Following Your Nose

November 20, 2009

‘Be Prepared’ is the boy scouts motto. I have no affinity with this motto when it comes to navigation and I have  managed to come the last 1000km from Serbia using only a 1:1200,000 scale map and compass.

Most places and signs use the Cyrillic alphabet which communicates nothing useful to me, I can’t speak or understand any of the language and therefore asking for directions is near impossible.

The more I think about the motto ‘Be Prepared’ the more I think I have become completely reckless. If I was called a ‘Gypsy’ for living hand to mouth I might be tempted to agree.  I never know where I am going to stay, what or where I am going to eat, time has become obsolete and instead replaced by the simple necessity of daylight.

I am an English man. I am supposed to know in advance the answers to all these questions and I don’t. More importantly I don’t really care that I don’t know because I know that I will work them when they need to be worked out. Perhaps this is not a sustainable or effective way of living in a modern and complicated world but for a short time I will savour the freedom.


The Enemies

November 20, 2009

All hero’s need a foe and I have three of them. They are not the Joker or The Iceman but they are still a challenge.

I have written an ongoing account of ‘The Dogs’ but today I had a day of the ‘The Lorries’ and ‘The Tunnels’ as I cut through the mountainous border from Serbia to Bulgaria.

The scenery was truly stunning with deep tree-lined valley’s, blue skies and village life lining the roads. The problem was the international single lane highway that was my only route through.

The Nice Bit

The Lorries

The Tunnels

The Lorries and the Tunnels Together!

Cycling can be hardwork

November 19, 2009

I have not reached the freedom of sleeping on grass verges but it has been tempting. I naturally did my Good Samaritan bit and gave the old Serbian gentleman a good shake. I am greeted with a fierce groan which I interpret as a “do not disturb” sign.

2000 Mile Day In Pictures

November 17, 2009

If the number of times a person uses the word ‘I’ is representative of the size of their ego this journal/blog should be doing a very good job at pushing me towards the top of the leaderboard.  With this in mindI’ thought ‘I’ would temper ‘my’ enthusiasm with some photos 🙂 Read the rest of this entry »

“All Roads Lead Somewhere”

November 16, 2009

I think this is a quote. Or maybe it is “All Roads Lead to Rome.” I don’t know. Whatever the case I have used the philosophy a few times and the annoying fact is that very often roads go somewhere but unfortunately it is not always the place you want to go to. Secondly and more importantly once the road has gone to the place you don’t want it to go it quite often stops. Read the rest of this entry »

Its Raining Sweet Potatoes

November 15, 2009

Getting a good slipstream is a luxury when you have been pedalling into a headwind for a few hours. The further East I pedal the more slipstreaming possibilities are presented.

I have had tractors, horse and carts, East Geman Trabbi’s with ‘mature’ drivers hunched over the steering wheel, road diggers and more slow Trabbi’s blowing big billows of pungent smoke out of the exhaust.

Today I was lucky to pick up a large lorry and stick on the back of it for a few kilometres between Novi Sad and Belgrade.  Not only did this dirty brute offer my legs a welcome break but also some protection from vehicles approaching too fast from behind.

I could see the line of dirty roundish objects along the back rim of the truck lightly bouncing with the rumble of the road about a meter above my head. Everything was going fine and the inevitable ‘big’  bump in the road appeared creating a shower with one of my favourite vegetables.  I was pleased to take no direct hits but sad to lose my ride.

I am not sure what the epitaph for a fatal collision with a potato might read.

Rubbish in Serbia

November 14, 2009

Cycling South through Serbia has some beautiful spots if you can ignore the heaps rubbish dumped along the sides of the roads. Some of the smells are atrocious and this is the best place to spot innards of stray dogs pasted all over the roads. At least that is one fewer stray that I will have to deal with.