One of the wierd things about cycle touring is that you want to revisit, or, stay, everywhere you go…which is everywhere!! It’s a paradox that slow travel takes you everywhere, and that is a place to which it is always worth returning.
Belgrade, may not be, but some of the villages we travelled through today, definitely are…maybe because they are so far from the horrible reach, or maybe want, of the chase towards European westernism that exists in all the big cities, in this part of the world. It surely is the greatest thing of Europe, the contrast, that it would be such a shame to homoginise -in Easteern Europe they are throwing away the very culture that makes me want to be a part of it.Nonetheless, the more I pedal around, the more European I am. Perhaps being n a country, not in the EU, but surrounded by it has only amplified that.
This blog, is not one of politics, but one of cycling, or more broadly, journeying, across Europe… And today we pedalled from Novi Sad to Belgrade, the old Cpaital of Yugoslavia. 64 miles – should have been easy – actually they were hard. Like I said yesterday… somedays easy is 100 miles, other days 50 is hard.
We left our hotel in Novi Sad around 10 and pedalled along the river to the bridge to Petro Varadin. 2 things here. 1. the remains of a bridge, bombed by NATO only 17 years ago. 2. a beautfiful cycle path, alongside a pavement, alongside a runniong track (with Metre markings) – I miss running. Amazing though:
Amazing as that was, that is where anything approaching cycling infrastructure ended. I get the feeling the rest of this journey will be on roads, and, when we get to Turkey, possibly even motorway hard shoulder cycling!!
I think I’lll write something sometime on the whole Eurovelo 6 route, but for now, I think it’s fair to say the further I get into this route, the less ‘no stress’ cycliing is to be had.
The journey is great though, and here are some shots of today…
So, we left Novi, and headed South. Rather unbelievably, ater 3 miles we climbed. And climbed hard. It wasn’t a mountain, but it was a solid 1000 ft of climbing in one hit, and it was bloody tough – but it was great – and whaat riding is all about. At the top Luka bought some cherries ) as you do.
For the next 30 or so miles we cycled undulating country landscape – with a massive tailwind, the cycists dream. Just amazing, ruined somewhat by a massive storm. We got a bit lucky, as it was time to eat, and stopped by a mart in a tiny village, narrowly escaping a catfiash stew, instead manufacturing a prcesssed cheese and (natuaral) tomatoe sandwich – good times:
The last, but 5, miles of the day, were abhorent, the guide book suggested taking a train into Belgrade, and i understnad why. But you can’t… if you’re me… The road was busy, I’m talking Mumbai busy, and with a total disregard for cyclists saftey. Drivers in Serbia are awful, I really mean that. I am an urban cyclist, but I could not handle this. It’s as if they are playing a warpped game of ‘how close can you get to the guy on a bike’ – massively annoying, and scary.
We made it, god knows how, and here are some pics