Tired…or maybe resistance at leaving Serbia

It has been 15 days since our last day of a complete rest without the bikes. Yes, there have been a few short days, including 2 whole days without luggage in Belgrade, but today my legs are protesting. Not sore, just not performing, sluggish, slow on the flats, even the down hills. Maybe my legs are as attached to Serbia as I am, hate goodbyes and are protesting.
From Belgrade, Serbia just keeps on giving. It’s damn hot, 36 degrees most days since we arrived. Our first day out of Belgrade we were rewarded with respite from the mid day sun, shade and our first dip in a river. Several dips, and fresh cherries…and mints..from a local also taking refuge from the sun. I made him a sandwich, and received an orange and help pushing the bike up the sandy slope back on our way. 30 kilometres on we camped by the water on a lake, cycling the final kilometres the sun set, bathing the road, houses and trees in beautiful pink ambient light.
Like many other evenings we had a local escorting us in their car to the location of our accommodation for the night.
The second day out of the city, fortress ruins, tempted to stay and camp the night but pushed on to another site right on the river. To beat the heat we went to bed early, first time without using the tent fly, setting alarm for 5am. We need to get going early as we are melting, finding it difficult to acclimatise after 2 months of much rain. (No more butter in the food hamper, no more melting it under our arm!)
So yes, today my legs aren’t performing, they are struggling to find a pace I am content with yes, on the flat, even the down hills…..and there are many hills, many up hills.
After 20 kilometres again following the Danube we diverted to find supplies, sugar, maybe guarana would help. We found the most perfect village, farm animals, vegetable gardens, ramshackle houses, rustic and bubbling with life. We had our guarana, and shared a at beer at 9.30am. The locals(inc. a fireman, off duty I hope!) did the same as we were all awake at 5am. We have cut down our beer in the heat of the day and sample anything local, anything sugary, cold. The man we asked to spray us with his hose yesterday offered us coffee, unfortunately we declined.
Back to today, our wonderful village, my favourite to date, Boljetin. We decided to continue through Boljetin, off the route but sure we would link up further down the road. The road, past pigs, dogs, fowll, bumps, more bumps, gravel, sand, I lost count of the streams, we rode, we pushed and pushed. The air filled with butterflies, orange, white, blue like confetti. Off the bikes so many times to walk through the streams, the incline increased and we stayed out of the saddle. We pushed to the summit, 7 kilometres, 500 meters, on a track fit for a mountain bike, not 50 kilos of bike and luggage, but we did it….and we loved it….well….almost all of it. Ha….and then our 10 kilometre descent, majestic, magical views. The Danube in the distance, Serbia and Romania in our sights. My legs are tired, I don’t care, they will recover, my heart is bursting, tears flowing, it’s 36 degrees, I should be worried about tomorrow, but I can’t. Today can’t isn’t really in my vocabulary. Visit Serbia and you will love it.


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