After yesterdays superb cycling day, I woke up this morning to very low cloud & drizzle plus totally lacking energy. I would have stayed, but the internet was diabolical cutting in and out all the time.
I set off into the wet, thankful for my Aldi cycling trousers as the temperature had plummeted to 12 degrees or so. I crawled up the 500ft climb from Eselnita then dropping down into Orsova, pleased that I hadn’t stayed there. Leaving Orsova you meet the E70 & really heavy, heavy traffic 🙁 the road is narrow with many viaducts & bridges all of which narrow the road even more (for some reason they all have a steep narrow ramp to get behind the barrier – more dangerous than it’s worth) the two tunnels are mercifully short. All in all as bad as yesterday was good. The traffic lessens dramatically after The Iron Gates as the trucks are obviously going to Serbia.
By the time Severin was reached I was soaked and worn out. The good news is that I managed to get a 4G Vodafone SIM for less than £10 with 1.5GB of data astonishly no ID or paperwork required. France take note!
Good sounds were coming out of the Cafe/Hotel Clipa so I called it a day after less than 30 miles, pleased to be out of the rain and to play with 4G for the first time, Although the hotel has good WiFi too. Tonight I had a 90 minute legs sport massage by the local football coach the first masseur who just wanted to talk. At £8 a bit of a bargain.
Rain is forecast for tomorrow if it’s heavy I will just stay here for another day.
If you are thinking of cycling The Danube then just do this section!! Basically today can be summed up in one word WOW, stunning scenery, great empty roads & morning coffee for 60p.
I’m so pleased at choosing to cycle on the Romanian left bank rather than the Serbian right bank which looked awful with it’s endless tunnels, viaducts etc. For anyone debating which side to bike on, it’s a no brainer there is plenty of accomodation, although non of it is listed on booking.com or tripadvisor the road is only broken up, due to landslides, in a few parts, which is good as it obviously keeps the traffic down. Also it’s mainly flat except for a couple of biggish hills, see My Strava data for where they are!
Worst feature of the day was the packs of marauding dogs, usually they just barked but sometimes all you could see were white teeth 🙁 I’ve certainly learnt to sprint now, which is OK until the road surface suddenly changes to potholes 🙁 🙁 Afterwards I found a big stick which I kept lodged in my handlebars (see the pic).
An excellent 74 mile bike ride all though a bit frustrating when you see the huge kink in it just to cross the Serbian/Romanian border at Kaluderovo & then to pedal back to The Danube.
Very pleased to stay on the left bank, as Romania is excellent, great smooth roads, smiling waving people (makes you feel like royalty), and the ride alongside The Danube is SUBERB totally unspoilt, although for how much longer I wonder….
Interesting to me that Serbia seems to be very prosperous, new farm machinery, factories & people walking purposefully even though it isn’t in the EU whereas Romania which is in the EU seems poor, gangs harvesting sweetcorn by hand, rusty small tractors, still using horses for real work etc
The guy (apparently he was one of Tito’s bodyguards) selling Tim Sistem wood burning stoves for €150 assured me I would find a room in Moldova and he was right. So I’m now in the Kenic Pension & Pizza place.
Tomorrow should be really good as its the narrowest part of the Danube in the gorge where it breaks through The Carpathians at The Iron gates. The lady here says it’s 105km to Orsova and my next bed…
Back on the road again after my two week break exploring 5 star luxury in Hungary with Sally who has written a great deal about it here. The Residence Wellness Hotels we stayed in were both very comfortable with good facilities and fast WiFi . My only gripe is that both hotel pool areas had slippery floor tiles whereas the hundred’s of years old thermal Kiraly pools had perfect non slip surfaces & water fountains to drink from!
I retrieved mv bike from it’s fourth floor refuge kindly given by the owners of Vila Terazije whilst I was in Budapest. Sprayed my shoes & bike bags with the waterproofing and set of with my new Aldi biking trousers bought over by Sally, which rapidly proved to hot! So will now have to find somewhere in my overpacked bag to put them. The first major obstacle was trying to get the rear bottom gear with my right thumb, going up the incline to The Danube Bridge leaving Belgrade. I ended up doing a U turn then using my palm to change gear. A passing motorist even offered to help.. Hopefully before I hit the hills in a couple of days it will have calmed down.
The Danube Book 4 by Bikeline makes no mention of the left bank route which is now well marked, all be it a rough mud track in many places. The route goes through some pleasant villages with food & drink shops plus passing an oil refinery and derelict factories. I made it a lazy day by stopping after 46 miles in Kovin at the Villa Milano hotel not 5 star but plenty good enough for a nights stay.