Mountain views and camping in the churchyard
Balkans cycling trip, Day 6
11 July 2017: Valjevo – Sevojno
The hills get higher and days hotter as we head south across Serbia. We meet another cyclist, even crazier than us, sleep by a mountain brook and meet a dozen kids in a small town. Then we end up camping in a Serbian churchyard…
Distance: 88 km
Total distance: 403 km
We had to see the pretty streets of Valjevo at daylight so we did a short round on the cobblestones before breakfast. We had a speciality of the town, a sort of strudel with sour cherry. It gave us the power we needed to cope with the steep road as we left Valjevo.
Harder and harder
This first exhausting section was around 7 km and then we had a little break as we followed a mountain river upstream. We had our lunch in the tiny village of Bacevci, now almost completely abandoned (we suspect it is because of the huge quarry that operates right next to it).
Then came the last really difficult part for the day: 8 km uphill along hairpin bends and mostly without any shade. Just as we arrived on the top, I noticed another cyclist coming from the opposite direction. He was a French guy on his way back (!) from the Black Sea. He’d covered around 3600 km by then. We talked a bit and then said goodbye.
Before enjoying the downhill part, we stopped for lunch at one of the two restaurants. The Serbian burgers were hearty and delicious, if only a bit overpriced.
The boring part
The rest of the day we were descending alongside the river; it was fine but I got so sleepy after eating that I could have fallen asleep on the bike. We had to stop before Pozega to drink something cold as it was still sizzling hot though it was after 5.
We just rode across Pozega, which didn’t impress us much, and kept pedalling towards Uzice. The road between the two cities is narrow and busy with too many memorials referring to past tragedies. We planned to stay at a so-called eco-campsite near the town. The information I found about the exact location was a bit confusing: the website of the Serbian Campsite Association said it was north-east of Uzice, quite high in the hills but the owner’s FB profile put the site in Sevojno, a sort of sleeping town to the east.
An unusual campsite
I thought the latter should be more precise so we found the street and looked but all we saw was blocks of flats. We asked the locals, who were ready to help, but they had no idea. Then a group of teenagers joined us and tried help, all talking loudly at the same time in Serbian. It was fun but didn’t get us any further until an elderly woman came and explained that the campsite was in the other location…
It was far too late to ride another 8 or so kilometres uphill so we tried to ask people if we could put up our tent in their garden. After two refusals Anita had the idea that we could try the nice spacious park around the church. We got the permission from the caretaker and settled down behind some permanent tents, used at times of festivals.
For the first time we had cold dinner but we insisted on washing properly, using our standard method. The long day and the Macedonian wine had their effect on us and we were soon asleep.