Day 37: Ferry to Ram
Friday August 2 - Day 37 - 34miles - Total 1453miles
We had agreed on an early start so we were all up and ready by 8am. Dragan eventually showed up and made us an excellent breakfast - cheese, eggs, whole tomato and bread... a perfect way to start the morning. Frustratingly, Bruce misplaced his second pair of sunglasses on the trip, which leaves him no sunglasses at all. He thought he might have left them at the place with the naked ladies on the wall, but they said they hadn't seen them... But nicely, Dragan actually gave him a free pair of cheap Chinese ones that were left in the back room of his place. So at least his eyes are protected from bugs, if not from UV radiation. Thank you Dragan!
We went back up the tiny road, past the place with the naked ladies, onto the levee, and back into Dubovac. We were headed for Stara Palanka where we would catch a ferry to the other side of the Danube to stay in Serbia for another day. We made good time as the wind from yesterday afternoon was gone. The last three miles were on a levee that was dirt and a bit rough in places. Cows were out to pasture on the levee... We even had one pose for a picture or two. She was very pretty.
We reached the ferry at 10:50am but the ferry only runs at 7am, 10am and 1pm (and other afternoon hours that didn't matter to us). So we had to wait 2 hours for the 1pm ferry. Luckily there was a restaurant right at the ferry terminal (terminal is a strong word for a dirt ramp ending in a livid green slime covering the canal at this point). Unluckily, we didn't have much money left. So we had a water and coke whilst waiting and we all wrote postcards to people back home.
When the ferry arrived about 10 minutes before 1pm, we asked for the check. The small cost of our water and soda wasn't enough obviously for the staff, so we were charged a sitting fee of a euro each!!! The bill came out to 5 Euro! Lesson: Do Not sit at the Restaurant Danube in Stara Palanka without having some cash on you! I just hate being taken advantage of for being a tourist.
The longer-than-expected ferry trip took us out into the Danube and over to Ram, which had a cool castle on the hill. We ended up paying a higher price for the ferry than the touring cyclist next to us who spoke Serbian. This is definitely a more touristy area and we are noticing that they will take advantage of tourists... which is sad... but something you have to deal with sometimes.
There was a steep uphill that practically started at the ferry out of town which was a swift kick in the pants after sitting for 2 hours in the shade and then standing for 20 minutes in the sun on the ferry. After the hill the asphalt surface of the road went to hell! Totally rutted and narrow. Not to mention we were now cycling in the hottest part of the day since we had to wait on the ferry.
Then we had a downhill onto the causeway to Silbersee. Andrea lost her flipflops for a bit as they had come undone from the back of her bike and almost took out the Yugo that was following her... with the shape that Yugo was in ... I think the flip flops might have won.
Little did we know that a festival was going on Velika Gradiste this weekend - so all ( I mean ALL) the rooms were taken at the Silbersee, where we had planned to stop for the night. So we found the local tourist office and asked for some help. The tourist lady was very helpful and tried to get us rooms. There was one that she found, but it was a room for 4 people, decked out in red satin, up a narrow twisted stairwell, in an non-airconditioned attic... for 10Euros EACH! Let's just say, we thanked everyone who helped us and headed down the road to find a place for the night away from the biggest festival Serbia has seen in the past century.
We cycled onto Vinci (about 10km down the way) so still a lot of rooms were taken, but we managed to find the local fixer who found us a couple of rooms. In this part of the world, you find the guy who knows everybody and he calls each guest house and private residence that has rooms, to see if they can take you. This guy did his magic and managed to get us a nice pair of rooms for 10Euro per person with a kitchen, a porch, and a hammock. No breakfast and no internet though. The place looks a lot like Pinewoods with cabins and a lot of tall spindly pine trees.
Andrea and Stefan walked to the shop and got provisions for the night's dinner and tomorrow's breakfast. Rebecca hung their hammock out on the front porch. We had a dinner of ripe tomatoes, old (but still good) bread, and local feta cheese. The feta cheese took some finagling though... it was actually hidden under the counter at the shop, and we only got access to it after a very nice Serbian/Austrian guy translated what we wanted to the shop owner. The shop owner then took out a big bucket from under the counter and a big knife from the cutting board and carved us a piece of this incredibly salty feta cheese. It was good!
We all sat up and chatted until about 10pm.
Have to be out by 9am.
What a strange world... and it is ours!
The World is Ours!