Through the Djerdap

Not sure quite where to start with this one, the last days have been so amazing. After leaving Golubac we cycled through the fortress guarding the entrance to western Europe through the Carpathian mountains and on into the national park. The gorge carved out by the Donau is the biggest in Europe (not the highest, that’s in Montenegro) and in the narrowest points the river reaches 80m deep. I guess I expected the Donau to be much more powerful and just get bigger and bigger but it seems so much water is lost in the great plains of Hungary that the river seems smaller than in Vienna.

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That night we were struggling to find an accessible place to put the tent (being in a gorge) so Kathi opted to ask a local couple we cycled past if we could camp on their land. What a stroke of luck that was! I’m not sure we have could have met more hospitable strangers. They were a Serbian couple and their friend who lived across the road in a big house, who was there to do some fishing – they spoke a small amount of German. They fed us rakija, cake, biscuits, coffee and fruit juice plus talked us through the family photos and told us about the area. In the morning we were offered a shower, given more of the strongest Turkish coffee I have ever seen which would’ve sent me crazy if they hadn’t given us even more rakija to wash it down with.

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We were off by 9:30am and had a really slow morning taking pictures and cycling some big climbs. I realised the next time someone ask me how far we cycle in a day my answer will be ‘as little as possible’ for if the road is not boring then why even try to gain distance.

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Later on, exiting the gorge it seems the main thing protecting the gorge from the Ottomans was just a scary face carved into the rock wall. No wonder they made it to Vienna. 😉 Shortly after we had a long downhill (65kmph on a 65kg bike with a trailer is a scary thing to do) and exited into Romania. We can’t wait to get back into Serbia already.

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We stopped in a typical Romanian town with no discernable town center, had lunch and moved on.

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The evening wild camping was amazing. We heard wolves not so far away (no problem for pepper spray) and even saw a wild tortoise which also didn’t like the pepper spray… 😉

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Mike got a tick on his back but luckily Kathi’s mother is a doctor and we had a tick removal tool so just screwed it out and disinfected it, not even a mark left today hopefully there is no infection. Cycle touring, and especially wild camping makes your relationship with all animals much more profound. Ear plugs are a necessity due to all birds, cuckoo’s and cockerals especially and the grasshoppers can be almost deafening too. You always have to be aware of mosquitos and dubious of wild dogs.

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We cycled 85k yesterday and today will aim for 100 to get us into Bulgaria before 12pm.

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