Serbian Generosity Knows No Bounds

I am now in Sofia and our troop of riders will be splitting up today.  The 5 days of cycling together have been wonderful. We have wild camped three nights, been hosted spectacularly for one night and now have a hostel in Sofia.

Spot the Englishman

Spot the Englishman

On the second day we rode as a group I managed to loose my handlebar bag which is possibly the worst thing that could happen.  It contains my wallet, phone, ipad, insurance details, Turkish visa, keys and passport.  I searched in a frenzy and realised I must have left it sitting on the street in a town 4 miles back.  My fellow riders kindly waited and watched my panniers as I raced back wondering what on earth I would do with nothing but the clothes on my back and a tent.  I arrived and found my little red bag untouched, sitting where I had left it 40 minutes ago, nestled on the pavement.

Too much Schnapps

Too much Schnapps

It is this kind of thing that slows down a group of 6 riders.  There are 6 times as many bikes to break and someone is always wanting to stop for wifi or just to sit in the sun.  One day through the Serbian hills we passed a hunting lodge and were beckoned in for schnapps and a brief attempt at communicating through hand waving.  After three shots we hit the road again and after a couple of miles were accosted by a farmer with more schnapps and wine.  Three shots later and we continued.  No more than a mile on the road and a family gave us bread, 8 fresh eggs, apples and water.  They even apologised for not having schnapps to give us.  the friendliness and generosity of Serbia has been unrivaled and I was sad to leave.

Mild-Camping as we called it

Mild-Camping as we called it

Sitting now in the hostel in Sofia I am preparing for the loneliness of my onward journey. Istanbul feels close now and I have bitter sweet feelings as the end draws in.

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