens quick!!  They had 70 rabbits too..
Post coca cola'd laura ready to jump back into the frying pan again and get moving

We are only 2 days away from Belgrade, and from there, only 6 days ish from Budapest -  Halfway point!!  Feels great.  


1 comment:

  1. Always nice to hear how you guys are gettin along, but sorry to hear it's been a hard few weeks. Worry not, it'll get easier the more west you go right?