We crossed the Serbian border and it was our first stamp on our passports ! The process was simplified and it didn’t take us more than two minutes to get on the other side. Moreover, the first visible sign after the border is aimed at Eurovelo 6 cyclists : all the city on the road are listed with all the kilometers and the alternative paths. Well done ! We were ready to ride on the Serbian roads !
Once again we exchanged currency in the first village and rode back on the road. There’s not much difference between Hungary and Serbia. But we started meeting horse-drawn carriages and we felt everything was going to change. We stopped in the first city to eat lunch and an ice-cream. People stared at us, as we has our bikes with us. But they didn’t talk to us. Such an atmosphere.
We packed food and water in our bags and rode our bikes towards the river. After a few kilometers, a man who had overtaken us and waved us before pulled in and waved us to stop. He couldn’t speak much English but he explained he wanted us to visit his distillery and he showed us the way to get there. A moment later we met him again, in his fruit garden where he makes Calvados (alcohol made from apple) with his friend. We were glad we could stop, and moreover stopped to meet great people. The evening went by smoothly, we talked with these two friends who ended up lending us their van for the night. It was a good start.
Back on our bikes we went on riding along the river. There are a lot of signs to follow the itinerary, it was actually better than we expected and the roads were quite good, even if we had to share them with cars passing by. But we could go quickly. And it was fortunate because the landscapes are not the most amazing ones… There were a lot of fields, a lot of waste… A farmer allowed us to camp in front of his place for the night when the Tour de France was nearby, the cyclists were heading to Belgrade.
We had a pretty good arrival, compared to Budapest. We left the Eurovelo path to go to our hostel, where we had booked two nights to have time to visit the city. Neverthless after 96 kilometers we had ridden on that particular morning we decided not do a thing in the afternoon. So we started visiting Belgrade the next day, more relaxed. We visited the old town and we wandered around the touristy and old neighbourhoods.
After walking around the city for a while we were shocked by the differences. Some of the buildings and districts are brand-new, modern and shiny, the perfect reflection of capitalism whereas others are abandonned or half-destroyed… There seems to be two different speeds/ a two-tier society. We had mixed feelings about this situation and we were disappointed by the size of our ice-cream. So we walked back to the hostel to relax and get ready for departure.
So we left Serbia and we were going to be reminded of a past trip. We rode out of the city and followed the Eurovelo path which led us to a seawall ! We went on towards the east on some cheap-quality roads to end our day in the fisherman house, close to the border. It’s so strange and so great to wonder where we were going to sleep that night and the end up sitting at some fellow’s table. That person welcomed us with some pork and a good bier. Serbian people were really welcoming, they looked cold but were spontaneously nice.
The Romanian border was approaching. After a week in Serbia, it seemed time to leave this country and change atmosphere. We got back our passports from the Romanian officer without a new stamp. When we asked why, he answered ‘Romania is part of the European Union. So, welcome home !’
It was a really nice start, wasn’t it ? We were confident to ride our bikes through Romania. Then we met two cyclists with sticks. They told us they were followed by some stray dogs and that they could be scared by the sticks. We had already seen some stray dogs in Serbia but we weren’t afraid of them. We decided to get sticks anyway. Just to be safe.
After a day full of emotions, we stopped in a village, we were looking for a place to stay. Our first talk was the good one. But our host didn’t understand that we wanted to camp, he invited us to sleep in his home. The son of one of his friends can speak English, so we were able to communicate with our first Romanian friends.
There was a drastic change. This part of Romania is wonderful. Though there wasn’t any sign or cycle path, the landscapes we saw were so beautiful. The roads follow the river, all of this in the middle of gorges. There are parts with mineral cliffs and other with green forests. It was breath-taking. The sun makes the water glitter. Like a beautiful painting.
We stopped to spend the night at some kind soul who accepted our request without delay. It was so nice. As it was cold that night we were offered to stay inside. And the following day it was the same story all over again. That time, our host was a retired military.
These four first days in Romania were all perfect… until the weather changed and we were drenched on our biked… As it was rainy and windy we finally asked for help around 11am… to be inside and fed at 11.30.
‘Welcome home’ he said… He was so right !
Peu importe la distance, peu importe la destination. Le plus important en voyage, vélo ou autre, est de profiter de l'instant présent. Que ce soit le paysage, les rencontres, la route, les longues instrospections ou les discussions endiablées… tout est prétexte à la découverte et à l'aventure. Reste à chacun d'en choisir le cadre.
Asie du sud-est Eurovélo 6 Vélo Francette GR10 GR221 France Allemagne Suisse Roumanie Islande