Across Serbia our intention was to continue following the cycle route Eurovelo6, our expectations were smooth tracks along disused railways between cafes and easy trips in the sunshine. We were in for a shock.. but at least the fuel was cheap!!
Most of the cycle path into Novi Sad was unpaved so progress was slow in the wet. A couple of sticky muddy rutted boggy sections were unrideable! However, once at the City there was a lovely cyclepath straight to the centre where we stayed with Anna and friends at the Culture Exchange and Bicycle Kitchen. The work these guys are doing in education/charity is inspiring and they had a great cafe too! Taking a day out of the saddle meant a little bike fettling could be done in their workshop and we even had time to do some relaxing!
Novi Sad to Belgrade followed small roads, which were paved, apart from the shortcut to avoid a busy hill out of town, that was a bad idea as the tarmac disappeared! it would have been OK if we didn’t have the luggage! However, in the sunshine, and back on tarmac, we were able to clock up 100km (our biggest distance yet) and made it in good time to spend a lovely evening and meal with our hosts Boris and Milica.
The map looked like a short “easy” ride to Smederevo following EV6. Leaving Belgrade required use of the phone/GPS then there was a mega bridge with no pavement or cycle lane etc. Once safely on the North bank of the Danube the headwind kicked in and the tarmac disappeared!! Making terrible progress we discovered that there were concrete slabs on the slope of the river bank, it was just about rideable and the progress was far better, although there was still a headwind. We’d estimated the distance at 60km, it was actually 82km, as darkness fell Tim got a puncture, so out came the lights and we continued. After an epic 12hour day we pulled into Smederevo, found a restaurant then checked into the only hostel/hotel in town.
Onto the Border town of Bela Crkva. We were slightly worried as our documents were not in order as we only had one registration card for our 4 nights in Serbia. Not finding any suitable looking accommodation in town, we stocked up on supplies and found a nice secluded spot for some free-camping, finally getting the tent out! Crossing the border in the morning the Registration cards weren’t even asked for so we had nothing to worry about, we were now in Romania!