Vienna to Novi Sad, Serbia

Trip Start Sep 14, 2006
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Trip End Dec 17, 2006


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Thursday, November 23, 2006

It was a sad day leaving my friends in Vienna. I really enjoyed my time there due in no small part to the friendship and kindness of those special people Heike, Juljah and Marcin. Thanks guys, keep the tourism job open for me. I was really getting comfortable in Vienna. I could find my way around and was even giving directions to visitors. Marcin cycled with me along the Donau for about 20km and then as before there was just me, Clara and Freddy.

I made steady progress and made it to the border by about 5pm. I confused an army patrol who were looking for russians. I cycled on to the border post looking for the control and came to a dead end. I turned back and was called over by the police. Ah, nearly slipped into Slovakia illegally. They were amused checked my passport and I headed on to Bratislava.

After a good nights sleep in a comfortable bed (cheers Biff) I was on the cycle track again. I would have liked to spend a little longer in Bratislava, it looks a great place but I'll go back one day. I had another day of good weather and steady cycling. I was on the cycle path all day and didn't see much apart from the river and lots of birds. They're heading the same way as me they migrate south to Africa and it's good to have the company. Towards the end of the day the cycling got a little harder. The cycle path turns from tarmac to pebbles. I called it a day at about 5pm. I hoped I'd at least passed Medvedov but I hadn't seen a sign for the last half of the day.

After pressing on through the pebbles for only 2km warming up I came to a little village. I left the cycle path abnd followed a tarmac road. It led onto a main road that ran parallel to the Donau. After 5km I was delighted to discover I was entering Komarno.

I crossed into Hungary at the Sturovo/Estergom point. It was already about 3pm and the weather was changing for the worse. It had been fine all day but the wind had got stronger as I neared the border. Hills border the Donau here creating a channel. Dark clouds were hanging low and the temperature had dropped significantly. I hope it's not more snow. I stopped short of the warm pools I heard about at Visegrad. Not as much opportunity for camping here as there was in Slovakia. I headed down a muddy track towards the Donau near a farm in a village called Domos. It was a good spot regardless of the proximity of the village and it's adundance of barking dogs.

The cycle path, so far as I can tell, is non exitent at least on this side of the Donau so I stuck to the bumpy road to Budapest. No snopw last night and things warmed up after a chilly start. The temperature increased as I entered Budapest. An old cyclist took me to the bridge I was looking for and showed me Margrit Island. I heard it was good for camping and may check it out later but after 4 days cycling I badly wanted a break and a bed. The hostel's aren't cheap or particularly accessible for a bike and lots of heavy luggage so I decided to review the camping possibilities on Margrit Island. Not ideal but passable and fairly remote. I was so tired and hungry I didn't care.

Getting out of Budapest was an absolute nightmare. I'd woken at about 5.30am to strike camp. I had cycled around Budapest for about 30km last night looking for somewhere to stay and resupplying. The place had done nothing so far to endear me to it. I was now extremely tired and didn't need another 30km of wrong turns and terrible directions. But that's exactly what I got. One very helpful young woman tried to send me along a motorway, another guy tried to send me up a mountain. Just as I was starting to think I would be spending another night in Budapest I met Klara. My luck and foul mood were quickly turned around. Klara advised me on the best way out of the place (and your directions were perfect, thankyou). I made my way to and crossed the M0 bridge, turned right and I was on my way. It was nearly midday.

After lunch my head strated to clear as the countryside opedned up. Much happier I started to make progress. Rackeve looked a great place to camp but the camp site was closed. I contemplated camping in the town but it was much too populated. I entered a hostel and asked them about the campsite. I was relying heavily on my tiny grasp of German as it was the only language I seemed to share with anyone. The campsite was closed and rooms weren't cheap. I left in the hope that something would turn up soon. It did in the form of one of the guys I'd been chatting with in the bar. He explained that he was looking after a property and their was a little room I could use.

I slept for 11 hours last night and after Varshoy had let me use his shower and cooked me a breakfast of bacon and eggs I was starting to feel human again. He gave me a brief tour of the peaceful town and returned to work. I spent the rest of the day relaxing and eating chocolate. I also watched a tribute to the legendary Hungarian footballer Puskas Ferenc who had passed away the day before (18/11/06).

Varshoy returned at about 4pm. We cycled to another house where I discovered he's a plumber. We drained some cans of their beer as he bled a radiator. Then we called at a house and he had a discussion with the guy that lived there in Hungarian. I got the impression he was trying to find a meal for me and some more booze for us both. What a guy. After the principle but polite knock-back he had luck at the next house. We were welcomed into the family house, furnished with beer and I was fed my second plate of ham and eggs that day.

I had told Varshoy that I needed to leave the next day but by 11am he hadn't showed. I called by his house and just got funny looks from his neighbours and nipped round the ankles by his constantly barking dogs. Unfortunately I had to leave without saying goodbye. I headed towards Tass and found the main road south running parallel if not close to the Danube. I made good progress after a day of rest and fuelled by good food and made it to a little village called Fajzs to camp.

I crossed the border into Serbia on the 21st and made it to Sombor. The first town of any size. I was looking for a camp site or even a cheap hostel. This time my good fortune appeared in the guise of Ernest a retired electrician who spoke to me in German. He asked offered me a place to stay and I gladly accepted. We shared stories and whetted our appetites with his home made pear schnapps. His wife, Elizabeth, prepared us a great meal and we washed it down with Jelen Pivo, a beer from nearby Apatina. Later Ernest introduced me to his lodger, Maria. She is an English teacher and invited me to the evenings class. The subject was travel. I was a big shock to the students.

After a big breakfast I was on the road to Novi Sad where Ernest's son and daughter Igor and Monica are studying. They also kindly offered me a place to stay. I fought an ever strengthening wind but made it by about 4pm. After a few 2 litre bottles of Jelen Pivo for about a pound each we took a look around the town's bars. However, Rade and Bojan were not satisfied that the evening best represented all Novi Sad had to offer and asked me to spend another night. How could I refuse. So, I should be back on the road to Belgrade on the 24th. Depending upon the strength of Bojan's home made scnapps which I'll be sampling tonight.

Pics to follow...

Some music that's been keeping me entertained...

Soul Asylum - Runaway Train

Free Radicals - Don't give up 

George Harrison - I've got my mind set on you (Cheers Daniel & G)
Slideshow Report as Spam

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