Just over the bridge there is a levee with a nice cycling path. I was just admiring a pretty country house when a
black dog came barking out of it and bit deeply in to my calf. My first instinct was to peddle on away from the beast but when I got a few yards away and saw the blood streaming I thought it would be a good idea
to get it cleaned so I went back and was most unwillingly given some Bettadine and plasters. Fortunately I was able to cycle the 15kms back and Pavel insisted we went back by car to view the Vaccination certificate. I
was just glad that I'd insisted on anti rabies injections before I left Spain. I hope the dog is now mad from having bitten me.
After all that excitement we had a day in Bratislava and the best Ice-cream I
have tasted in my whole life, made by a family en route. Bratislava has some old buildings and a lot of coloured cows positioned around the old town but not much else, I found.
My next destination was Budapest and I
entered Hungary by the monastry town of Estorgem which I remember visiting with the WIMA girls at the Hugarian rally in 1988. A beautiful place and great intro route to take to the capitol. The camp site ythat I
last stayed at 10 years ago was now really expensive so I found a slightly cheaper one and then walked 10km the next day into the capitol along the Danube. Great walk but I was a bit tired to do all the sightseeing when
I got there so had a snooze in the park and went to see a great Hungarian folk dance show that night.
I love Budapest and I was sorely tempted when I saw a lovely fiddle for sale in one of the back street shops for
only 100E. But there is no space for it on the bike!
Only one more night in Hungary and then out to a new country, Croatia. Unfortunately the heavens opened and after 2 hours of torrential rain I had to pull off the
road and stay in a motel as |I just couldn't see and the road had heavy truck traffic. Very poor facilities and expensive.
However the next day was clear and I entered Bosnia i Herzogovina and started to notice how
many graves there were around. On visiting Mostar, a very pretty tourist village, the evidence of bombed buildings and the war memorials reminded me that this war only finished 10 years ago and is still fresh in peoples
Down at the coast I was back in Croatia again and this is a truly spectacular coastline and I spent a few days camped by the beach exploring the area. Clean water and lovely island views, a great holiday
spot. When I finally got to Dubrovnik, another amazing walled city, I visited the local bikers cafe and was invited to go and camp with some Serbians who were staying at a Divers camp site in Monte Negro. So I followed
their bikes. The trip entailed crossing the border, which was about an hours wait and reminded me of the Gib/Spain queue, then taking a ferry and finally going down some very narrow, steep, twisty roads, just on sunset.
I have now discovered that the Suzuki lights are useless and I will never be able to ride at night!! Even going through tunnels is dangerous!
Anyway, the Serbians are great company. I can't dive but had a great couple
of days drinking slivovitch with them. Beaches are not so clean as in Croatia but still a great coastline with interesting fortresses.
Igor and Tanya, my guides to the site, rode out with me again to get me back on
the road to the hills, of which Montnegro has plenty, and it was a very scenic ride through that country and ito Kosova, where the landscape changed dramatically from cool mountains to hor dusty plains. Not only that
but Kosova do not recognise the green card insurance for the rest of the Yugoslav countries and charge each foreigh vehicle a minimum 15 day insurance which costs 30E. I was only going to be there a few hours but still
had to pay it. Was a bit pissed off. The country is dirty and riddled with UN and KFor Forces. I was happy to get out of it into Macedonia where a charming family invited me to spend the night in their house,
instead of my original plan of camping by the river.
The next border took me finally into Bulgaria and I hunted out the Rila monastry and found some walking tracks. After finding a safe place to leave the
bike I spent four days walking but discovered that I am not as fit as I used to be and that those mountains are very tough. Fantastic scenery but very poor facilities. The country has not invested in it's tourist
potential and has a lot to learn about private enterprise after its communist regime. I hope it will improve but not get spoilt like so may other countries.
I didn't spend long enough in Sofia to form an
opinion, although it seems a lively city and there are a lot of parks. A friendly Turkish man let me use his office for internet access and I spent the night camped in the garden of some people from Sofia who had a
weekend house about 50kms out.
The countryside is lovely but the roads are mainly in very poor condition and, that with the low driving standard, makes every journey a slow one.
After this stop I will head on to the
Black sea coast and then down to Turkey. I hope to be able to send some photos to the web site from there as I hear the facilities are better in Istanbul.
Again my thanks to everyone en route who helped me.