Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Beograd thats their translation

the road into Belgrade was a bit on the wild side. even though the donau was near to me their was no cycle path with it. The night before id studied the map and found a 'b' road that would take me in avoiding all the new road and all its traffic. certainly not the case, i think everyone was hitting my road to avoid the toll costs and probably by the looks of their vehicles would not have coped with the fast roads, i wonder if they have mot's here some off the vehicles seemed to be held together with string let alone could they go much faster than me, which when they do manage to overtake the black smoke from them fills the oxygen starved lungs. The last village i entered before belgrade i stoped for lunchin  a park i found a bench and tucked in to the soft cheese tomatoe and bread and a lemonade riddler basicly its a shandy. Soon i must have caught the intrest of a group of  young lads who cautiously ventured towards me,soon they sent the smallest up to me and he spoke serbian, i had a bit of fun cruel i know but replied i  welsh, very puzzled he returned to his friends scratching his head, after a bit of debate the biggest came forward and spoke to me in very good english , hello do you speak english, a little i grunted, where are you from,'wales,'yes i know wales you play good rugby, at this point he had broken me and  so i did my best to speak much better english soon the other group gathered round and as boys have that look of hunger i offered them some of my loaf which they demolished with gusto, we talked and i found out that i was having my lunch in their school grounds. As i was doing my best to save some of the bread for myself one of the boys brought this man over to me who introduced himself as the school boss and would i like to have a look in their school which i accepted and spent the next hour looking in the classrooms and most importantly their english books. children i serbia start school much in line with the other countries ive visited at the age of 7, finish school at15 either do military service or go to college but it can be both, they can drink and smoke at 16, no car till their 18.

After lunch break i headed into Belgrade and the last 10 miles were on the river path which was very pretty and soon into a very concrete worn out city, i didnt expect their to be so much of the old city standing after the nato bombing in the 90s but a lot is just about standing and thats not because of the bombing. The language and signage is all greek alphabet and so you really feel as if your away from home. The people are'all friendly and ive had so many bravos and honk on the horns in welcome i think i have not seen any othertourers since bratislavia and so i guess im an odity every time i stop for a map read or water break im aproached. So this is what i can say'of serbia poor ruggid but rich and beautiful in its character and energy. I go tomorrow to my last country before greece, macedonia a day and a half cycling and i will be in greece and boy im going to hit the hills then but im so looki g forward to seeing the sea, love to all of you x

Wild camping or rough camping!

So from  Bratislavia,Slovakia  I headed down the canal and the paths were excelent,  we are talking tarmac without holes. o good in fact that it seemed to be used by the poulaton of Bratislavia, roller bladers everywhere you could easly have thought you were in LA. In fact roller blading has taken over the mode of transport of bike and im not sure if ive mentoned this but 'Nordic walking' is a thing of the past. Chris and I ventured on these Nordic walkers all down the canal its walking with the use of 2 walking sticks. They seem out of place as we both thought  that you needed those for montain climbing, talking to those that know they say that its supposed to  use more energy to use them and also makes you more flexible the good doctor and i thought not. Anyway it gets them out walking and thats a good thing. But they have dissapeared and the rollers have taken over. So much in fact that they have bilt another tarmaced path for the cyclists!
My first night out of Vienna ended after 65 miles and i slept by the river in my tent free of chage this i would call wild camping. The next day saw me up at 5 and continued cycling along the river into Hungary and towards a huge lake in the centre of the country. The landscape changed and became more ruggid and the houses more worn out some of them did not look fit to live in. I passed a dad on a worn out motor bike that was pulling a trailer with his wife son and baby on board i was doing 25 they were struggling to do 10mph  when theres smoke pouring out of the exhaust i thnk its time for an overhaul!

The miles clicked away  and soon the sun set and i realised i was not going to make my destonation i switched on my back lights and held my torch, bracket gone on other bike, I decided to make camp somewhere soon but cold i find anywhere. Miles and much darkness and the beeping of horns later i turn down a little road and find a suitable space on top of a verge in an area just big enough to pitch the tent. I cooked some dinner of baked beans and instant mash and slept till 5 having cycled 188 miles. My next day was good cross country cycling, the donau route went a different way to my straight as the crow flies to Greece, budapest will have to wait for another time, and I headed to the border of Serbia where i met up with the Donau again found a nice pitch by the river where i shared a camp fire and some beers and some caught fish. we sang some of their songs and i tried to teach them some welsh ones, Great night. The next day I headed into Serbia which turned out to be Croatia the three borders are all cose, passport contol first for ages and very strict wanted to see in my bags the smelly socks put them off pretty quick. Within a couple of hours I went outand  just as strict and I got some strange looks as my passport was stamped again with same date on it. Serbia control was tough  control too and I was asked where i was going to greece i replied what is wrong with here they said oh nothing i love croatia its a great country, but you are in serbia oops. That night i was looking for a camp site, when i stopped for a water break next to a farmer selling water mellons. he enquired if   i wanted to by one of his mellons  sorry no room, where you sleep i shrug my shoulders, you sleep here pointing to his barn so i set up in his hay barn. I see him loading up the melons into is wagon so as a thankyou i give him a hand and am rewarded with a huge mellon boy was it good for tea and breakfast. Sleeping in the hay was really comftable woke up to a pig snorting in my ear, oh the life on the open road.