For the next leg, Manuel and I were official scouts to Otelec. We took a byway from the river site that was still muddy, while directing the wiser rest of the group to the paved road. A quick downpour of rain and then sunshine eased us out of Serbia. Friendly border guards, one a young woman, waved us through. I forged on ahead and Manuel caught up at the grocery store with Hungarian/Romanian people following in a car who were arranging our place to stay. It turned out to be an ex-fishing club next to the police station. Very cushy with beds, a full kitchen, and the lure of a washing machine which posed peculiar problems to open. Some of the group were not pleased to be under police surveillance and camped in a field close by next to the bridge.
The next day was a sunny flat path along the river with only a small dogleg over a bridge and into Timisoara and onto city bikepaths. Our accommodations were at Centru Social Ledera (showerless but centrally located) and two apartments that our oh so kind hosts offered. At one point there were thirteen of us strewn about the center when the Spanish crew arrived, slightly sardined at best. There was also a gathering place ,”Kolektiva”, in an industrial building where we cooked and led workshops (Death cafe, Authentic Relating Games, Knopf concert) with super friendly locals. City/rest days were welcomed and Romanian street food sampled. Timisoara is a charming city with many buildings swathed in fabric for renovation. Some of us visited the Museum of Communist Consumerism on Monica’s recommendation – great experience!
Synopsis of the all-encompassing encounters enroute from Beograd to Cluj: mosquitoes, hail, heavy rain, wind, mud, hot sun, dogs ravaging food, bear siting, sheep grazing, quaint elder couple finishing raking hay before we could camp, shallow rivers, heart-warming rural folks, steep climbs & thrilling downhills. Everything a cyclist could wish for and more!