The northern, Romanian side of the Danube was far more interesting than the Serbian side. Other than the wild, ruthless packs of dogs waiting around every corner my trip back to Serbia was perfect.
The road was is in very poor condition which kept traffic and commercial transport to a minimum, And rather than riding through a thick forests, the Romanian road was built directly on the rocky shores of river, and passed through several small villages. Locals fished and basked in the afternoon sun, and I pedaled west constantly in fear of being confronted by wild dogs. Most encounters resulted in a chase and on several occasions the dogs would grab hold of my panniers with their teeth and try to shake me from my bike,(Kevlar panniers anyone?). Completely defenseless, my only hope was to pedal as fast as possible, and wait until they give up their prey. Few dogs could keep up with me for more than a few meters but every once in a while a fast dog would bite at my feet and chase me far down the road.
From Romania I cycled back across the Serbian border to the city of Kovin, where I re-visited my friends from the fishing village of Dubavac. The night of my arrival, my host Dragan, prepared Sarma (mixed meat rolled in fermented cabbage) and we spent the evening sipping from his Serbian Rakia collection. Rakia is most commonly made from plum, but while at Dragan’s I tried Rakia made from Dunia, Apple, and Mulberry.
Dragan invited me to stay in his guest house, and I slept peacefully away from the dogs in a cozy bed. The next day, I woke up early for a Serbian breakfast of Coffee and a double shot of Rakia. We then went to the local fisherman to and purchased close to 10 kilograms of fresh fish for the evening festivities. Dragan offers to cook his famous soup on his outdoor stove converted from an old oil barrel.
Later on I joined Pesco, my other friend from Dubovac, for a late lunch with his family. We drank Rakia and I played around with his small collection of Serbian war toys. The sun went down, a small party was brewing in the backyard. A fish feast! Dragan’s famous soup and thin sliced fish fried in bacon fat. Rakia, wine, beer, and plenty of spongy Muslim bread, a fabulous night in the small village of Kovin!
Although communication is limited to broken English and my extremely poor Serbian, Dragan, Pesko and I had a great time hanging out and I felt very connected with both of them. My friends from another life.
After another great breakfast of Rakia, black coffee and leftovers, Dragan gave me a spare Schwalbe tire and I said good-bye to my friends. I then cycled back to Zabalj where I am now staying with my other Serbian friends Jovan and his family.
The weekend is prepped for more festivities, Sarma, Serbian doughnuts and more Rakia. Things are good in Serbia, but tomorrow I will continue west to the Monastery in Croatia.