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.
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! ;-)