Bosporus Walk - Part 4
Serbia to Romania
We have crossed the Danube and are now in Serbia.
Where the beer brands change yet again!
The Danube ferry at Futog.
And Novi Sad, Serbia's second city.
Where we stay in the high point fortress overlooking the town.
Next day in Stremski Karlovaci, a wine and ecclesiastical town.
Where the wine festival starts tomorrow.
As always, we choose off road options whenever we can.
And today this takes us past Karlovaci Vineyards station, with a maintenance "car" at the platform.
And a railway pub at the end of the day too as we toast our host by Beška station, awaiting a train to Zemun.
Where our accommodation has a certain style!
"It's a boy!" Always nice to see these decorations as we pass a typical pavement businesses in Batajnica.
This dramatic soldier statue is also in Batajnica.
Appropriate maybe, as there is a large airbase nearby. This is a MiG fighter, one of 10,000 built.
We reach Belgrade, stategically located at the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers.
In Belgrade we find Prince Mihailo (Michael) on his horse.
Plus a friend from home.
A Belgrade building in top condition.
And a Belgrade building destroyed by NATO bombing in 1999.
Departure from Belgrade was in the rain.
And this made onward off road options tricky.
Attractive Grocka was our target this trip and it was great to arrive.
Which leaves us, after our 2014 walking, with a wall map that looks like this.
2015's walking began wet.
But steadily brightened. This is Oresac.
And this is the approach to Smederevo, a Danube river port.
We liked following the floodbanks here as, near Kovin, horse traffic passes by.
Followed, slightly further on, by a car on a fishing trip.
But best of all on this trip is having cycling friends Mike and Hilary with us and they turn up everywhere!
As we follow the Danube-Tisa-Danube canal for a while.
Our last Serbian mile is along the Danube shore.
As we arrive at the Romanian border, another landmark moment.
The first buildings the Romanian side are amazing.
This is the entrance gate.
There is even a traditional well. The structure behind belonged to Romania's first railway, opened in 1854 to Bazias quay.
But no sign of a railway in Bazias today, just a basic bar with open air seating.
It is a long way between villages in this part of the world. This is Divici.
Horse traffic is increasing too. How about this for style?
And near Pojajena, traditionally strip farming.
Next comes Moldova Veche, a redeveloped river port that, until recently, had a large copper mine nearby.
Copper mining generally leaves scars and this is certainly the case here.
We stay in nearby Coronini where an early start helps beat another hot day.
By Golubec Castle the Danube narrows for its first gorge section.
As we walk a tree covered Danube valley.
On which illegal logging is discouraged!
And great to find Bee Eaters around here.
This, near Liubcova, is a quality moment as Phil is offered a lift,
which, of course, she politely declines!
Berzasca now, a long established village with newer housing on its outskirts.
And a surprise ahead, the Pensiune Ecaterina, a small hotel in a perfect location. Especially for us!
The view to Serbia next next morning from above an old wharf.
Lake levels here are currently low and are controlled by Iron Gate Dam, still many miles away.
In the distance now are the housing blocks of Cozla.
Cozla once had a railway bringing mining products from the hills but railway, processing plant and port are now all closed,
leaving Cozla all but dead.
But one person at least still lives on in the tower blocks.
Another gorge section is nearby and here the Serbian side road is mostly in tunnel.
But the Romaninan side is exposed and subject to rockfall.
In fact the Romaninan road is officially closed but intrepid motorists do still squeeze by!
And this all makes the Romanian side very quiet indeed.
Flooded Tricule Castle is a Danube landmark.
King Decebal is another. He is surprisingly recent, only being completed in 2004.
We have now reached the most spectacular gorge of all, the Great Kazan.
And this is followed by Orsova, rebuilt above the rising water level of the Danube dam.
And on the next headland, above what was once a hazardous gorge, is this striking sculpture entitled
"The Triumph of the Conquering of the Iron Gate Gorge".
But much was also lost beneath these waters including, right here, the Turkish island town of Ada Kaleh.
And this is the dam, Iron Gate 1, commissioned 1972 and much bigger than this photo suggests.
Downstream is Drobeta-Turnu Severin, viewed here from the top of the water tower.
The river turns south here but we carry straight on.
As we follow a rural route to Craiova. This is Bistriţa.
And this is Izvoralu Aneştilor where we are watched pass in amazement by a villager off to fetch water.
Izvoralu Aneştilor village is to the right now as we climb to a ridge.
To join a perfect ridge top road.
This is Plopi, where tarmac returns for a while.
We find some industrial farming but this is by no means everywhere. Near villages there are often people tending their land and the countryside around here feels alive.
Chris is providing supporting us this trip and he does so today by collecting us from Dumbrava de Jos.
Action next morning in Albuleşti as a foal learns the ropes.
Memorial crosses line the wells in Albuleşti village.
This was interesting too, the derelict shell of an old wooden church.
We lose height after Albuleşti as we see a disadvantage of dirt roads, they become impassable in bad weather.
We then change Comune, leaving Dumbrava and entering Argetoaia.
This lady is carrying water. Note the street light on the leaning pole. Nearly everybody has electricity.
This was her spring.
We are now in Piria, which has a bar.
And an impressive church.
Memorial crosses in Salacia.
And a busy moment outside the village shop in Valea lui Pătru.
A village football ground, also in Valea lui Pătru.
And everywhere in this area, interesting rural homes.
This is a countryside that impresses!
Departure next morning from the administrative buildings of Coțofenii din Dos, one of 2,686 comunes in Romania.
The city of Craiova now nears and this is maybe a transition photo.
And this is maybe another.
Given what we have seen in recent miles the rules that ban horse traffic from town centres are maybe harsh.
But the urban areas are a different world.
As we arrive at the shady oasis of our Craiova hotel.
End of Part 4
Bosporus Walk Part 5, Romania to Istanbul
Bosporus Walk Part 1, Malvern Hills to Switzerland
Bosporus Walk Part 2, Switzerland to Slovenia
Bosporus Walk Part 3, Slovenia to Serbia
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