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to Belgrade, Serbia

Into the relative unknown for the first of many days, we cross the border into Serbia and onto Belgrade; one of three nights in hotels. Staying in the old quarter of the city, the restaurants and bars are a stroll away...

Wow, it’s hot! Didn’t really cool down too much overnight; already 30 degrees by 08h00 and rose to 36-37 for the rest of today’s ride...not great for either of us, though PP seems to suffer more.

After yesterday’s Sat Nav ‘discovery’, we decided last night to switch units each day...that way we get to lead for half of every ride...starting today.

Despite the creepy crawlies, mosquitos and dated showers, last night’s campground was great...not least it included a well earned beer! After graciously declining the offer of an amazing breakfast (also included) we headed out into Budapest, with me taking the lead.

I could take PP around a few key sights (pedestrianised areas permitting), remembering much of our weekend break a few years ago.

Stopping for a couple of photos at the Parliament Buidling, we made our way out of the city around 09h00, with a quick pit stop before continuing today’s journey.

Still with me in the lead, we covered the miles on slightly less well maintained roads (they’re awful in places), south; towards the Serbian border. Much of the landscape the same as the day before; all arable flat fields as far as the eye can see; practically no livestock.

Hats of to Hungarian drivers, they’re very bike friendly and a big thanks to all those that pulled over to let us overtake safely...we’re impressed!

At the half way point, we switched Sat Navs, PP taking over in front...2km later, we reached the Serbian border. Uneventful; checked out of Hungary, before being met by a smiling Serbian Guard who simply checked our papers and stamped the passports.

What a difference a few yards can make...Serbia is noticeably poor; the houses are run down in the north, there’s litter and fly tipping along the roadsides, verges are unkempt and the general sense is one of nope caring.

We take in glances from everyone we pass; not that you feel unsafe; slightly uneasy perhaps? There’s no doubting that foreigners, in the north, are unusual.

We ploughed on to Novi Sad, stopping for fuel and by contrast, the fuel station attendant couldn’t have been more welcoming; chatting away over some well needed water, his English was brilliant...much of which used to say how unhappy hot the weather was. We said farewell, staring the last leg into Belgrade.

Slightly more affluent, there are a few nicer towns and churches along this part of the road.

Belgrade sprawls outwards for miles and is a bustling capital (traffic included) as you approach the centre. Some sporadic driving by the locals means you have to keep your wits about you.

Heading via the fort, we arrived at our hotel and checked I hadn’t quite expected a suite, though it’s perfect to sort out the gear, shower and relax before a stroll to the old town for dinner!! Great staff, five stars to Hotel Nevski!!

A lovely meal in the old quarter...€12 each for beer, bottle of water, home made Serbian bread (like Brioche), a traditional Serbian salad of cucumbers, tomatoes and goats cheese, as well as a chicken dish and vegetables... amazing tastes and value.

Belgrade’s an eclectic city, changing from ruined corners, to fabulous cobbled streets adorned with lovely restaurants?!?

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