After the great stopover in Zagreb, I headed for Belgrade in Serbia. We (Agentivity) have our developers based there and I looked forward to spending some time with the guys there.
Whilst the routing suggested a relatively short drive, the border crossing from Croatia to Serbia can be a bit longer than the usual “drive-through” since Serbia is not part of the EU (yet). Especially the trucks were queing for literally kilometers as one approaches the border, which made me wonder how long it will take for me to cross.
But it was a relatively painless, about 30 minute wait sort of thing with not too many questions asked, apart from a “are you sure you’re only 1 person in that motorhome”, which was asked about 10 times. However, much to my surprise, they did not inspect the inside of the motorhome at all! (However on the Serbia to Bulgaria crossing coming up next, they did indeed insist on at least seeing the inside.)
Serbia – who would have thought I’d ever be touring here – has a vibe about it which is very inspiring. The old next to new is visible everywhere and you can see a nation ready to do what it takes. At the same time there is a lot of sceptisism about what people from other countries might be willing to pay for….for instance, the campsite I stayed at (Camp Dunav) has the most breathtaking views of the Danube. I pointed this out to the campsite owner and told him they should trim down the trees and bushes that are growing wild at the edge of the site to expose that absolutely incredible view, and if it was me, I’d built a deck out there and serve sunset drinks! But he did not think that would add much value to the offering and simply shrugged his shoulders.
It’s a decent campsite though with free, OKish wifi and average bathrooms. Very friendly service and combined with the view at only EUR13 a night, a bargain.
It’s outside the city and though there is a bus, I decided to bike it (with Olli in the buggy) to Donogh, who works with us at Agentivity and who lives in Belgrade. He warned me it was quite a cycle…about 20 KM and I had to cross a major bridge (3 lane highway effectively) and then navigate roads where in most places, there is no cycle lane. So yes, there I was cycling on Serbian highways with Olli in the back! Not to be repeated. But I did get plenty of people pointing and some even driving along on their motorbikes / mopeds chatting and finding my bike setup with Olli in it, absolutely super.
From Serbia I undertook a trip to Bulgaria to establish our European business there (as opposed to being in Spain) and sort out a few administrative tasks to ensure that is up and running. That saw me in Plovdiv, Bulgaria – I’ll write about that in the next update.