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Biking Serbia

Exchange rate: Rand 1 (R1) = Serbian Dinar (RSD) 5,8 (5,8 din)

21 August 2023, Horgos, 18.93km
Centar Hostel 3322RSD [R572]

We're in Serbia! Only just. We are spending our first night in a hostel in the town of Horgoš (Хоргош*) just 5km across the border from Hungary, having cycled a grand total of 20km from Szeged.
The Röszke-Horgoš border can be breached 24/7 on the motorway, or between 0700 and 1900 on route 5, no buses or trucks allowed at the latter. From the secondary route, we could see a multi-km row of trucks waiting to cross. Seems the Beit Bridge border post between South Africa and Zimbabwe is not the only crossing at which officials keep citizens waiting for hours.
There were three cars ahead of us in the EU passport lane, and no-one at all at the "all passports" window. We handed in our passports and were directed to the front of the EU queue and quickly stamped out of Hungary. 20 metres on, the Serbian official made us a little nervous. He paged endlessly through our passports (filled with African visas and stamps), then made a phone call - never a good sign. He asked where we were headed; we were a little reluctant to mention Kosovo, given that Serbia does not recognise it as independent. Then he dialed another number. When he got no answer, he directed us to wait by the fence while he processed some of the cars now stacked behind us. There we stood figuratively chewing our nails until he suddenly stamped our passports and brought them out to us, leaving his booth to do so. Whew!
Horgoš does not have an ATM, so we are cashless. Though we had to forego ice-cream (cash only), thankfully our card worked fine for accommodation, supplies and dinner.
Given the weekend delays and problems, we do not now have enough days on our Schengen visa to cycle to Kosovo. We will cycle, therefore, to Novy Sad, two days away, and take a bus (we hope) to north of the Kosovo border...
*Cyrillic or Slavonic script is a writing system used for various languages across Eurasia. In Serbia, town names and road signs are written in both Roman and Cyrillic.
It turned out yesterday was a special holiday in Hungary, which perhaps explains the closed supermarkets (our "cheap viennas" tasted much better than they looked, by the way). In the evening, Szeged put on a wonderful fireworks display, reflected in the Tisza and visible from our campsite.
We enjoyed our long stay there despite the only loos being a longish walk. We had use of an undercover outdoor kitchen, and solar showers constructed with a view of the forest of trees.
We met some interesting campers including two Austrian cyclists, music therapy students, who were surprised to find that not all Hayek / Austrian economics fans are "evil"! And an award-winning Turkish animator, who in partnership with her Czech husband creates human rights documentaries.
Before departing town this morning, we found an open bike shop where we bought a new tube (he only had one size 26), and replaced five spokes, one of which was undoubtedly repeatedly puncturing my back tube. Also bought solution and patching…
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