- ODO 2447km
- Location East of Kragujevac, Serbia
- Weather 25-37 sunny with encroaching thunderstorm
- Feelings Happy – Welcomed to Serbia
The last couple of days have brought the worst roads, the most erratic drivers of the trip so far and 37 degrees in the shade for the majority of the hours of sun. Yet I’ve fallen in love with this country by the third day. The houses of coloured plaster – each built to the owners needs – the winding falling countryside. Alive. But most of all the people.
A typical scene from today – as I sit and drink a Sprite outside a petrol station in late afternoon the proprietor comes to sit on a chair nearby and lights a cigarette. Surrounded by fumes and rack of bottles of flammable oils and fuels. A man pulls up in a blue tractor. The colour of those classic tin plates you get at trendy Hackney eateries, as just as old. The proprietor goes to work and helps the man fill the tractor with diesel chatting away.
Once he has paid he comes out and on the way to the tractor shouts out in surprise! “Where are you from” – “London”, “Where are you going?” – “Sofia”. It’s easier to communicate my next stop rather than the eventual destination. London also.
Through shouted back and forward translation, as far as possible from UN style in-ear professionalism. I find out the proprietor’s sister lives in London and speaks very good English now. I also find out the tractor owner is an infant school teacher.
The encounter lasts the length as long as it takes me sip the cool sugary liquid down to the dregs of the bottle. I’m done and so are they.
“Do you have any trouble in Serbia?” The parting questions. “Just the dogs so far I say.”
“There are dogs everywhere!” the response.