As we didn’t quite make it to Orsova on Thursday, our day started with a long, steep climb up the hill to the west of the city. Once that was out of the way, the road into Orsova is one of the nicest roads on the whole trip – it’s basically one long, steep descent all the way through the town and down to the riverfront. Every cyclists dream.
Leaving our super-friendly guesthouse by the Danube, our friendly hosts and their two crazy dogs behind, we left a little later than usual today (it’s hard to leave warm bread and home-made jam) and headed for Romania.
Andreja was an excellent host and great company (as usual), but I’m afraid Belgrade didn’t win me over. Although I’m sure it is, it just doesn’t feel like a city with big plans or a city that opens itself up to the world. This is somewhat bizarre because ever since crossing the border into Serbia, I’ve had an endless stream of kindness, curiosity, warmness and genuine friendliness from the people I’ve met.
Last night was probably the most comfortable night’s sleep I’ve had since leaving Kyiv last Sunday. The room was modern, clean and air-conditioned and the bed was comfortable. So, I slept like a baby and woke up feeling rejuvenated. Breakfast was the usual eggs, ham and cheese and after a large coffee we were on the road by 08:00.
I’m still travelling with Dylan, the other Brit I met on the first day of my trip just south of Budapest and I’m glad I’ve had company for this first week as I get used to cycling long days through unfamiliar places.
When you get to Southern Hungary, the EuroVelo route splits. I don’t know why it splits, but you can go West through Croatia or East and into Serbia.
I chose to go West through Croatia, not just because I like Croatia (and it’s one more country to visit by bike) but also because the path runs right through one of the most tragic parts of the former Yugoslavia outside of Bosnia and in particular the border town of Vukovar.