I don’t think I’ve ever had such an early start to the day….by 8.30am I had reached Mohacs, 45kms(28m) down the road, which renewed my contact with the Danube. So I used my loose Florints to have a second, somewhat restrained(?) breakfast before I left Hungary.
But let me tell you a bit more about Pecs. A small university town with a stunningly beautiful centre, and yet to be discovered by the city-break tourists. It’s cathedral had a Byzantine air to it
…and I happened to pay a visit just as a wedding was coming out
…and as I wandered the streets, I was struck by the huge contrast between this majestic town and the rather depressed villages I had passed through crossing Hungary.
A construction of Da Vinci’s Collosus dominated the main square
…and I sat wondering if this young lady would break free from her moorings
She didn’t…….while I was there, at least. But that evening at the small town campsite, I met this delightful Dutch couple, Nicholas and Meta,
who invited me to share a four course meal, followed by Nicholas’ favourite digestif. What a feast! They were just returning to Holland from a 6 week tour of Eastern Europe, and they were able to give me the latest news about the flood damage in Serbia.
When I arrived in Mohacs to catch this ferry to take me across the Danube
a Hungarian gentleman on a bike spontaneously came up to me and spoke to me in French.
What surprised me was that Hungarians have never struck me as spontaneous, nor even curious about why I was cycling in their country (and I never saw a single other cycle trekker like myself), but in eastern Hungary, the people are different, and the villages are much prettier and well cared for. It seems the communist regime did little to quash the spirit of the people in this area.
Then I entered Serbia
the fifth country on my itinerary and, unlike all the other border crossings, this passage through a sleepy border control had me rooting for my passport, and standing patiently while a lethargic customs officer went through his well-rehearsed routine. When I asked about a money exchange, I was told 14kms down the road at Bezdan……and it was Sunday…so no banks open…..thank goodness for cash machines.
Now unlike the Hungarian Florint and it’s inflationary numbers, I can cope with the Serbian Dinar…very like the exchange rate of the old Spanish peseta. 1000SRD is about £7. But amazingly, they have a 10 dinar note worth……now wait for it….worth less than 7p!
I have yet to be handed coins in change after a purchase.
My entry into Serbia was heralded by an almighty thunderstorm
so I took refuge in a cafe for two hours over my 60SRD coffee (40p) and read an e-book on my phone. Heading towards Sombor, I noticed a sign for a campsite, followed it, and found myself paying little more than £3 to pitch in someone’s back garden
already occupied by the tamest owls I’ve ever seen
and while I was pitching my tent, I had to supervise little Danilo as he tried to fix the tent pegs
and the newly acquired kitten
did their best to distract me from the important job in hand.
Ah well, such is life…..