Both post-communist countries, Serbia and Romania.
One in European Union, one is not.
One was bombed in 1999 by NATO, one is struggling with its gypsy population.
This leg I passed several Serbian cities: Subotica, Novi Sad, Belgrade and Vrsac. Then crossing to Romania: Timisoara, Deva, Sebes, Sibiu, Brasov and Barlad. The countryside of both countries caught my attentions, I felt like going back to the past when I saw horse or donkey carts, simple country houses with wells to get underground water.
Learning the history of a country is always intriguing. I remember when I was young, the news announced Kosovo was at war, it still resonated in my mind that these areas are dangerous. Indeed, the NATO bombed several Serbian cities like Belgrade, Novi Sad and Nis in 1999; in revenge the Serbs bombed a few Mcdonald’s. The Serbs also burned mosques in Serbia when Kosovo people burned cathedrals in their territories. After almost a century of continuous wars, finally the Kosovo independence is settled. We hope there will be no more nonsense killings between the 2 nations.
Nice to walk around Belgrade near the Saint Sava Temple, and along Danube River! Don’t miss the NATO bombing ruins.
In Romania from west to east, I can tell you this country is more advanced than I expected. Things are not that cheap anymore, comparing to its neighboring countries, especially train tickets and food.
Timisoara transforms into a green and bike friendly city in the last 2 years, I had wonderful dinner gathering with my hosts and their friends!
In Brasov, my host invited me for mushroom hunting, hiking and downhill cycling. The mountainous area is full of natural resources, that one always takes it for granted. We hope human beings can make conscious decision to conserve our environment.
One thing we have to be careful while cycling in Romania is the DOGS. People usually don’t lock their gates while their dogs (or street dogs) would chase after your bike for a few miles. Everytime I came across those situations, my “fight and flight”response is stimulated to pedal as fast as I could to avoid those dogs biting my legs.
On the way to Moldova crossing all those little hills, stay tuned for the next part of my journey!