I cycled out of Novi Sad up a five mile incline climbing The Holy Mountain. A 500m climb leaves you sweaty even on a cool day but I soon dried off with a long downhill across countryside. At the first major village I met Helene and Sebastien a very nice French couple in their early 30's who are travelling with two very young children all the way from their home near Strasburg to The Black Sea and camping most of the way . Now that is brave and they have a lot of kit to carry. They gave me their blog site so I can follow their progress. I also passed the couple (German?)who are carrying an old dog in a children's buggy, we have been overtaking each other all the way from Germany. I am much faster but they never seem to take rest days so always re emerge on the same section as me.
The area I pass through is very rural, a few horse drawn carts and older women often wearing headscarves. It is difficult to believe I am only a few miles from a city of two million.
In the afternoon as i approach Belgrade I bump into two more cyclists, Michael and Fritz (so he claimed) from Germany. This turns out to be a key meeting as they confirm the issue with the maps. The latest English translation is 2008 and this is now out of date for the section south of Budapest and becomes more so the further you go. They have the updated German version from 2010. They tell me they met two Canadians two days ago who have turned back in Romania after getting lost and having to sleep rough. Being English speakers they had the same map book as myself. Their advice is not to go into Romania without the updated maps( which I can't find in Belgrade) or alternatively without a tent to sleep between villages. I do not have room for a tent. I checked some other blogs online which support their view.
Having slept on it overnight I have decided not to push on but to finish my journey here in Belgrade where I can still get a flight. After here there are no transport options of any kind until Bucharest. This is very frustrating but I cannot afford to get lost in Romania as I will not then get back to the UK on time for a number of key dates including Jo's wedding and a flight to Australia. Also the idea of being lost in one of the remotest parts of Romania at about the same time as the flood waters from Germany reach that part of the river does not really appeal!
The saddest thing is that unlike Bucharest B.A. donot fly to Belgrade and the two direct airlines will not take a bike. My plan therefore is to leave my bike here with a colleague, Andrew,who is based in Bucharest. The bike, a Dawes Super Galaxy has performed brilliantly with not a single problem en route (The ripped tyre was my fault for not changing it) and this makes me feel even more guilty about leaving it here. However there is little option.
I see Andrew for a couple of pints tonight.
Day 49. 61m/ 98k
Cumulative for the trip. 2205m/3528k
I can probably add on another 100 or so for cycling round towns, shopping and the fact my computer appears to under measure vs the official map distance.