A reminder of touring..

Trip Start Feb 28, 2009
Trip End Jun 20, 2009

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Flag of Serbia  ,
Saturday, May 23, 2009

The plan today is to leave Kovin and head east crossing the danube at a ferry and stopping at a campsite by some lakes. Accommodation availability is going to be a factor
When I wake I ache everywhere; ohh this isn't going to be good.

The hotel breakfast turns out to be cheese eggs and bacon; its a nice surprise and considering the room was e10 actually fab.

I'm trying an early departure to catch the cool weather. And it turns into a fantastic ride; there's little traffic the road surface is smooth and the wind is roughly behind me. The road climbs up a bit through some woods so there is variety in the scenery too. Its ace and probably the best riding in Serbia so far.

The scene is being set for the Iron Gates; a narrow gorge which constricts the danube (and may have been a model for the "Gates of Mordor").

Then I follow thee official route onto a dyke as the most direct route to the ferry. Its turns into a barely disernable track and as rough as a footpath; slow and tough work. This touring business is no picnic. There is a family herding their cows along and another family packing up their tent after an overnight camp. after the fast progress on the road this a jolt back to reality.

Eventually I come to a restaurant then two and a road. This ferry is at the end of a road and a minor service industry has sprung up. There is is almost nothing else here. It turns out the ferry runs every three hours and I've missed it by 20 minutes. but there is no alternative so I buy a beer, read and blog for the next two and half hours. As we get closer to the ferry time more people show up. Then bingo! a large flat barge and a small tugboat arrive. Then the crew have lunch and we're off when they return.

It turns out into a 20 minute ride and leads to a tiny village clustered around the cove where the ferry lands. So there's a mad scramble to get off; everyone tears up the hill through the village and ten minutes later peace is restored. Its surreal. The road from here is across rolling green farmland a bit like the UK; I manage to overtake and stay ahead of a tractor and the riding is generally nice.

Once out of the hills the route follows a dyke; the Danube is vast here and the hills are pretty big too. Eventually I get to a leisure area just outside Veliko Gradiste, faff, go through it and find a campsite. My first serbian campsite. I had no idea it was possible for a campsite to look wrecked. It was stuffed full of small derelict caravans with little sign of order. Fortunatly there were a couple of cyclists there so I asked then how it worked. Basically you pay the man then camp anywhere... and do whatever you like. Fires were fine. The toilet block was actually horrible. There was no rubbish provision either but strangely not much lying around.

So I camped with the cyclists for security. The day before I had stashed a litre of water in a flexible plastic container in the drybag as an emergency store. But when I got it out it was empty; that water must have gone somewhere. Also in the drybay was my sleeping bag so that was where it was. So a happy afternoon / evening was spent hoping that they would dry out enough to sleep in.

Later I met up with a German computer engineer doing the same route so we went for a drink and compared notes. this was pretty funny and I enjoyed the chance of a moan to someone who understood what its about. Then went to bed via a chat with two Serbian motorcyclists around their fire.

In terms of distance it was a shortish day but largely determined by accomodation.
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