Cycling the Lower Danube. Euro Velo Route 6. (Part 1)

Coming into Belgrade by train at 6.30am on a wet Saturday morning, in a sleeping car that dated from before WWII, was the most depressing point of the whole trip. I began to wonder why we had come.  Huge blocks of Communist era flats – inhabited but decaying.

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But after a couple of coffees and a sandwich at the bus station, and the rain having stopped, we set off towards the Danube bridge.  We had heard that this was tricky for cyclists. Actually – terrifying.  No chance using the roadway and the sidewalk was narrow and uneven, threatening to throw us off into the traffic maelstrom at any moment.  But we survived and, thanks to the signage for route 6, which in Serbia was excellent, we soon found ourselves on the flood dyke heading east.

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As you see, the flood plain was indeed flooded (there had been torrential rains south of here in previous weeks) and, that we were riding Bromptons.  Here, on day 1, we heard the first of many cuckoos who were calling throughout our trip, and too we were first introduced to the wild flowers in profusion which lined every road and track in the countryside.

We had no trouble finding a cafe for lunch, nor a pension (bed and breakfast) that evening, in Kovin.  Dinner was a bit more difficult – the first of many well concealed and near deserted restaurants, but excellent when it came. Nearby, a nice bar with decent local beer.

Also, the first of many abandoned and derelict factories, which we found particularly in Romania. A result of the fall of Communism and the changing map of world manufacturing.

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On the Sunday morning, as we had breakfast, we watched as ancient tractors, ancient horses and carts, and ancient people riding ancient bicycles passed by on the street outside. (We decided Kovin was the world capital of slow cycling – unbeatable). There was a farmer’s market – very busy, all over the road, and bringing life to what had seemed a dull, spiritless town. We headed towards Romania.

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