Goodbye second home
Monday morning, end of August: We are leaving Silver Lake and the small village Veliko Gradiste where we stayed three weeks and have made a new amazing friendship. Thank you Lidija! And further we go on the EuroVelo 6 to Djerdap National Park and Donji Milanovac. Our hosts have provided us with homemade schnapps and some spicy peppers. Almost 80 km are lying ahead of us. The heat wave of the past weeks toned down, but the next one seems to be just imminent. We cycle along the promenade of Vinci and pass the fortress of Golubac where we have to go through a small tunnel underneath it. As a truck driver I would NEVER EVER take this road. Tunnels in France seem to be a joke in comparison.
Djerdap National Park
Ahead of us lies the gate to Djerdap national park. The first route section is flat and we are almost floating; surrounded by mountains, the azure blue Danube and stunning nature. There are only a few cars passing by and I am enjoying every pedal rotation. Behind every curve seems to hide an even more beautiful sight than before.
After 25 km we stop and look for something to eat in the small village of Dobra as we are very hungry. Fortunately, we meet Stanojevic and his mum who cook for us. After a sumptuous meal and a quick nap we move on to Donji Milanovac through the idyllic landscape of Djerdap national park. 20 dark tunnels are ahead of us which we pass flooded by adrenalin although we enjoy the fresh breeze. Maybe we should camp inside here? Well, better not…
Suddenly, out of nothing a huge glass dome appears in front of us. Lepenski Vir is an archaeological museum that shows life of the very first European settlers. They have been found during excavations in the 60s when the huge Danube dam Djerdap I was built. The findings are around 8.000 years old, very impressive! Nemanja shows us the exhibition and we watch an interesting movie about the excavations. In the meantime sun has set and we decide to pitch up our tent on the museum site. There we meet the Canadian-English couple Kelly and Paul who are also spending the night here. They are cool and fun guys; Paul is a blogger too and has already experienced quite some adventures.
Next morning, after a super exhausting gradient we reach the cute and small city Donji Milanovac. Ivan from the tourism organization welcomes us joyfully: “Matthias, we finally meet each other!” Actually, we have planned to arrive here already a few weeks ago, if we would not have had such an amazing time in other parts of Serbia.
Ivan is a funny and nice guy and proudly shows us his town, the small museum and the beach. Further we even get a private film screening in the modern visitors’ center about Djerdap national park with its extensive flora and fauna as well as an exhibition about wild animals that live here; very interesting and educational.
We let the evening fade away over dinner with grilled cheese, meat, fresh tomatoes, bread, local wine and Rakija in the restaurant Lepenska Ribica and brainstorm a little bit about how the tourism development in Donji Milanovac could be pushed in a sustainable way.
This story is already very long so, I will tell you about my encounter with #DjerdapGeorge in my next blogpost :)