Day 44 - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - Ilok, Croatia to Ruma, Serbia - Trip 75.85 kms Time 4:55:55
I woke up at 2:30 and the noise had stopped or somebody had finally put that guy out of his misery! I opened my window again hoping to get a bit of a breeze coming off of the Danube but all I got was a dog barking! I got up at 6:40 and went down for b'fast at 7:15. It was all the usual b'fast stuff. I was even able to make myself a ham and cheese sandwich on some very nice fresh sliced bread. I must say Croatia and now Serbia really like their bread.
After b'fast I went around back and collected my bike from the storage room. I checked out and paid 300 KN for the night of much noise. I complained about the terrible noise (music). The receptionist apologized and said it was coming from Serbia and there was nothing they could do about it.
I left for Novi Sad at 8:30. There were a lot of hills (10 altogether) during the day's ride. The last one before Ruma was especially long and difficult. I passed through Hungarian/Serbian customs at 9:00. They were very friendly. Not much traffic on this quiet back country road.
I passed through Nestin, Susek, Cerevic, Beocin and Sremskikamenica. Had I followed the directions in the guide book I should have gone to Petrovaradin but I turned off towards Ruma on the 21. Not by choice but because of poor signage or lack of it! I stopped to ask if I could continue along the road I was on to Belgrad and was assured it was OK but it was a difficult way to go on a bike. At least that's the impression I got. Which is what I found out. It was a very difficult climb that took me well over 2 hours. Very hot with temps at 35 C +. No breeze. I had to get off several times and walk. Once I started coming down I was doing well over 45 kph with the brakes on! or what was left of them. There was a lot of traffic and I didn't want to get going to fast in case I suddenly had to stop. My brakes were not working all that well.
I stopped in Irig and after talking to a local about my trip, etc he told me about his dream of one day cycling to Paris/Barcelona. I got directions to a "hole in the wall" where I could change Euros to Dinars at 10-1. I went to the cafe next door and got 2 small bottles of water and a Nestea. Why do they only sell small bottles in Serbia?
I continued on to Ruma which was mostly downhill on a good well paved road. I arrived in Ruma at 3:00. It was very hot. 38C+ and after all the difficult hills I decided to find an hotel for the night. I checked out the Vila Hit and was able to get a room with b'fast and Internet for 31 E. I asked about a bike shop where I could get my brakes adjusted. They said they would do some research and get back to me. I locked my bike up outside the hotel/cafe and a guy helped me carry my bags up to the 3rd floor. I went down to the cafe for a nice cold beer and filled in my journal.
I worried about leaving my bike out on the street overnight. There was no garage or storage room. After 2 beers and sitting in 38C heat in the shade I decided to go up to my room which had an A/C. But first I asked about the safey of my bicycle and said I wanted to put it in my room for the night. There was a big discussion between the receptionist, the waiter and a young kid (around 20) who appeared to be in charge. The receptionist wanted to put it in the kitchen but it would have to be out by 7;00 AM. In the end the young fella carried it up to my room followed by the receptionist and myself. She removed a small area carpet and I was able to keep my bike by my bedside for the night.
I did some laundry. Checked the Internet which was OK and had a nap. I was very tired. The hills and the heat had really zapped me. The shower turned out to be a bit of a challenge. It's all brand new state of the art but already falling apart. I managed. I went out for a walk to find a restaurant. I apologized to the receptionist re having my bike in my room. She said it was hotel policy not to allow bicycles in the rooms but for me they had made an exception.
She recommended a local restaurant not far from the hotel. There didn't seem to be any other choices around. I asked for spaghetti bolognese but was told only "grill". I chose the "Cordon Blu" with a mixed salad and pommes frites. The local LAV lager beer is very nice. There were "No Smoking" signs on the main door but they don't seem to mean anything. The manager just brought out fresh ashtrays. I had a huge meal. The portions are supersized. I couldn't eat all of it! I walked back to the hotel. Bought a coke from a street vendor. Did Day 43 of my blog and was off to bed at 10:30.
This blog was posted at the Hotel Serbia in Belgrad, Friday, July 8, 2011