- ODO 2310km
- Location Belgrade, Serbia
- Weather 26-37℃ – Hot
- Feelings Happy and clean
It’s 9am and 32 degrees as I change my 200 kuna into 3200 dinar at a small roadside exchange on the outskirts of NoviSad. I’ve had a terrible nights sleep after pitching my tent the wrong way. You didn’t know there was a right way? Try sleeping with your head downhill. It gives you a restless night and apparently the strangest dreams.
The roads in Serbia are much worse than any I’ve travelled on so far. Most are potholes at the side or all over. One was literally only paved on the left hand side so I had to skitter over onto gravel whenever an oncoming car appeared at full speed over the next crest. Those that were smooth ended abruptly in sand or road works with little warning.
The roads were made up by how awake the towns are. Compared to the single street villages of northern Croatia these places have soul. Passing through in a Tuesday morning as I was, each hand built home a unique colour and design. Shops for electronics, farm supplies and corner stores competed for space.
Each time I stopped at a store for lunch or at a petrol station for an ice cream to break the heat the clerk speaks in perfect English. I feel embarrassed with my “hwala” thank you but I can see why brits love to visit.
As I reach warmer climbs I need to adjust with longer lunch breaks and riding into the cool evenings. That said today I wanted to got to Belgrade as quickly as possible to explore the town and spend a good half an hour in the shower – the first time in a week I’ve had a proper wash.
With a little help from a local cycling fan – and some chat about Mark Beaumont – and I found the hostel I was looking for on the first floor and lapped up the warm water and WiFi.
For dinner – I asked the hostel host for a vegetarian suggestion, not expecting anything – to be given Radost House. Two minutes walk from the hostel entrance I entered the front door of a nondescript flat block. The waitress, dressed in a long black dress, was sitting waiting for the first customer. Me. ‘Garden or house?’, ‘Garden please’.
We descended into a multi level space between houses on the steep bank heading down towards the river. Small tables were setup with floor seating on a deep red rug, modernist benches in the back for large groups. I selected a Parisian mosaic table in the bag.
Kittens played and caused chaos as I read the vegan options, the menu hidden in a book of Serbian characters. From my Primus stove to a shady Brooklyn style terrace, the contrast couldn’t be any greater but I accepted it with ease. And it really was easy with vegan Mexican food – my favourite. I ate and headed out to see the sight of town before bed for an early departure?