SERBIAN CYCLING

Trip Start Sep 16, 2006
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Trip End Sep 16, 2007


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Flag of Serbia and Montenegro  ,
Friday, April 20, 2007

here are our stories of crossing Serbia - Cerna Gora (Montenegro)...

our route was north east to south east through vojvodina and around beograd into the homolske mountains.

serbia, a war torn country, doesn't show the aftereffects of war in really obvious ways. the layers are thick. people do not like talking about the conflict, the same way they do in croatia horvatsko. the areas around novi sad and belgrade are (on the outskirts) very new, quick rebuilds. the cemetaries in every region and village, are large. there are too many young people in these cemetaries.

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when we crossed the border into serbia the guards asked us if we were here to go 'shopping'.  yup.  the roads fell a few notches in upkeep. the country is visibly much poorer than croatia, but the farming is very much thriving.

the traffic was insane and scary: people drive fast! sports cars or clunking yugos, buses and trucks.  the map was hard to use in the vojvodina region because you really didn't know what to expect with road conditions, some were calm some were not.  lots of head winds because of flat fields, agricultural region.
*heading east the dunai (danube) route seems like a bad choice until they bike path it.  soon, it's on a 5 year plan. otherwise it has high traffic, stick to smaller roads.

south east of beograd everything gets so much better, the mountains the roads the people. 
people greet 'zdravo' or 'dobr dan' and are really friendly.
cops seem to be duds in serbia, from our experience asking for help finding safe camping. 

at first we kinda hated on serbia because the roads were bad and people were giving us the stink eye or asking/implying that we should be worried for our safety
our first night in we ran into a man named nick who was serbian but lived many years in australia, he spoke english as well as 10 other languages.  he had been involved in the diamond mining business and obviously made a lot of money and had come back to serbia to build something for his people, a water side restaurant, he was also very giving with his money and told stories of buying icecream cones for all the kids in town - during w.w.2 he didn't have icecream and now he can afford to do those things, it's only money.  we had a night on the town or a beer with a bachelor friend of his, budamir, just being friendly!

in the midst of hating the roads we stopped in a larger town and in the park made friends with two young 10/11 year old brothers. not exactly a cheerful time, we left them behind and felt heart broken.  they were rom, never went to school, slept in an abandoned house, and huffed glue all day - 'it's not a drug it just keeps your spirits up.'  we talked and they taught us some serb words and rom words.  i gave them some dice to play with, a counting game, they loved it and because of their interest actually stopped disappearing into their sweatshirts to huff the glue for a few minutes.  their situation is really tragic and we hope the best for them...

we spent about 7 days in serbia, heading into the mountains was really exciting and suspensful because we didn't know what to expect.  it was beautiful and challenging because the road kept twisting through the mountain.  our challenging ride caused one driver double back, stop and give us two red bulls.  he was a character sorta a mobster maybe in a stollen austrian mercedes?  he shrugged off the question about his austrian license plates, with a look that said 'austrian license plates not for long'

in krepolin we camped near the sports field, it was night and we were in the mountains not wanting to camp in the woods.  the views of the mountains from this town are amazing! surrounded! the clouds in serbia do some great things.  we instantly were spotted by Jelena, a real nice lady who took us under her wing. also a few teen boys thought we were real interesting and wanted to be our boyfriends. Jelena regulated the boys and brought us a travel sized wooden stool she insisted we strap to our bike racks, she also gave us fresh from the butt chicken eggs and some leeks.  she had a great laugh and connected with us on our traveling adventure.  she also told us to be careful of this and that, she even left her porch light on for us during the night.  which by the way was full of me hissing and throwing a few rocks towards the packs of little scruffy horny dogs that roam town all night barking.  lucie fended off the hedgehog convention on the other side of the tent.  thumping, sniffing, barking, and growling.

a nice retired school teacher, language teacher, bought our groceries in the town of zagubica.

we made it down the mountain into the beautiul borske jezero region just as a storm was coming in.  headed into the borske jezero camp ground.  wanted to pitch our tent but the nice folks there wouldn't have it and gave us the key to their camper.  we slept warm and dry thanks to them. they lived with their dog in this beautiful wilderness year round and considered themselves happy and lucky. 
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Comments

bedam
bedam on

sad and uplifting
both feelings while reading this...the boys, the ice cream cones, the generosity. and the two pics of you two title: sisters on the road, and dead-end road riders!

AND MORE PASTRIES!

bedam
bedam on

and.....
the pic title: gross! you two have a sibling bond that most of us can only dream of.

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