Ah the first border control. In the previous countries I could just walk over the border. The border control looked confused, I smiled and said hello. The expression of their faces also changed and had a friendly short conversation.
5 minutes after crossing the border, I came across the first town. I felt already in a new country because of the people, buildings that looked different and the vibe felt good. After a few minutes entering the first village a man came outside and approached me. He invited me in for some coffee and lunch. Happily I accepted the offer. After the coffee I got a tour of the house and surroundings. With proud he showed me his garden where he grows vegetables and have some animals. I also got a shower, that was at least a week ago.
Saying my goodbyes with a big smile. I got so much energy from this experience. The next village was 5 kilometers away and I was there quite quick. Then something happened that I didn’t expected. The next person approached me and wanted to drink a beer with me. After a long time not having this I felt a little bit uncomfortable, but that faded away quickly. We sat down at a local bar and sat outside. Quickly we’re talking with a lot of people that also were sitting there. It was time to find a tent spot, It was already getting dark. I saw on a map that there was a forest in about 5 kilometers.
Finally arrived at the forest I see that they put a fence all around the forest. I walked a little further and I saw a couple of trees and some bushes that could hide me from people, only thing was that it was next to the road, like 2 meters away, haha, but I didn’t want to go further. In the morning I woke up with a lot of rain and decided to stay in the tent a little longer. A little longer became till noon and then I just decided to go walk in the rain.
Almost in Sombor, I decided to take a lunch break before I enter the city. I sat down near a cross and started eating. Then about 100 meters further someone waved at me and made the gesture that I had to come. They were selling strawberries and dragged me inside. I got coffee and a lot, really a lot of strawberries. My energy got a big booster again and started walking again to Sombor. When I arrived I sat down at the square and watched the stray dogs running in a group and terrorizing people, haha. Then a woman came to me and offered me to get me some traditional Serbian food. I went with her to the bakery and she didn’t had time to sit down with me, but bought me food and yoghurt put it at the table in the bakery said goodbye and I had a table full of food :-).
The whole road to Novi Sad was the same thing. Every day at least 4 times people invited me for drinks or some food. These things give so much energy. At one point I was walking through some farmers land and thinking about the hospitality here and back in Holland. We in the west can learn so much from these people. The thing is what I see is here people see each other still as people. In Holland you are quickly just a number or want something for your actions in return. At that moment I knew that I will end up in a country where the people are like here.
In Novi Sad, I was invited by an hostel to stay at them. I was happy to be able having a bed again and a good shower. My way towards the center was really nice. A walk al along the river which they renovated completely. With a running track, a lot of bars and a lot of happy people. In the hostel I met a guy from Singapore and hang out with him the next days. He travels, buy things and sell it again in Singapore. We had a lot of interesting conversations.
Belgrade was only 80 kilometers away, so a 2 day walk. All the way was next to the road, but it was the quickest way, so I kept on walking next to the road. The whole day I saw a lot of places to pitch up the tent, but when I started to look for one, I couldn’t find any. Eventually I found a place that was a little bit hidden with trees and bushes, it was good enough that even nobody could see me entering this part. I pitched up my tent and was reading a book till it got completely dark. When it was dark I saw a car coming my direction and the only place they could go was where I was. The car stopped close by and turned of the lights and then I saw… a police car. My heart started to beat a little faster, but kept in mind, just smile and tell about my journey and so I did. It wasn’t easy because his english wasn’t that good, but with a translator on the phone the story got clear. Then he said only ‘be right back’ and left. I was thinking about packing up and go, but he will find me either way, so I stayed and waited for half an hour. He came back, but not how I could ever expected. He carried to plastic bags full with food and beer. He sat down and we drank a couple of beers together and ate what he brought. We laughed a lot just because our facial expressions. Then he left and a little bit tipsy I fell a sleep and had a great sleep.
In Belgrade, I also was invited by the Chillton hostel and stayed a couple days there. Then I had contact with an woman from the US, but living in Amsterdam now. Her son wish was granted by Make-A-Wish and I decided to meet up with her in a different hostel. She invited me to come over to that hostel to stay a little there, but eventually the people in the hostel offered me to stay. Hostel Friends was a really great hostel and relaxed.
I was waiting for Karlis, a guy from Latvia that send me a message to ask if he could join me for a while. We met each other in the hostel and the next day started walking together. It was raining the whole day and my shoes were soaked, so I decided to wear my other pair of shoes, but these got soaked as well of course. This caused my feet to blister a little bit, but that didn’t matter. What hurted was my whole foot.
I really needed to put off my shoes and let them get back to normal again. I felt that the skin got wrinkly. We started to find a place to pitch the tent or stay the night. We saw an abandoned building and thought that would be a good place. When we entered we saw a lot of stuff that looked like people still living there, so we left again. Then we saw a orthodox church and decided to ask if we could stay there or pitch our tent there. The priest offered us something better, we walked behind the church and there was a caravan with 2 beds inside. We were so thrilled, we could use a good night sleep. When we were settled he and his wife came and us food. The next morning we were fully energized and went on.
Walking through the small villages in the mountains in Serbia was wonderful, but I not so many people invited us in for something, before it happened a lot and I was hoping that Karlis would experience this too. When we started to talk about it we got invited right after that. A man waved at us and we went. He gave us some beer and Rakia, also we got the opportunity to finally take a shower. He gave us a bottle of Rakia and we were already a little tipsy. We walked a few kilometers more to set up the tent for the night. The next morning we were going our own ways again.
Ah, I was alone again. While walking the temperature was getting higher and higher, there were also a lot of thoughts in my head. I looked down to my shadow that disappears in the shade of the beautiful mountain. I felt my body cooling down a little and decided to lay down in the grass. My thoughts were still in my head. It felt strange to walk with someone else. It felt good to have some conversations and company while having a break, but it is definitely not necessary. On my whole journey I was never really lonely and I see now that loneliness is inside you. I thought back of situations that people were in a group and I saw that there lonely. The key thing, what I believe is, that you have to become closer to yourself and accept yourself, then loneliness cease to exist.
The border was close and the last few kilometers I thought of the journey through Serbia and I was really happy and thankful. Serbia is a magnificent country with lovely people.
More pictures of Serbia