Sunday, September 4, 2011

Serbian Hospitality

Curtis posted;

Taking the train to Belgrade took several hours and we arrived just before nightfall for our first day in Serbia. Riding on the roads we quickly realise that we could not expect the same courtesy from motorists that we had experienced in other parts of Europe, it was every man for himself. Pedestrians were hesitant to walk out at zebra crossing for fear of being hit. Even the more aggressive pedestrians who would take on the traffic, would quickly scurry across the road when they notice the cars would not stop. As we rode into the night, occasionally being run off the road by impatient motorists and buses, we began to realise how Toto felt.  At one point Cara yelled out "this is stupid crazy, if our parents could see us right now!".

Getting to Smederevo would be easy enough as we were following the river once again. However, we didn't bank of the road being rather hilly and resulting in some nail biting night riding on Serbian roads.  The dogs were also back and the 'short sword' came out as we were chased into the darkness by many mutts.

Arriving in Smederevo, Goran (the friend of a friend) showed us true Serbian hospitality and no nonsense conversations on the sensitive topics of the 90's war.  Goran himself was a soldier posted in Macedonia and his brother Marco was in Kosovo, listening to their stories while we spent time with them was humbling and also a little scary. 

We spent a few days in this great little Serbian town waiting for other friends to arrive to travel to the famous Guca Trumpet Festival. Given our bicycles, and our efforts it was decided that we would be included in the towns annual theatre festival opening ceremony. The festival is held every year and attracts many guests from all over Europe. It is held at the town's medieval fortress located on the banks of the Danube river. The lighting and stage show was great. I have included some photos for you. Now whilst I was pleased that the costumes were white for our inclusion in the performance, it seems that we had bitten off more than we could chew when we were hoisted up by a crane and cables way above the crowd.

Just Kidding

Goran owns a bar, on the mall in town, where we spent many an hour over the few days, drinking and chatting to the numerous locals, and Goran's friends who had come in to see the people with the funny accents. Most people were very warm and friendly, and by the end of a few days we had gone out to dinner and lunch twice, and had two fishing trips planned for future dates. When language became a barrier, they would often just shout us Racki instead, which for those unaware, is a very strong liquor distilled from fruit.
With the car arriving from Vienna we tucked our bikes into bed, and set off for Guca.

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