Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Romania to Serbia - Danube River

After the great ride with Tibi and Ruxi, they turned to the main road back to Sibiu, and I had a plan to continue down the track to get to Baile Herculane.. a spa town named known for being a favorite relaxing spot of dear ol' Hercules.  It surprises me that I couldn't find any place to sleep in this town tonight.  Well I could have if I wanted to fork out big bucks, but I didn't. VERY long story short.. it took me until 11 pm and many towns later to find a place..  Either they were far too expensive or there simply was nothing available due to a Romanian holiday this weekend (which I knew nothing about.. again..!)  I was completely exhausted, no dinner, and just crashed for the night in a dreadful hotel in the middle of industry land and railroad tracks... 

As tired as I was, there is no time to sleep in the next day as I must get into Serbia to find my Croatian friend Josip (we met in Croatia last March). He is planning on meeting me in Belgrade to show me through Serbia and Bosnia.. He's offered to ride with me ages ago and has taken time off of work to do this, so I must keep going and not be late..

Well the next morning got my very dirty bag on to my very dirty bike, and found a really nice road!!




I follow the Danube River west toward Belgrade along the Romanian side. This turns out to be a great choice of road, a spectacular and beautiful ride.

While crossing a bridge I see this big head out of the corner of my eye! Gee whiz!  I stop and take a photo, but I know nothing about it until I showed my photo to someone later to explain what/who it is.


It's a sculpture of King Decebalus, the last king of the Dacians.. who was defeated by the Romans (hence the name Romania).  This king is believed to have committed suicide after the defeat. ;-(

Passing by the current locals..


I wonder where he's going, I wonder where he's been..


Again, another surprise, this upcoming building caught my eye..


I later learn it's called the Mraconia Monastery (mraconia meaning corner), placed in an area of the Iron Gate gorge where two boats could not pass simultaneously.. (Maybe the boat that had to stop and wait could pop in to the monastery and pray? )  Built in the 1400's, it has seen it's share of conflict and empire changes.. as well as being destroyed by the river itself a couple times..

On down the road, the skies get increasingly dark.. sort of adds to the ambience of the area?


















With more surprises... I am taking the photo of my seriously dirty bike and happen to see a castle on the point over there on the Serbian side.. !! (I never have found out the story of that one..)


Eventually near Moldova Noua in Romania,  I cross the river and arrive into Serbia.  Another border crossing, another language, and new money.. of which I have none!!  And I am very low on fuel.  Part of the challenge, in this part of the world, using a credit card at the fuel pump is not an option in these small villages.. After asking at two fuel stations, I nervously roll into a somewhat larger town.  Luckily after slowly cruising the few streets, I see that very welcome little box on the outside wall of a bank.  And I must admit, nearly every ATM I have come across in the world asks which language I choose for my transaction, even way out here!  I like it in English, so easy for me.

Money and fuel complete, now for a snack.. not interested in lunch because it's quite late, just a snack.  This looks like it will do.


The store owner was thrilled to have an English speaking person in the shop.. he didn't speak, but he got his tiny daughter (shown below on the far right) to come in to see if she can say anything from what she is learning in school.  We didn't get too far on that one, she only knows numbers 1-10 and "hello".. What can I say, it's far more than I know in Serbian! ;-)  But she runs and gets some other kids to help.. nothing accomplished with language, but we enjoyed a little photo session regardless.


I eventually make my way through the Serbian countryside to the city of Belgrade where I am to meet Josip. 

He gives me the address for the hotel, and that gps is not going to cooperate~!  This is a big city and for the first time ever, with no mobile phone available, I hire a taxi to let me follow him.  My riding around in circles was going like... nowhere!

I go into the hotel and ask for Josip, when he finally comes out he is just laughing at me!!  I'm like, "What are you looking at Buster Brown?"  and he says, "You are so dirty..!"


And he insists on taking a photo of me..  Well?? What can I say, the day before I rode through the mountains of Romania with Tibi, today followed a rainy dirty track along the Danube, both of which I loved, but keeping clean is not my speciality! ;-)


First thing he has me do is take the bike into this very nice hotels garage and have the boys give it a wash.. no worries, happy to!!!  There is no way I wanted to carry my dirty bag into the fancy pants hotel, so the boys washed that off too.. thank you!!


And here he is... all shiny and new again!  Looks a bit weird actually!  Will be dirty again soon enough..


Quite a contrast of my last days through Romania and my rough accommodation choices to be here in a very unexpected surprise #10 for the day, nice clean hotel and garage... 

Now, one very tired and hungry Sherri Jo can now get clean herself.. See you! ;-)

1 comment:

  1. Romania, I would love to travel those roads ;-)
    Yea, the bike was pretty dirty but that shows the adventure you are having :-)
    Safe travels

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