budapest to belgrade. 28th May

hi all

Budapest was great,we spent 10 days relaxing enjoying the city and the night life and meeting a lot of really awesome people. I ended up getting a replacement front rack sent from the UK, the ones there weren’t up to scratch, so now the bike is back to a fully functioning state which is great.

I try to live by the philosophy that all living things deserve respect, but unfortunately I found an exception to this rule. The mosquitoes have been unbearable. The first day after leaving Budapest we stopped to camp and were instantly surrounded by swarms of the little flippers. our only option to get into our tents and wait for the sun to go down, without making any food…sandwiches again.i really dont see a place for them in the world, all they do is spread vicious diseases and annoy us. i wouldnt miss them if they didnt exit anyway.

the next day i woke to find Matt hadn’t slept and had hurt his knee during the night (still a bit of a mystery what he did but he was in a good deal of pain). so we decided to find a place to stay in the next town, i cant remember the name and it doesn’t matter because I’m sure no one would have herd of it. So while Matt slept and rested his knee i tried to occupy myself by exploring the town, that took 10 minutes then i decided to pass the time reading and napping.

Making breakfast in Croatia

Making breakfast in Croatia

the next morning Matt mysterious knee pain had disappeared so we decided to make a break for the Croatian border which meant going across our first border and getting a stamps in our pass ports, very exiting. As soon as we entered Croatia we were met by friendly waves by locals which is such a lovely way to enter an unfamiliar place. that day we ended up being our longest day so far, 75 miles. not really through choice either, it wasnt so much the mossies that put us off from camping but signs warning of land mines by the side of the road, so we deceided to play it safe and find a bed for the night. In the morning we got into Vukavar and while looking for some supplies we were stopped by a guy (Slavisa) who had seen us the previous day in another town. he was also a keen cyclist and tourer and offered us to stay at his place. we have learnt that when someone offers you a free bed for the night you don’t refuse. so he got his bike and we followed him to his house were he made us feel completely at home. he took us to his parents house who cooked us lunch (and even a veggie option for me and Slavisa, im so lucky to keep meeting veggies) which was so kind of them.

slavisa's family

slavisa's family

then after some more relaxing he took us on a cycle tour of his city and showed us the sites, there is still alot of evidence of the war there, many derelict buildings with bullet and morter holes. so thanks again to Slavisa and family for making our brief stay in Croatia realy great.

the water tower in vukuvar used as target practise during the war

the water tower in vukuvar used as target practise during the war

the next morning we crossed the border in to Serbia, another stamp in the passport, and encounter with grumpy officials. we headed for Novi Sad Serbia’s second city. we had arranged to stay with a local (Sanya) from couch surfing, which is defiantly my new favorite thing. anyone who doesn’t know what it is, its an online thing were people offer there couch or space on the floor or what ever to travelers, just a great way of meeting people, getting a place to stay and being gerneous and trusting. So we got to Noi Sad and met Sanya, she took us to her place gave us tea and a shower and then took us out on the town. she was awesome so generous and we had a really great time with her. she introduced us to her sister and friends and suddenly it felt asif we were at home. the next day she had to go to a wedding so she arranged for us to stay with a friend of hers, Nemanja. he explained where his place was and we cycled there to meet him at the train station. after a few beers in the sun we we headed to an art exhibition that he had to go to, about 200m down the road i saw a van chasing us and making gestures for us to stop, so we did. the guy got out and was waving my wallet at me. he gave it to me and insisted i check all the money was there. i felt pretty dam stupid, said thank you a hundred times and he was off. i left it ontop of my bike after bying beer and total forgot, atleast i learnt my lesson without having to pay for it, it was so kind though. so wallet safely in my hand we walked to the exhibition in dirty smelly clothes and felt pretty out of place as everyone else was dressed up, but there was free wine and nibbles so they occupied us. after looking at the art and getting our fill we went and met Nemanjas parents (our hosts) and had the most amazing food Ive ever eaten (its called gomboza, sorry for the spelling) and its plum dumblings covered in sweet breadcrumbs….so tastie. then we met Tatyana (Sanyas sister) and her friend Mina for some drinks. the next day Nemanja was the organiser of a free rock festival, so in the morning we met Mina and her friend Igor had a coffee and then they showed us around the fortress at Novi Sad.

me, igor, matt and Mina at the fortress in Novi Sad

me, igor, matt and Mina at the fortress in Novi Sad

we met Nemanja later and the festival and hungout there with him mingeling between the back stage  and  concert area. the music was niether of our cups of tea (nemaja included) and it didnt finish untill 3 am so we hung around drank beer and dosed. at 3 it was decide we were going to a marllboro party, but didnt have enough tickets, so it was decide me and Matt were to keep quiet and they would say we were press from a london uni come fore the festival. the security saw right through us in jeans and sandals…blatently not press. but some kind guy gave us his ticket as he was leaving so we were in and again the most underdressed people in the club, its becoming the norm for us. we stayed for a few hours and decided to get a cab back before daylight, but too late and the ride home i watched the sun rise over the danube and felt satisfied with the random and cool experience of the day. the next day we where all pretty ruff so not much happened just relaxed and got everything ready to cycle to Belgrade the following morning. i came as a bit of a shock to me and Matt, the generosity and openness of the people we met. they all made us feel so at home and comfortable and looked after us so well, we are both really grateful and hope we can one day return the favor because any time you guys (our Serbian friends) come to England you will have a place to stay.

Nemanja's great family

Nemanja's great family

in the morning we cycled to Belgrade which is were we are now, it was a good cycle and along the way a guy pulled up to us and gave us a big bag of cherries and was on his way. such a nice gesture and again another reason why we have both loved the Balkan states, the people are great.

so thats all for now, we will stay here in Belgrade for a couple of days and then head out towards Romania and hopefully be by the black sea in not too long. we are both urnig for the sea.

thanks for all the messages great too know we are in the thought s of so many people

love jack x

1 Comment »

  1. James Zhang said,

    Dear Jack, so happy to hear from you and glad to know your bike is fixed and you are on your trip again. Yes I do agree with you on mosquitoes-they are No 1 on my kill without mercy list ( so far the only one on the list ) . I believe your nice experiences with people there must have make the trip more enjoyable and they must have enjoyed your accompany too! I know when Serbian friends call you friend they really mean it ! From the lastest pictures I can see you too are in good health ! Keep it up 😉 and do stay away from the land mines and eat well.Let me know whenever I can be of help You are always in my mind ! lots of love and good weather all the way !xxx James

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