It is now four days since we started our journey by bike. Today is Wednesday, June, 3rd. We are setting out for Belgrad.
In BESNA, our accommodations were beautiful. Besna lies at a geological height of 150 metres. After another excellent breakfast, we start our day. Today, everything is just fine: wonderfully small roads, hardly any cars, that is how we like it. Unfortunately, not all the roads were like this. Sometimes the traffic was just atrocious.
From Croatia on and also in Serbia, the cyclist’s path “Danube” does not deserve its name. This is simply not what I call a cyclist’s idea of a nice path. On the contrary: it is a struggle for survival in the middle of motorized traffic. A blue sign alone does not convert a street with high traffic into a cyclist’s path!
Immediately after our departure, we ride down a recess, we traverse the Autoput. 36 years ago (in 1973) we took it on the way to Greece with our VW beetle. Now it looks like a motorway, but immediately behind the bridge, you can see a construction site. Traffic is redirected. Memories stir.
Then we get nearer to Belgrad (Beograd): traffic increases dramatically. In order to avoid the traffic, we ride on a “minor road that is in good condition for riding a bike through”. In essense, this road is a mud-wrestling. After 10 kilometres, that, too lies behind us. Before us is Belgrad.
In Belgrad, we meet Miro and Rosmarie. They are older than we, I would guess their age between 65 and 70. Rosmarie speaks an extremely refined German. She comes from Namibia. Miro is a Serb and was born in Belgrad.
Both of them live in the North of Munich. In Belgrad, Miro maintains the house he was born in, where he invites as to beer and a sandwich snack. We learn a lot about Serbia. We talk about waste. Miro used to be a machine engineer and now his hobby is gardening. He fights against all this plastic waste and for differentiation between tomato brands.
The meeting ends up being a (too) long lunch break, which is not at all nice for our itinerary. As a consolation, we now have a sophisticated road map to lead us through Belgrad. Our next goal is Kovin.
From Miro, I also learn why so few ships can be seen on the Danube. The debris of the bridges destroyed by the NATO in Novi Sad makes it impossible for the great freighters to get through. Only Russian passenger steamers manage.
We, however, have to speed up. Early in the evening, a hailstorm builds up. Shortly afterwards, it starts raining and a strong wind is blowing from behind. Thus, we can now really go at full speed.
We arrive around 7 p.m. and take the first pension we see. It is hardly worth mentioning, but from the outside, it looks nice.
Tomorrow, we will ride towards the Iron Gate. We want to cross the Iron Gate on the Serbian side of the Danube. In order to do so, we have to take the ferry from STARA PALANKA to RAM. This ferry, however, only leaves at intervals of three hours. We would like to catch the one leaving in the morning (41 kilometres from Bezna).
In other words: we have to get up early!
(translated by EG)