Category Archives: Serbia

Tajik to Drobeta-Turnu-Severin, Romania


From our rented room in Tajik we managed quite an early start with no tent to pack away and were on the road by 9.40.

20160605_102801Before crossing the huge dam for hydro electricity into Romania, we went a little beyond the dam to the remains of a Roman fortress Castra Diana. We thought it would be worth a visit, especially as it’s named after the Roman Goddess Diana.

As we traveled along the road we saw a group of cyclists stopped on the other side of the road. We stopped in case they needed tools for a repair and found they were a group of Romanians escaping local election day and heading for the Serbian hills for a day out. They took our details , advised us where to find a bike shop  in Drobeta and suggested we meet up again.

20160605_104944The fortress was very over20160605_111700grown with grass and wild flowers. Twice seeing snakes in the long grass made us cautious as we walked through the site. It was fascinating walking through structures that had been there for nearly 2000 years…. the Castra was built in around 100 AD

Along the road and into the village of Novi Sep we stopped to buy a few provisions.

However, due to a heavy downpour of rain and some hail, we stopped for longer than planned. As we stood in the shop doorway we watched lighting and heard loud claps of thunder right overhead.

20160605_132752Thunderstorm over after about an hour, we cycled back towards the dam on very wet roads to cross over into Romania, our 9th country.

Passports checked as we left Serbia and again as we entered Romania, we joined a busy trunk road towards Drobeta Turnu Severin with successions of articulated lorries in both directions.

The town is laid out in a grid, so navigating the way to our accommodation was easy. At the hotel there was a function going on with live music which got Diana tapping her foot and wanting to dance.

Our new wheel, ordered from the UK, was waiting for us, so all we needed to do next was find the bike shop, a job for tomorrow. While we were sorting our things out in our room, we heard a loud bang, but couldn’t work out what is was. We soon realised, when we went back to the tandem it was the front tyre exploding! Thank goodness that didn’t happen when we were riding. Another reason to visit the bike shop now, but we will be walking there.

20160606_211944After showering, we had a bit of an explore around the town and saw the watertower which is a major feature of the town attractively floodlit.

Nerd’s Corner

Tajik to Drobeta Turnu Severin: 23 miles

Distance travelled so far: 2219 miles



The Iron Gates from the river and the road.


20160604_105450_001We met up on the quayside as arranged and set off with Patricia and Michael the Austrian couple we met. With our skipper Sasha, assisted by Boban.

Several weeks ago we had been recommended to take a boat trip through the Iron Gates gorge, as you get a different view from the river than from the road. We were not disappointed;  the magnitude of the rocks rising from the river and the water being squeezed into the gorge 120 metres wide at the narrowest point was very dramatic.20160604_131629





We saw the depth monitor go from around 30 metres, to 80 metres. The deepest point being 90 metres.




Our skipper took us past the Festbild Decebal, a carving in the rock face 40 metres high. Carved between 1994 and 2004, it is the likeness of Decebal an opponent of the Roman ruler Traiana.20160604_122027




Then to the Tabula Traiana, a Roman tablet of stone, carved to commemorate the completion of a road through the Iron Gates made some 2000 years ago. There were 6 similar tablets, but only 1 was moved up 40 metres when the valley was flooded for the hydro electric dam.20160604_123446

Then the boat glided back through the gorge and we could soak up the magnificence of this natural wonder.

If you travel through here a boat trip really is worth while, you see so much more than from the road. Boban and Sasha certainly provide a truly memorable experience with their boat trip.

The relaxing part of the day over we returned to our ‘pension’  and loaded the tandem. It was about 4.30 before we set off to ride through the gorge and we had seen how the road went up the side of the gorge, so knew there were some climbs to do today!

The views of the gorge from the road are often obscured by trees, again we were glad to have done the boat trip. We also were heading into rain and a thunderstorm, but considered it better to be cycling on these climbs in the rain than in baking hot sun.

We had two long slow climbs up and the roads passed through several tunnels. As previously, some you could see the end of; some that curved and were much longer, about 340 metres being the longest.

The long climbs upwards were managed with a few stops to catch our breath, but no pushing the tandem!

Climbs up mean long hills down; we rolled without the need to pedal for 2.5 miles.

This bought us into a little town called Tekija where there was a campsite we had planned to use. But by then we were so wet and it was still raining heavily, we didn’t fancy putting a tent up in the rain, so looked for a room. We stopped at a place near the beginning of the town that advertised rooms, but when we enquired we were told no and to look in the centre of the town. As we cycled away we looked back and noticed the upper floors of the building had no windows. It seems quite common here to start using an incomplete building.

We continued along the road and soon found ourselves at the end of the town without seeing any signs for accommodation. So turned back and went off the main road. As we walked the almost deserted streets, we met three people and asked about rooms. They didn’t understand us, then thankfully Simon remembered the word for rooms ‘sobra’ about the only Serbian word we know!

Another man joined the discussion and we were soon being taken off down the road to someone’s accommodation, we had no idea who. It was a house with the upstairs rooms all set up with beds made for guests. We were very glad to be able to change into dry clothes, have a bed to sleep in and be able to dry out dome of our things.

Nerd’s Corner

Donji Milanovac to Tekija: 38 miles

Distance travelled so far: 2196 miles


A day in Donji Milanovac


We decided to stay in Donji Milanovac an extra night to try and sort out a river boat excursion through one of the spectacular gorges on the Danube before we cycled through.

20160603_184914Donji Milonavac is quite an attractive town , most of which was built around 40 years ago when the original town was flooded after the hydro-electric dam was built. There is an attractive riverside promenade which runs right past our accommodation.

We heard that was the second time the village was moved – the first time was in 1830 because of frequent flooding. The new town was then the first in Serbia to be built to a plan.

20160603_132659Taking advantage of our unloaded tandem we visited a lovely open air sculpture park about 5km away situated at the top of a hill with magnificent views up and down the Dunav.

Called Kapetan Misin Breg it was set up in 2003 by a wealthy shipping owner of the same name as a sculpture park which displays various pieces that the owner had created out of tree roots, pieces of timber and stone.

20160603_134523Whilst we were there we were treated to a delicious meal of local cheese and veg, local wine and elderflower cordial which we ate with a marvellous view in front of us.






When we returned to Donji Milanovac we called in to the tourist information office who informed us of an Austrian couple who had also been enquiring about boat excursions. This meant that the only local option for a boat excursion became affordable since the cost would be shared between 4 people. Noticing a colourful van parked in the car park nearby with an Austrian number plate we asked if they were interested in joining up with us the next day for a 4 hour excursion. They were interested so we booked the boat for the following morning.

Brnjica to Donji Milanovac


Another rainy night, so packing up took quite a bit if time getting the tent dry. But there was a strong wind and some shelter, so that helped. We said goodbye to Katrina and Tobias and hoped we might see them again on both our wanderings.

20160602_113436We set out with a strong wind behind us, gradually up hill. The up hill getting steeper and passing through some 12 unlit tunnels, we were glad we had put the lights on the tandem.

Some were quite short where you could easily see the end. Some much longer and curved, so it was very dark and seeing the road surface, even with lights, was tricky.

We could see a large area of plastic roof in the distance, we thought this might be the archeological museum at Lepinski Vir we planned to visit, and it was. The road to the museum went steeply down hill, so we were losing some of that height we had climbed!

20160602_132052When we arrived at the museum we watched a film of the archeological dig carried out in the area just prior to the hydro-electric dam being built in 1970 and the area being flooded. Routine surveying had uncovered some interesting finds. But much much more was to follow. A settlement, some 10,000 years old was discovered. The whole thing was moved to its current higher location at the museum before the river was flooded. The museum showed how the finds indicated the sort of life these mesolithic peoples lived on the banks of Europe’s great rivers.

The finds at the museum included carved figures that were placed prominently in many of the huts - dated from 8,000 B.C.
The finds at the museum included carved figures that were placed prominently in many of the huts – dated from 8,000 B.C.

The way onwards from the museum directed us along a small road leading away from the museum, not back the way we had come. This road gradually and steeply took us further down hill, until we were in the valley bottom with the road onwards high above us. 20160602_135239


One of us was a bit grumpy and frustrated about losing SO much height, only to have to climb back up!

We will leave you to guess which of us that was. However it was a pretty valley and there was a small bridge, suitable for a game of Pooh sticks, the first for a while.

Diana also picked some wild flowers, so the tandem had a bunch on the back for our onward ride.

The washed out route involving fording the stream twice before rising clear of the valley bottom.
The washed out route involving fording the stream twice before rising clear of the valley bottom.

Before we began the climb up, there were two fords to wade through! Then the climb, which we managed with stops, but no pushing the tandem.

We rejoined the main road just at the point where it began a steep climb up to its highest point! A well deserved lunch stop at the top with magnificent views.

View from our picnic spot at tye summit.
View from our picnic spot at the summit.

Then the down hill a mile and a half of down, with no need to pedal.


We reached Donji Milanovac mid afternoon and found accommodation and enquired about boat trips, some possibilities, but yet to be confirmed.

We ate in a restaurant where our gluten free and vegetarian requirements were met by making a sort of tapas from starters, salads and other side veg on the menu. This included a local grilled cheese, a bit like haloumi; a red pepper and tomato paste, also a speciality of the region, with grilled mushrooms, a Greek salad and chips for Simon and bread for Diana. All washed down with a bottle of Serbian red wine.

Nerd’s Corner

Brnjika to Donji Milanovac: 38 miles.

Total distance travelled so far: 2158 miles.


Stara Palanka to Brnjika and the Iron Gates


Two calendar months since we started our journey and over two thousand miles of pedalling have taken us to the start of the Iron Gates, the series of gorges that the Dunav has carved through the Carpathian mountain range.

Our day started very early at our lovely wild camping spot as it got light. Having woken up with the day we had breakfast and packed up our tent after waiting it to dry in the morning air after the night’s rain.

Making a slight detour into a nearby village we bought provisions for lunch then cycled the 4km or so to the ferry. We were keen to get there early since the ferry only runs every 3 hours.

Julien and Blondie's Hase tandem plus trailer
Julien and Blondie’s Hase tandem plus trailer

Also waiting for the ferry were Wolfgang and Madelaine, a retired German couple on their solo bikes travelling to the Black Sea and a young French couple on their Hase tandem plus trailer, Julien and Blondie. They had started from the beginning of the EV6 cycle route in France at St. Lazare and were planning to reach the end at the Black Sea, then, like us, head for Turkey, Greece and Italy.

The ferry duly arrived at 9.30 with a novel way of landing by dropping the ramp as the ferry approached the bank and the momentum digging the ramp into the gravel shore to form a small mound which was shovelled smooth to help vehicles disembark.

The ferry men told us the ferry would leave at 10.15 so we spent the time swapping travellers’ tales with our pedalling companions in a mixture of English, French and German.

The ferry consisted of a platform with an elderly but powerful small tugboat strapped to its side, and we soon reached the other bank at Ram, with its imposing castle that was built by the Ottomans when they invaded these parts in the 17th Century.

The Ottoman castle built in 16th Century then left as a shell when it was comprehensively desroyed inside by the Austrian Hapsburg empire as they repelled the turks.
The Ottoman castle at Ram, built in 16th Century then left as a shell when it was comprehensively desroyed inside by the forces of the Austrian Hapsburg empire as they repelled the turks.

A steep climb took us out of the village up on to a plateau with extensive views of farmland.

Coming back down a steep hill we then travelled at river level to reach Golubac where we enquired as to the possibilities of a boat excursion through one or two of the gorges at the small tourist office office…. no joy since they only dealt with accommodation and said they didn’t know of any excursions from the town. Then we stopped by a small river cruiser moored up and were reading the notices in Serbian to try and understand what it all meant when the skipper came off the boat and explained in broken english that if there were more than 60 people then the excursion would go…. so with only 2 of us, no go….

20160601_155139On we travelled, noticing the high mountains encroaching onto the river forming the beginnings of the series of gorges that form the Iron Gates.

A little further on we reached Golubacki Grad, a spectacular castle built on the steep slope down to the river which was originally built by the Hungarians in 1335 to defend their territory, but changing hands over the centuries between Serbs, Ottomans and the Austrian Hapsburgs. The castle was being extensively refurbished by the Serbian Government along with another tunnel being constructed for improving the road access. Interestingly, a notice informed us the works were being partly funded by the EU, even though Serbia is not within the EU.

Golubacki Grad castle.
Golubacki Grad castle.

Although it was clad in scaffolding for the most part it was impressive nevertheless with the road passing through two thick stone walls.

Before the big dam was built downstream and caused the river level to rise and flood the lower part of the castle, the original road passed through the massive gates that were the original entry to the castle.

It was here we met up again with Tobias and Katrina, a young German couple we met back Croatia at a campsite near a nature reserve who had given up their jobs to go travelling in their VW minivan.

IMG_20160602_102019Passing through the castle walls, we then travelled on a fairly level riverside road. We passed quite a few hamlets and isolated houses here and there with little fields with cone-shaped haystacks on them. This seems to be a common way of building them in these parts.

We also noticed lots of collections of beehives…. something we have seen quite often as we passed through Serbia, with local honey often being available in shops and roadside stalls.20160601_163945

Travelling along a decent riverside road we reached a campsite mentioned in our guide book whose presence, and the fact that it was open, was confirmed by a local who stopped to admire our tandem whilst we were having lunch.

Our riverside campsite near Brnjica.
Our riverside campsite near Brnjica.

And there at the campsite we met Tobias and Katrina again parked up on the campsite on the rivershore.




Nerd’s Corner

Stara Palanca to Brnjica : 38 miles.

Total distance travelled so far: 2120 miles.

Beograd to Stara Palanka


We left Beograd on an extremely busy bridge with fast traffic crossing over the Dunav…. two lanes of traffic in each direction with the road edges showing signs of wear near where you cycle ! Not a pleasant ride.

We were glad to reach the other side and find the EV6 to take us along the river…. we weren’t glad, however, to discover the EV6 degenerated into a grassy track along a flood bund… where the grass was so long we had to stop to clear the derailleur from grass caught in it, as the gears would not change.

Following this for about 8km we eventually reached an asphalt road that fortunately wasn’t carrying too much traffic..

Our route then took us along rural roads surrounded by areas of maize, sunflowers and wheat. We elected to stay on roads rather than pursue the alternative route following the river bank along bumpy and grassy tracks.

We were aiming to camp at a small town that was indicated by our guidebook to offer both camping and accommodation…. when we arrived there was no sign of either, so we decided to press on as far as we could to reach a ferry crossing.  This meant we would stay in Serbia rather than continue  on the same bank into Romania.

20160531_181157Eventually, after a total of 100km (60 miles), we were following a grassy track again!  We reached a lovely spot beside a small canal which flowed into the Dunav which looked good for a spot of wild camping.

Being just 3km from the ferry we were planning to take ( which sailed across once every 3 hours) we pitched our tent……20160531_192244 with dinner half cooked we noticed a herd of cows coming towards us to reach their new pasture for thr night. A bit of trepidation, but with only one cow slightly catching a hoof on a guy rope,  all was well and we had a peaceful and quiet night with a little rain shower.

Nerd’s Corner

Beograd to Stara Palanka: 63 miles.

Total distance travelled so far: 2082 miles.

Two days in Beograd

29th and 30th May 2016

Seems we just can’t stop cycling …… we chose to do a 4 hour bike tour of Beograd. The tour consisted of a small group of four of us plus the guide, us on our tandem and a retired couple from the Netherlands.

Remains of the war damaged central building in the previous concentration camp in Novi Beograd, just over the river from Beograd.

Our guide took us across the river, which involved a second trip in the bike lift at the bridge.

First we saw a site that had been originally been built as as an exhibition area .  But during WWII it was used by the Nazis  as a concentration camp, which involved the extermination of all the Jews living in the city at that time .

We then moved on to see various buildings from the Tito era and heard about it taking the extensive building programme all over Yugoslavia masterminded by Tito. Apparently it took quite a while to complete some buildings as the unpaid labour of young people from different parts of Yugoslavia was used; but additionally, parties and concerts and all sorts of cultural events were organised. Those that took part in this, including our guide’s parents certainly saw this as a great time and look back it with fond memories . Amongst the buildings constructed apart from houses and apartment blocks was also included the Yugoslavian parliament building.

The Yugoslavian parliament building. Since the break up of Yugoslavia into its seperate states.
The Yugoslavian parliament building. Since the break up of Yugoslavia into its seperate states it has only been partly used.

Young people from all over the newly formed Yugoslavia got to know each other and their languages and dialects and it helped to bond the new nation together quite effectively.

The tour then took us in a boat to an area that is almost an island, just joining the mainland by a narrow strip. 20160529_124551It is clearly a very popular place for a Sunday afternoon bike ride. After stopping for a welcome cold drink, we rode back to the city centre.

Following a visit to the tourist information, we took an early evening boat ride in what was called the “Turtle Boat” because of its turtle like observation floor on the upper deck. We were able to see the array of bridges spanning both the Dunav and the Sava rivers linking not only places but histories.

20160529_182952The next day we took advantage of an open topped bus tour of the older part of the city seeing the various buildings that survived or were rebuilt after various wars and conflicts.

We also passed several bombsites dating from when NATO launched a series of targeted bombing raids which destroyed various buildings related to the Serbian Military and its resources. In fact, just opposite where the tour bus left there was a huge banner with hundreds of photographic portraits which referred to those who lost their lives in the “Albanian incursions” and ” NATO aggression”….

We were also able to appreciate the place that Serbian Orthodox religion, the memory of Josip Broz Tito, and the more benevolent communism had in the sense of Serbian nationhood and identity.

The Gardos Tower in Zemun built in 1896 to mark the millennium of the Hungarian Empire.
The Gardos Tower in Zemun built in 1896 to mark the millennium of the Hungarian Empire.

We took advantage of our unladen tandem to travel over Brankov Most (a bridge named after Branco Radičević, a Serbian romantic poet) to reach the “surburb” of Zemun  an interesting place that once formed the boundary of the Hungarian Empire. A tower built on the prominent hill above the town in 1896  is the last remaining tower built to mark the millenium of the Hungarian Empire each of them marking the extremities of the Empire across central Europe. Although the origins of the tower date back to the 1400’s. The town also marks the boundary between Roman Catholic influence (Holy Roman Empire) and the Serbian Orthodox church, each with their characteristic architectures.

Catholic churches and cathedrals with spires and “onion shaped”

Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Sava.
Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Sava.

domes on them and the squareish look of Orthodox churches and cathedrals with middle eastern looking domes.

We’re now on the way to the Iron Gates…..

Surduk to Beograd (Belgrade)


Our route into Serbia’s capital city was going to be relatively short, but again, allowing for rough tracks and slow progress, we thought it best not to go too far.

As it turned out our way was along asphalt roads, which were busier and busier as we got closer to Beograd. For our lunch stop we chose to make a detour along a minor road for about 1km towards a signed campsite beside the Dunav; fortunately the caretaker was quite happy for us to have a picnic in the shade of the tree… the days are getting quite hot now…  approx 30°C and fairly humid.

20160528_135009The campsite was slightly above the river and we could see our destination in the distance.

Pressing on we passed through the old part of what has now become a suburb of Beograd, Zemun, on cobbled streets which were so rough we had to walk on the sloping downhill bits… we passed a cycle repair shop and thinking we might be able to buy some chain lubricant we stopped outside.

The owner, Katić Slobodan, came out and asked in good english if he could help. Unfortunately, he had no chain lube to sell, but he was very keen to give us advice on our route through the Iron Gates. It turned out he led occasional bike tours himself ( Bickilane ) and also went on long distance cycle journeys with his wife and, later on, with his children.

We spent about half an hour there after he got a map out and told us all sorts of useful information… where to stay, things to see… he also told us why it was better to travel on the Serbian side…. it has better views, is less busy, and although going through tunnels and one or two steep climbs is, importantly, on the shady side of the gorge. Very important now that the days are getting quite warm.

The view towards Beograd from Zemun
The view towards Beograd from Zemun

After Zemun, our way into Beograd was along a traffic free cycle path and promenade, clearly very popular with the locals. So we stopped at one of the numerous cafes and had an ice cool beer and home made lemonade.

Refreshed, we then continued on to the city…

Crossing a busy bridge we were pleased to come across a special lift for cyclists to take us down to the riverside path that was to take us to our Airbnb accommodation near the city centre.

Cycle lift down to the riverside from a busy bridge into Beograd.
Cycle lift down to the riverside from a busy bridge into Beograd.

Arriving in late afternoon we were able to begin exploring the older part of the city at the start of a 3 night, 2 full stay day.

IMG_20160528_200432We saw a church with the most amazing glittery gold decoration on the steeple catching the evening sun, and also came across one of the pedestrianised streets with an attractive collection of umbrellas strung up over the street to provide shade from the sun – not much good when it’s raining we fear… but for now we have sun!IMG_20160528_200225

A search on trip advisor came up trumps again with a vegetarian restaurant.

Comments said it was difficult to find; this was true. As well as the location being tucked away, the entrance was inside an apartment block with a small sticker on the door indicating it was a restaurant.

We were standing outside looking at the restaurant trying to work out how to get in, when the waiter opened a door length widow and invited us in.


Nerd’s Corner

Surduk to Beograd: 32 miles

Distance travelled so far: 2019 miles… our second thousand miles!


Novi Sad to Surduk


Our stay in Novi Sad was in a little family guest-house and provided all that we needed after our day in the saddles.

Refreshed after showers we took to the streets on our unloaded tandem to reach a specialist vegetarian restaurant near the city centre, attracting a few appreciative cries from motorists and pedestrians alike on the way. In a land of ardent meat eaters this restaurant ( Emchi ) was lovely… good food, great decor and very reasonable prices.

IMG_20160526_205806Simon had a Mexican corn soup to start, then rice and grilled vegetables. Diana had a mushroom and rice dish. A fruit and nut roll and chocolate mousse finished the meal nicely.

Each of the next two stages of our route (in our e-book guide) towards Beograd (Belgrade), the capital city of Serbia,  were only approximately 30 miles;  but we knew some of it was likely to be on unsurfaced paths, so we thought we would reach Beograd in two stages rather than one.

The Petrovaradin Fortress at Novi Sad.
The Petrovaradin Fortress at Novi Sad.

We crossed the Dunav under the shadow of the Petrovaradin Fortress.

This was originally built as a fort by the Romans, then a monastery then a fortified castle against the Ottoman invaders. Re-taken by the Hapsburg empire, the Austrians fortified it further which enabled it to resist two attempted attacks by the Turks in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. 20160530_055822The clocktower has an unusual feature in that the hour hand is longer than the minute hand so that from a distance the hour can be seen more clearly.

The road onwards was busy with heavy lorries, so we were glad when our route took us away from the main road for a while.

Here we went through a town called Sremski Karlovci, where there were several school trips visiting the town. It is important because during the Ottoman occupation it maintained a majority of Christian inhabitants and became the centre of the Orthodox Church in Serbia. Then, when it was part of the Austria-Hungary empire under the Hapsburg’s, it was the place where a treaty was signed to return control to the Serbians. It remains the centre for the Orthodox Church in Serbia. We didn’t try and visit  any of the buildings as they were so busy with school parties and we knew we had to press on.

The route rejoined the main road for a short distance which was not pleasant, so again we took a side route when the opportunity arose. This turned out to be a very rough track in places with a stony surface and undulated a lot. It was  very hard going and we ended up pushing the tandem quite a bit.

On eventually reaching  a tarmac surface, we started making good progress but we needed to look for a place to camp because it was getting late in the day.

20160528_103324We came across a sign which indicated “pension”, camping and food in 3km and sure enough in a tiny hamlet called Surduk we came across a house with a sign outside.

We were shown into the garden where we could pitch our tent amongst a small orchard of fruit and nut trees, next door to a little chalet where there was a shower and toilet. It was a lovely spot and much preferable to the wild camping we were envisaging without a shower.

20160527_175116The owners clearly grew a lot of their own food – there were numerous net bags of hazelnuts hanging up out of the way of mice, jars of honey stacked up (for sale) and the plum trees looked like they would give a good crop later in the summer….

Nerd’s Corner

Novi Sad to Surduk: 31 miles

Total distance travelled: 1987 miles

Opotoyac, into Serbia and on to Novi Sad


IMG_20160526_085846From our lovely impromptu hostess, Paula, in Optoyac we travelled along a busy road along to Iloc,  passing fields of sunflower seedlings, well developed wheat, maize, potatos and the odd vineyard. We dropped into and climbed out of four attractive combe-like valleys on our route negotiating sandy bluffs on our tree-lined road. Non of the climbs out were more than 8%, we managed all them without stopping except the first. But we had only just set out and not really settled into our stride.

As we arrived in Iloc, the Croatian border town  we met a local who spoke German and asked if he could help us. He proved to be a walking tourist information bureau since he directed us to the nearby supermarket, told us of a bar which had internet access and told us how we could change our remaining Kuna into Serbian Dinars once we crossed over the border. We stopped there for a couple of hours buying provisions and making use of the wifi internet access at the  Here, whilst coffees and apple juices were drunk, and finishing with a refreshing local beer.

We ordered and arranged the dispatch of  our replacement tandem wheel from J D Tandems in the UK and contacted the hotel we had booked into at the border town in Romania (which is in the EU, unlike Serbia) who confirmed they were happy to receive and hold on to the wheel until our arrival.

Our 7th border crossing on our journey... this time a non EU country.
Our 7th border crossing on our journey… this time a non EU country.

The journey administration sorted, we then peddled the 5km to the Croatian border post on one side of the bridge where our passports were checked.

Crossing the bridge we reached the Serbian border control, noting long queues of lorries, coaches and cars waiting to be processed through the border post into Croatia, here we had our passports stamped for the first time on our journey.

The first few kilometers were along a very busy main road with disintegrating verges and lots of heavy lorries…. we discovered that Serbian drivers are a bit less respectful of cyclists, some passing rather too close for comfort.

We noticed few signs of the civil war this side, probably because Serbians were trying to take over Croatian territory and Croatians lacked the fire power to exert much damage onto Serbian buildings.

Our first picnic spot in Serbia some 20km from the border crossing.
Our first picnic spot in Serbia some 20km from the border crossing.

We looked out for a track off the road onto the river bank and fortunately we were soon bumping along a grassy track to the riverside where we came across an idyllic picnic spot on a sandy beach on the river.

We were fascinated by the sight of a tractor a little downstream which appeared to be driving through the water. As we continued along the track on the flood bund, we met it coming up from the river and discovered it had an ingenious trailer attached which rotated a large cage which was full of potatoes. Apparently the Dunaj acts as a potato washer for the local farmers.

Our path was initially a good surface, but after a while became a grassy track… then degenerated into a rather rough surface which had been chewed up by local tractor traffic. Fortunately we didn’t have to walk the tandem far before the surface improved as we came closer to Novi Sad, Serbia’s second largest city of some 210,000 people.

20160526_161713As we neared the city we came across wizened cowherds with their cows grazing across and around the path, then a stretch of gravel and sand workings, and, as we reached the built up area, passed by a Soviet era helicopter that had been half buried in a wall, and formed a distinctive landmark to what appeared to be a night club venue.20160526_163119

Soon we were on busy city streets and making heavy use of our GPS smartphone navigation to reach our overnight stay in the city.

A distinctive night club entrance as we entered Novi Sad.
A distinctive night club entrance as we entered Novi Sad.

Nerd’s Corner

Opotoyac to Novi Sad: 47 miles

Total distance travelled so far: 1956 miles