Dan and Claire on Sabbatical!!

Welcome to our blog, we hope you enjoy following our adventures!
We split our sabbatical in 2 parts:
Part 1 was from March to June 2010 touring around in our campervan in France and Spain.
Part 2 started on the 7th of July when we left Scotland to cycle through Europe and the Middle East to Africa in the remaining 6 months (back for Xmas).
Have a look at the route below and we'll try to post pics as much as we can!


Cycle Route to Africa

4 Sep 2010

Hospitality, Hills and Headwind

From Belgrade to Bulgaria it has been a series of random adventures! On the first day we left Belgrade we were looking for a place to camp on the river when 2 guys in a car said "follow us". Alexander and Zoran were going fishing and offered us a beer and we could stay in the garden of Alexander's weekend hut. A great wooden cabin on the Danube. We enjoyed cooking in the kitchen, getting water from the pump next door sitting on the porch with our spaghetti meal. They went out until midnight (we were in bed by then) and caught the biggest catfish ever. The morning started with a shot of rakija (kills the bacteria according to Alexander!), so we knew it wasn't going to be a big cycling day. They were going fishing again and made us promise to wait for the family to have fish soup for lunch together. So we enjoyed laying in the sun and reading for the morning and by noon Zoran's wife, her parents and Alexander's son arrived. We chatted, drank beer, chatted some more, the fishermen came back with more fish and they started preparing the food. By 5 pm we were starving and finally this huge pan of fantastic paprika spicy fish soup came on the table. Afterwards big chunks of catfish fried in cornflower and tomato salad. It was definitely worth the waiting and such hospitality! We were waved goodbye at 7 pm for a short cycle to the next ferry port where we stayed in a small hostel.
Almost forgot, before we met the fihing guys we had lunch in a park and noticed the tiniest little kitten, sitting under a tree not moving. Dan went over to it and it moved a litttle, he gave the kitten a can of tuna and some water. We were going to leave, but the little thing dragged itself over to sit under Cliare. Its back legs would hardly work...Dan picked her up and put her in his panier bag. After a lot of talking we finally conviced some locals to take her in and hopefully look after her. We felt really aweful for the little one, guess we saved her from the dogs in the park that the locals said usually kill the cats :o(
The next day we cycled on the southern side of the Danube again and after lunch we met 3 other cyclists: Josh from the UK and Sybille and Michael from Germany with their 2 dogs!  A massive Rhodesian ridgeback in a trailer! We cycled together for a bit and camped in a sailing club. The next morning it was so windy that the sailing regatta couldn't start. We stayed for a bit and left around lunch time, they others were staying for another day because the camping place was nice.
The views got more beautiful by the minute as we were approaching the narrowest part of the Danube: the Iron Gate. A beautiful gorge with high cliffs on both sides and fast flowing water, the border between Serbia and Rumania for quite some kilometers. During Ceaucescu's regime many people tried to cross it to get into Serbia and died.
At the end of the day we entered into Rumania (looking a bit grim with lots of concrete) and cycled into the first town. At the fountain we met Ion and he said "follow me" again... He and his wife Fani invited us into their house for the night! It was so incredible how they helped 2 complete strangers and gave us food, a shower and a bed, very very friendly. We should do that more often at home we thought.
After another day of hard cycling on hills with mental headwinds in Romania we had a rest day in Calafat. A very uncosy border town with not much to do, not much food but at least a communist-era hotel with showers and internet :-)
We took a ferry to Bulgaria and have been cycling there for the last 3 days. We're enjoying the food (yoghurt, salads and grilled meat yummie), the countryside (lots of hills :-() and the people are very friendly. Not as mad hospitable as in Serbia where everyone wanted you to stay with them, but they mind theur own business and are friendly when you talk to them. Or try to talk to them because the language is cyrillic based again (they invented it!) and in the rural areas not many people speak german or english.
We said goodbye to the Danube after about a month and are finding our way through the mountains straight towards Turkey.
The weather has been quite cold for here, 21 degrees, so we're happy with that!
All for now, next big stop will be Turkey in hopefully a week.
bye xx


  1. Just found the blog - cool stuff!! Although I might not be back if you continue to complain about it being cold at 21C :o)

  2. Wasn't really a moan...its just thats its been 40 degrees! Dan