Serbia wasn’t on my agenda of countries I planned on visiting on this trip. When I was in Slovenia, Tit recommended the good food and beautiful women there. What more reason do you need really? Now, that I passed through the country I can absolutely agree with him, adding amazing landscape and outstanding hospitality to the list. But let’s start at the beginning, in Sombor.
As usual all countries I visit, start with crossing the border. So far it has been easy since all countries have been member of the EU and the controls at the border where more like a meet and greet. When I got to the border control in Serbia they where of course a little suspicious of that bearded guy traveling by himself in that old Vanagon. So as everybody likes old cars of course, they couldn’t resist to have a look inside, under the seats, in my dirty laundry, toolbox… etc. The classic being, as every Vanagon driver knows, having to explain that there is the engine underneath my bed in the rear and not the room for smuggling 200Kg of heroin. So I feel a lot securer now that the borders to the east are secure! I think there will be way worse car inspections coming… so I consider this just a warmup.
My first stop in Serbia was Sombor where I meet with Alexandra from warmshowers.org. Since I wasn’t riding on a bike we just had some lunch together and she gave me some recommendations of where to go in and around Sombor by bike, as well as places to see and go to in Serbia. We had a really good talk about environment, cultur, couchsurfing and few other things. The topic of traveling in an old car like I do came up, since that struck her as not being very eco at all:
So in case some of you are wondering about this as well (If you don’t, skip to the next paragraph ;)) Regarding my Co2 Footprint while traveling in an old Diesel Transporter build in ’89. That can’t be good, get a newer Car with less fuel consumption! I average around 7,5-8 L diesel depending on the terrain. So if I get a newer car like the VW T5 or something similar I might average around 6 L maybe? What has always to be considered with new cars is the Co2 Emission from building them. If you take that into the calculation it would take me about 10-15 years of driving until I’m more eco-friendly. In general my footprint is about the same or even a little smaller as if I where living back in Germany, all my electricity is produced by solarpanels, my water consumption and waste water production is minimal (I don’t flush after peeing on a tree), there is no (or really little) heating required and the food I buy on the trip is mostly local. After all if I would have just flown to south east Asia the emissions produced would be about the same.
Now back on topic. After some good food and a visit to the city I found a nice camping spot next to a football field. I didn’t know at that point, that my mortal enemy was living there as well, commonly known as a Weed-Cutter [Noisus Maximus]. This wasn’t our first encounter, this creatures seem to be active mostly around sunrise and their humming mating call is known to attract Leave-Blowers to mate with them. So far we have meet in every country I visited, so this might be an invasive species, I have to keep an eye on this.
I went on a bike trip that day, heading out to the banks of the Donau river. The tour took me along some beautiful back roads with small houses and nice landscape until it ended at a gate on the riverfront. There was an opening for bikes and after that there was a dirt path continuing along the riverbank. Unfortunately that path disappeared after about 1 kilometer and so I was rumbling along over open fields. I’m glad I opted for front wheel suspension back in the days when I assembled Frank. Still it was quite shaky and I didn’t see the Donau at all since it was behind a little forest on the other side. When I joined back with the main road after a while there was a small sideroad that eventually took me to the river, at last. On the way back to civilization I came to a bridge that was out and you had to take a ferry across. That ferry was there for the tractors that bring wood out of the forest, and it was powered by hand on a rope that was strung across the river (not the Donau). On my way back to Sombor I decided to go to the cafe I had visited the day before for some lunch. My map on the phone showed no direct way to get there, but maps are not that accurate here I had found out before. So I went down streets, dirtroads, paths, trails ending up on a field, again. Determined not to go back around I made my way along cows over small boards laid across creeks
and ended up on the main road that I would have taken into town anyway. Well, at least I got something to tell now :) That evening I meet with Ivana (Couchsurfing) for some beer and shared some wisdoms about live, traveling and everything else, that’s the stuff I like so much about traveling!
Next blog entry coming soon: Serbia II – Donau or bust!