From 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.
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.
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.
As 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.
Soon we were on busy city streets and making heavy use of our GPS smartphone navigation to reach our overnight stay in the city.
Opotoyac to Novi Sad: 47 miles
Total distance travelled so far: 1956 miles
2 thoughts on “Opotoyac, into Serbia and on to Novi Sad”
Sounds like you are both having a wonderful time. It is certainly fascinating reading. Take care.
Thanks…. we are certainly having an adventure! Tomorrow we’ll be passing through the Iron Gates on the Danube in Serbia before entering Romania…..
We think Romania and Bulgaria might be a little challenging with rough roads and packs of roaming dogs… we have purchased a dog scarer just in case!