I go faster then ever imagined. In the last three days I covered about 300km, on foot it would take me two weeks, at least. I have more freedom as I can cover more distance in a shorter time. I need not to worry about food and water so much as when on foot. I am a little less free, however, on the roads I travel. My bike is not the most solid and I do not know how much my cart can take. So I do bike along roads with heavy traffic sometimes. Avoiding the big gaps in the road while being overtaken by a big cement truck can be pretty scary I tell you! But on a long, endless road between fields and forests with the sun on my face and the wind at my back, everything is forgotten. The rambling of the cart behind me sounds almost meditative.
Since the last time I wrote I crossed the Serbian border and headed for Novi Sad. The city captured me in the same way as Bratislava did. A really relaxed atmosphere. Although it was Monday, the terraces were full, people were enjoying what could be one of the last great summer days. There were popcorn stands, men selling balloons, children in remote controlled cars and live Balkan music on every street corner. I was reminded of my trip to Albania and Kosovo just last year. The same vibe was in this town, I am in the Balkan!
Yesterday I biked with three French guys. They started from Berlin and are making their way to Istanbul as well. They want to arrive at Christmas, so are taking it slowly. It was great to ride with them for a day. Seeing someone in front of you and knowing someone is at your back makes a world of difference. We rode from Novi Sad to Belgrade, passing small villages and happily greeting farmers. We had lunch in front of the village geek. An old man with a love for mechanics who made a doorbell which is actually to cool to describe. But when a button was pressed a robot in the garden made an awful lot of noise and started peeing.
At the same time military aircrafts passed low over our heads as they rehearsed for the big military parade in Belgrade this Thursday. Once in town we saw parachutes coming down guided by the soviet music that goes best with these kind of occasions. At the same time boats were approaching on the Danube and countless tanks rolled in while darkening the sky with their exhaust gasses. The parade is being held for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the city. Vladimir Putin will be here to watch as well. It promises to be a great day!
I love biking for now and will probably make long days in the coming weeks, riding from dusk till dawn. I know it makes no sense to put out a date for my arrival in Istanbul, but I guess it will be in three to four weeks. If anyone is still planning to visit me along my route somewhere, or wants to be in Istanbul on my arrival, let me know. I will be happy to meet you wherever.