Nice breakfast at the fancy hotel, omelets, yogurt, watermelon and bread.
According to our driver, Zoran, everyone here has to work more than one job. His second job is selling Italian motorscooters. The Chinese scooters are cheaper, which makes his job hard.
Today we had a nice ride stopping at an archeological reconstruction of a prehistoric dig that is now underwater (due to a dam). The village is from 8000 BC, the first settlement in Europe beyond hunter-gatherers, and they worshiped fish gods. Before visiting the museum, though, we had a picnic lunch of cold cuts, good bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, baby corn, pickles, fig newtons and very popular peach juice. At an adjacent picnic site, a group of young Serbs were cooking a mysterious whole animal on a spit over an open fire. It looked an awful lot like a dog! But that is doubtful; Serbians seem to like dogs a lot. In fact, Danjela said it was probably a boar, which the locals hunt. The dog-barbecue master showed us way more of his butt crack than we needed to see.
Rob is concerned that the museum will be a flop. Although it’s a gorgeous facility, it isn’t very accessible. There is a semi-long walk along a gravel path, and a lot of what you see at the museum are copies rather than originals, the originals being in Belgrade. The museum just opened a few weeks ago. Only a trickle of attendees were there. (I have to say, though, they had the nicest bathroom in all of Serbia. I have now seen the full array of bathrooms the country has to offer.)
After the museum, we hit the hills, starting with a very steep ascent out of the museum parking lot. Then the road went up for what seemed like forever. Every time we turned,we hoped THIS would finally be the end of the climb. We were often disappointed. I had to walk a couple of times, catch my breath, then get on the bike and ride some more. I was very proud of myself for not giving up. The van was right there, and I could have. After the crest of the hill we had a very long and fun descent.
We had a bit of a tragedy today. Annie hit a rock and fell, then hit another rock with her knee. It was a very deep cut and she scared everybody, but Danjela and Zoran handled the emergency quite well. They cleaned and bandaged the cut, and Annie wasn’t allowed to ride the rest of the day. Once we got to our destination village, they found a doctor who stitched up the cut. Eight stitches! Annie insisted she wanted to ride the next day so the doctor accommodated her with a flexible bandage. She is looking forward to getting on the bike again–good for her.
We stayed in a house just outside the village of Veliko Gradiste. I was really a mess after those hills (mountains) today. I passed out and almost couldn’t be convinced to come to dinner. You know I’m tired when food doesn’t excite me. But Marion cooked some nice pasta (we had a kitchenette).