Arriving in the dark

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Flag of Serbia  ,
Friday, October 22, 2010

Did not want to get out of bed and leave our lovely room this morning, especially knowing it was going to be at least 65 miles. Omelette breakfast and punchy Turkish coffee revived us a bit though and we pedaled off in the sunshine at 10am. As usual Serbians really friendly and helpful and we successfully navigated out of the city onto a very quite white road rolling up and down through towns and villages for the first 15miles. Gorgeous views, but bearing in mind the length of the day would have preferred flat. Stopped in Obrez for a cold drink and I had a very long chat to the lovely woman working there in Serbian. I gave some random English answers which she seemed happy with. Used her toilet and really regretted it, reminded me what it is going to be like in India. Back on the bikes with some kitkat crunchy supplies in hand and made it to Cicevac, where I bought random stuff from the supermarket and with the help of the only worker there that spoke English, got some fruit at last. Decided to find the tiny road we needed before eating, which proved difficult and after much cycling back and forth a kind man confirmed it was one heading straight uphill with no signposts which we had seen but not dared take. He kept saying 'Bravo' as we indicated it on the map and suggesting by pointing that we took the motorway instead. It turns out what he meant was that the white road was ridiculously steep and involved 10 miles across a big valley some of which was rutted cart road. it was interesting though, and cycling up the hill through farm houses where people clearly don't very see cyclists was great. Past the houses however we still couldn't see any signs and were losing confidence in the man's advice. The only person we passed was a VERY old lady carrying a bundle of sticks as big as herself, so we didn't feel we could bother her with our map. Reaching a split in the road we took the left cart track and thankfully just as it got really bumpy encountered a farmer on his tractor who managed to let us know we were going totally the wrong way. He definitely though we were nuts being up there at the top of the hill, but gave us a big smile and waved us on to the right path. Reaching tarmac again, halfway downhill into a beautiful valley with a village marked on the map we felt much better and stopped in a field to FINALLY eat our picnic. Two cars and three tractors passed while we were eating, all beeping and waving, clearly wondering where on earth we had come from. The 5 miles out of the valley after lunch were tiring and a bit disheartening knowing that we had already done 30 miles and were not even half way to our destination. I got a bit dizzy but downing a bottle of water and a packet of mentos when we reached civilization again revived me and we put our heads down to try and get the miles done before dark. The road now followed the motor way so was flatter, and easier to see when whether we were making progress. At 55 miles we stopped by the road to munch the kitkat crunchies, and realised that it was 4.30pm and becoming less likely we would make it before dark. The next 20 miles were pretty tough, really trying to go as fast as possible, but the road decided to wander off away from the motorway and through tiny villages again with the inevitable hills. All Mikey's gear fell off again (still stored on the back of the bike until we can fix the front pannier rack) and at one point we very nearly took a very wrong turn down a cobbled lane, but luckily something made us stop and ask at the last house and they redirected us. It got dark 5 miles from the city but a full moon meant we could still see and the reflectors on our panniers make us really visible. Catching up with a wagon carrying logs doing only 13mph we decided to tuck in behind it and draft safely into the city. This was a great idea of Mikey's and the truck took us very nearly to the center, were I said we had to put our head torches on. So, looking pretty bats we arrived at the hostel, me covered in mud and both of us exhausted. Vladimir who runs Hostel Nis was very kind to us, and helped us carry the bags etc up. A shower revived us and a Canadian called Ron who, after several chats with him, seems to have traveled nearly everywhere in the world, showed us into town. We managed to find a restaurant where miraculously no one was smoking. Not understanding a single word of the menu we threw ourselves on the mercy of the waiter who helped us order a delicious meal of grilled meats, salads, chips and bread. Dan - you would love Serbian food, they too like pork chops for breakfast lunch and supper.
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tricia on

We too have been sharing the lovely full moon. As we were being towed back to GunWharf on Saturday - it rose above the horizon and was enormous and wonderful (yes we were towed back in - a first - starter motor burnt out and the Harbour Master was not keen on us sailing in!!xxxxxxxxxxx

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