It’s been a few weeks since i did a real update so in between important skype calls and drafting emails i thought i’d write a quick post.
My time in Belgrade had to come to an end at some point. The need to get back on the road was growing ever greater. I sat on the train headed back to Istanbul and as the dull grey urban sprawl that i’ve affectionately called home for just under two months disappeared over the horizon i thought back to all the random events of the past few weeks in Serbia. I’m not sure how much i’ve written about previously so i’ll just do a quick recap to fill you in on my time spent back in the Balkans.
After a lenghty bus journey from Istanbul to Belgrade, i went to stay with my friend Sarke at his home in Sabac where i spent my time drinking Coffee and Rakija in equal amounts, surfing the internet, stuffing my face with fantastic foods and occasionally venturing out to a local bar or club. We drove to a Novi Sad for a couple of days to visit a bike bar where i attended what i can only describe as ‘Pork Fest’. For 8 Euros we ate as much of a whole pig as possible and drunk a fair few beers to boot. I also made some sausages…
Then it was time to for Sarke to visit friends in Greece via Belgrade where he would drop me off to stay at a Hostel for a few days while i waited for my visa email notifications. His friends Gile and Jelena very kindly put me up for those few days. A few days turned into a week, a week turned into a fortnight and so forth. My hosts didn’t even blink an eye at a strange English traveller sleeping in their spare room for weeks on end and eating all their food.
I would spend some of my wandering round the city taking photos, drinking coffee, drooling over the English section of a bookshop at books i couldn’t afford, visiting the zoo and meeting with various groups of friends i’ve made during my time in the city. My evenings would alternate between sitting in a comfy apartment watching movies while the temperature dropped to -17, and going out to house parties or bars/clubs/gigs with friends. I had a touch of the flu at one point which, coupled with a cracked nose and rib (don’t ask) resulting in a slight pain when sneezing or coughing – not fun i can assure you.
As the people following me on twitter will know I also managed to fit in a visit to the UK to attend the London Bike Show and to sort out some of the banking issues which has caused this large delay. But more on that in a future post.
So now i’m back in jolly old Istanbul surrounded by familiar sights and plenty of stray cats to keep me entertained. The lack of exercise and abundance of food has left me slightly more ‘weighty’ than i’d have hoped but i guess it will be burned off easily in the first week or two back on the road. The aim is to hit the road in the next couple of days and follow the Black Sea coast east towards Iran but first i need to give the bike a quick service and fit my new Marathon XR’s which i’ve been lugging around with me since the UK. I suppose i better get to it.
I need to say a HUGE thank you to all the guys and girls in Serbia who showed me an enormous amount of kindness and generosity during my time there, both in Sabac and in Belgrade. An even bigger thank you has to go to Jelena and Gile for their phenomenal generosity over the past few weeks. It won’t be forgotten anytime soon i can assure you.