Ottoman 5: Mohacs, Hungary to Novi Sad, Serbia
Thursday, July 21, 2011
A border crossing. Sign day. Along the Danube. Apples. A bee sting. We like Serbia.
We did our usual up at 6:30, breakfast at 7, on the road at 7:30am routine and left the Pannon Hotel in Mohacs for the ferry crossing. Since we went to dinner in Pecs last night, we really didn’t see much of Mohacs at all. It seems like a nice village, with some industry. About 18,000 people. And they have a website. http://www.mohacs.hu/ Good luck.
Here’s Jürgen eating breakfast while Lisa and Tom consult the maps.
The riding team for the first 15 miles or so in the rain was Lisa, Nels and Jürgen. I stayed with Annie to talk a bit about the finer points of SAG support – staying mostly behind, stopping at confusing intersections, checking riders as you drive by… But first we had to cross the Danube on a ferry. Here’s Lisa (she loves rain) and the guys behind heading there.
That second photo is a photo op of a photo op. Then the occasional photo of Bob getting out of the van on the ferry, and the riding team heading up the ramp on the other side with a good perspective on what the Danube looks like here. After four days in Hungary, we finally got to the border with Serbia… The border crossing was official, if not too busy.
At the crossing we found a great sign welcoming bikers to Serbia. We all piled out and admired it, while some dogs danced around Annie as she took the first Serbian team photo.
The sign says:
Welcome to Serbia
We wish you a nice ride and the wind at your back
It shows the Danube route through Serbia, with towns and distances, and the logo for the EU Veloroute 6. We felt welcome. Then we started seeing these really great signs showing directions and distances along the way. Here’s the first one, and a shot of Annie confirming things with a local.
The cool thing is that each sign has a saying on the red bar at the bottom. The top sign says
So, you are about to leave Serbia? Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened
The bottom sign says You entered Serbia. Leave all your hope… because you don’t need it. Just have fun
So we rode along the Danube doing just that…
We did a little detour to maximize the time along the Danube vs. going through the country fields. Here’s a morning shot on the dirt track, a view Nels and Tom checking out a sign, (this one says: All roads lead to Rome. (Italian Proverb) All roads lead to Beijing. (Chinese proverb) in both English and presumably Serbian).
Most of the ride was just the top of the dike, trees, fields and the Danube, but we did pass an occasional house or village. Here’s some Serbian kids I took a photo of. The team later informed me that they were hustling for money. It might have been fun to give them some, but then again…
We have this concept called ‘Water Feature’ which is often followed by a more engaging concept called ‘Water Event’. I promised Lisa one yesterday and fulfilled it today, in the Danube along a little café on stilts.
That’s Bob & Nels disrobing and heading in. Lisa NEVER misses a water event and I’m sure there’s evidence of it on one of the many other cameras on this trip.. And then it was time to celebrate at the little café. Here’s Jürgen, Nels and Tom taking a break from taking a break.
Back on the road, we took a break, and Tom pointed somewhere, and then we took another break and Tom pointed to another sign. There were dozens. This one says. “Let’s now have a moment of silence for all the Americans who are now stuck in traffic on their way to a health club to ride a stationary bicycle. Congressman and bicycle commuter Earl Blumenauer at the inauguration of a new DC bike path. Then Lisa took a break and Annie got on the bike for the first time – well garbed.
Jürgen and I rode together, as did Nels and Annie. We had about six miles of very, very difficult bike path. That’s Nels coming up and Annie behind. And here we are approaching Novi Sad. This part of the path was notable for the cow parts along the side of the road, and the technique of mowing the grass by burning it. One last sign:
This is a sad sign… and on it the words: Sorry for “oouh”, “ouch”… Inconvenience regretted. They new their path was bad there and apologized, but that doesn’t explain the damaged sign. Finally it was into Novi-Sad, the second largest city in Serbia. We stayed at the Zenit hotel, did the usual end of day beer, walk to the square, have dinner, and go back and crash.
I am so far behind on these posts it’s not even funny. We’re leaving early, having long days with just enough time to wash up, eat and crash before we do it again. But it is fun.
Bob 7/31/11 5:26p Istanbul