Let me say this up front: what I am now going to relate to you was our nicest and longest leg so far. We started from Kovin at 6.53 a.m.. Going through GAJ and DUBOVAC, we intended to arrive in STARA PALANKE in time to get the ferry to RAM at the opposite side of the river Danube.
We ate our breakfast in Gaj in front of a pizzeria/discotheque. The chocolate croissants from the bakery next door were extremely delicious. They were still warm from the oven! In front of the bakery, two ladies have opened their fruit stall. We enjoy the chocolate croissants along with our “Turkish” coffee and buy a kilogram of cherries. What a nice start to the day.
The streets are well built and relatively traffic-free. We ride on a dam for the last 5 kilometres before the ferry station. It is still wet and muddy.
As we approach the ferry station at 9.20 a.m., we already see the ferry full of cars. However, it seems we are out of luck: it is just departing. Arriving at the “harbour”, it is almost near enough to touch, but the skipper ignores us.
When does the next ferry depart? I get two answers: at one o’clock and at two o’clock. Both departure times would seriously turn our itinerary topsy-turvy. What now? Either we ride the detour on the Romanian side (around 80 kilometres), or else we wait.
Suddenly I see some fisher boats. Near one of them, the fisherman is just collecting the nets, so I ask him (using my hands and feet for talking) if he would be prepared to ferry us across. No problem, is what he says (all in the language of hands and feet) – and readies his boat.
I try to discuss a price for the transfer with him, but this is hopeless. However, I want to get to the opposite side, so we load the boat with our bikes and luggage.
20 minutes later, we arrive at the opposite side. I offer the boatman money for his service, want to give it to him, but he says no. He says this is Serbia, where people help each other for free. All of a sudden, he understands some German. He used to be a Yugoslavian policeman and is proud of it. I accept the free ferry ride.
Then come another hundred beautiful kilometres We are always riding next to the river Danube, on well-tended streets, with nearly no cars. There are inclines and hotels, and again and again the vista of the river Danube, the “Iron Gate”, the castle of Dubovac, everything is just unbelievable! You have to have ridden your bike on this road.
We arrive in Donji Milanovac at 9.15 p.m. I ask a policeman the way to a hotel. He recommends a private lodging, the look of which is such a disappointment that we again look for a hotel. Another 100 metres uphill. But at least the hotel has acceptable standards. It is really big, has lots of rooms and a loud discotheque.
But our room has an excellent view to the great river that has been running through his riverbed for an eternity.
We eat our dinner and go to sleep. This is already the second evening without internet access. I write the articles as stock.
(translated by EG)