Wednesday, 29 November 2017


At the border I stood in line with the cars - which felt pretty idiotic. I felt even more idiotic when the border guard told me I was not allowed to walk across the dam. Before I could even think about what to do a Romanian lady invited me into her car. We passed both the Romanian and the Serbian borders posts and just 100 metres after the control point I asked her to let me out again because I wanted to resume hiking. She had just driven away and I was still looking around when I noticed two soldiers running towards me. They had even closed down the entire control point to catch me!

To say I was shocked is an understatement because I had no clue what I had been doing wrong! Unfortunately none of the two officers spoke English or German but apparently they wanted to know what I was soing here. Luckily I remembered that the Romanian Hiking Association had given me a letter of recommendation. I pulled it out, one of the officers understood Romanian and the situation de-escalated. Still I was escorted back to the control point, my passport was double checked and even then I was not allowed to go. I nervously waited until they had worked off the traffic jam that had accumulated while they had chased me. Suddenly I was given back my passport and ushered into a car. The driver was as surprised as I and I asked him just to leave! I guess the border guys had wanted to do me a favour and organised this lift ... As I precaution I only got out two kilometres away from the border ....

In Serbia there is no official E3 trail yet. I had sent various emails to the Serbian hiking association but never received any answer. Disappointed I had then decided to road walk. I was now cutting off a bend in the Danube and luckily the road turned into dirt very soon and I could camp in a forest. When I came through a little village next morning I ran into a guy washing his car - and he spoke fluent German because he had worked in Germany for 20 years! Even at 9 in the morning I was invited to drink schnaps which I politely declined. But he explained why there are so many brandnew - and empty - houses - in Serbia.

Many Serbians like him had worked in Germany or Austria and had invested their money into real estate back home. But unfortunately now young people are moving away and nobody wants to buy or rent these houses ... All through Serbia I saw new houses with tacky decoration. Several times people stopped right next to me and asked what I was doing. I sometimes felt there were more cars with German and Austrian licence plates than with Serbian!

I was then following the Danube bike trail right next to the river which was luckily not paved yet and rather idyllic. Only camping was difficult because the shore was either completely overgrown or holiday shacks were everywhere. I had to climb high up the bank to find a decent camp spot the next night. Because of the Danube bike trail cyclists were well catered for: In Negotin I found guest house Stanisavljevic that explicitly advertises for cyclist. Here I was overwhelmed with hospitality! The guest house has simple but very cheap rooms and my host bent over backwards to help me.

He recommended a fabulous restaurant where I learnt again that Balkan is for meat lovers! I had a mixed grill plate that would have been enough for three people! The picture shows breakfast in the guesthouse - and all those specialties were for me only! I arrived at the Serbian - Bulgarian border with a very full belly ....
I have only hiked three days through Serbia mostly on roads but still I tremendously liked it!

No comments: