Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia & Serbia 

Days 63 & 64 Olimpija Guesthouse, Dolga Vas (Slovenia) to Berzence (Hungary)

Day 63It was raining heavily when we woke up, so we waited in our guesthouse for it to stop. By midday, with it still pouring and forecast to continue all day, we decided to call it a rest day. We booked in another night in the guesthouse, had lunch in the restaurant/bar downstairs. Updated blogs and vegged out watching TV in our room (luxury).

Day 64: The forecast for today was a little better. We got up early, hoping to beat the rain at 8am, just as we were ready to head off, it started raining heavily. So we sat and waited.

By 9.15am it had slowed to just drizzle and, resigned to getting a little wet at some point in the day, we set off.

First step, was 2km later in Lendowa, where we grabbed food for lunch and sought out a gas canister (without success). Then off again. 

Our route today went first South East for 40km, then 15km North East, then 20km South and finally South East again. With the wind mainly blowing from the North West it was helping us most of the way…yippee!

As the roads were mainly flat we shot along past overflowing rivers and within an hour we left Slovenia and passed into Hungary. 

Hungarian border crossing

At this point Slovenia, Hungary and Croatia all meet. The next couple of days we would be cycling in Hungary near the Croatian border but would not go into Croatia just yet.

The sky was overcast and rain threatened all day but we stayed mostly dry (bar the wet feet from the water on the roads). It was never warm enough to take the jackets off with a top temp of 13C.

By 2pm, it started to rain a little harder just as we reached the town of Nagykanizsa. We found a small cafe/bar to shelter, ordered 2 cups of fruit tea and sat drying off a little and waiting for the rain to ease. Luckily the manager of the cafe spoke English and was happy for us to eat our own food. 

After an hour, whilst Vanessa continued to warm her toes, Jon set off in search of a gas canister at one of the town’s hardware stores and returned 45 minutes (and 5km) later with mission accomplished…yeah!

At 3.30pm we set off again. This time due South, with a stiff breeze behind us on mainly flat roads. An hour later we turned South West and had to climb one or two serious hills which serpentined up through some pretty valleys. We passed fields of Christmas trees awaiting sale and several impressive Church buildings (but there’s only so many churches you can take photos of!). 

Another church
Ooohh Christmas tree! Ooohhh Christmas tree ?

We stopped very briefly at a bus shelter due to a passing shower, during which we found lots of mushrooms which looked good enough to eat but, as we don’t have a clue about mushroom picking, we left them alone.

By 6.30pm we had covered over 100km for the day, despite the rain delays. We arrived in the village of Berzence hoping to find a room as it was a little cold and wet to be camping. Mapsme showed that there were 3 guesthouse in the village. The first 2 were full and the third didn’t exist…not good! It was starting to get dark so we asked at the 2nd guestbook if they knew of anyone who had a room nearby? They directed us to a restaurant 1km further up the road, which might have a spare room-

We cycled the 1km, found the restaurant and walked in. There were only 3 people (all staff) there. Fortunately for us, one of them ‘Alberto’ spoke English. He explained that they were also full (it seems the poor weather over the last few days had driven everyone indoors) but he made some calls for us.

Five minutes later he had found a guesthouse with a room…8km away, in Csurgo (a town we had passed through an hour before). He advised against cycling there in the dark, as there were no street lights and the cars travelled fast. 

We were wondering how we would get there, when Alberto became our knight in shining armour and offered to drive us there and explained that we could leave our bikes at the restaurant overnight. Even better, he was happy to come and collect us in the morning (provided we didn’t want to leave too early), which we were more than happy with.

So, we locked our bikes in a storeroom behind the restaurant and hitched a ride (with our gear) back to Csurgo, with Alberto, who explained that he was Italian and had lived in Hungary for 8 years and was just happy to help foreigners as he knew how difficult it was not knowing the language. He also warned us against eating Hungarian pizza, which apparently is ‘shit’ and demonstrated to us the type of driving we should be looking to avoid whilst cycling :-).

Sure enough there was a room at the Panzio Balogh KFT…Who cares that the hot water wasn’t working?! We thanked Alberto again before he left, as we were very grateful to him for helping us out in our hour of need and hoped to see him, and our bikes, again in the morning (fingers crossed).

Day 65 – Csurgo (Guesthouse) Hungary to Hotel Visnjica. Nr Spanat Croatia  

We woke up pretty early, so that we could be ready for our Italian friend Alberto to collect us. We waited outside our guesthouse at exactly 8am and sure enough 15 minutes later Alberto revved round the corner. We were extremely pleased to see him, as our bikes were 10km away in another town called Berzence.

We chatted to our new friend and before we knew it we had arrived at the guesthouse in Berzence where our bikes were stored in the garage at the back. We hoped someone would be around to open up and sure enough the young gentlemen from the night before came out.

With bikes in hand, we were ready to go. We bid our friends farewell and exchanged emails/Facebook addresses. We were so grateful for their help, things could have been very different last night.

Nicest guy ever!!!

We set off just before 9am. The weather prediction was in our favour today with no rain, 16 degrees and a rather strong tail wind (about time too!).

We quickly turned off the main road and cycled along a nice quiet but still paved country road. Passing various farms, fields of goats , interesting churches and beautiful luscious green countryside.

Before we knew it, we had already arrived at the Hungarian border town of Barc.

We still had a large amount of Forint (Hungarian money) and Pensiunea Ambiental to spend/exchange it. We stocked up on food, from three different supermarkets, wishing that we had just gone to Lidl first. Then Vanessa hid round the back of the town church (as the wind had picked up) and cooked the eggs and prepared lunch, whilst Jon hunted for a money exchange and got some other extra things from Lidl.

With money exchanged and heaps of food to last us a few days, we left Hungary (that doesn’t sound right!?!). Anyway, we headed to the Croatian border. This border crossing was a lot more official than any other we had crossed. The officer asked us for our passports, scanned them then let us through.

We snapped a few photos and high fived each other on reaching our 12th European country of our trip.

Croatian border crossing

Cycling through the first few towns, we could already see that the infrastructure on the Croatian side, well maintained and the vehicles were newer than their neighbours in Hungary.

We stopped briefly to check out a map which marked various bikes routes in this province and headed South East with a nice strong following breeze. We even overtook a tractor!

We can take him!

The road unfortunately seemed to get a bit on the busy side with large trucks occasionally passing, which surprised us as our Eurovelo book indicated that this would be a quiet road, especially as there was a more direct main road not too far away…however this was not the case.
We continued cycling in peloton formation, due to the traffic, but on flat sealed roads with no hills to speak of. We stopped briefly to snap a few photos of some reindeers.

We then saw a sign for a hotel that we had pinned and we were very pleased that it at least existed. We headed towards it as it was the only hotel in this area, albeit 4km out of our way. We had a sneaky suspicion that it may be pricey but had to investigate as there was nothing else around and no camping spots, plus it was predicted to rain overnight, so wild camping would be challenging.

We arrived at the grand Hotel Visnjica, with onsite stables, deers, restaurant, we knew this was not good for our pockets but asked anyway. We managed to secure a single room, which was still a little overpriced. Which meant we had a cosy night ahead of us in a single bed.

Day 67 Sentik guesthouse, Valpovo (Croatia) Sombor (Serbia)

After a comfortable nights sleep, we were up, packed and ready to go by 9am. We were keen to get going for two reasons. One, to score our 13th country cycling and two, to get to our warmshower hosts in Serbia .

We were already enjoying the route, as we were cycling next to the Danube river, with its elegant swans, with a smoothish bike path.

We followed the river for the first 10km on bike path, then it ended suddenly at a monument, but unfortunately our lack of Croatian meant we could not read any of the information, so we snapped a photo and headed off. As it was, the minor road was very quiet and smooth, so we didn’t mind too much.

We stopped briefly at a lovely looking bridge, where a few locals were fishing and ate our snacks.

From here on the roads were flat and we had a nice 15/17 kmph tail wind to boost us along. The only ascent was just before the border town.

We had conquered some major hills in the past, so the 70 metre incline didn’t feel too hard and before we knew it, we had reached the top. At the crest Jon spotted a sign to a large monument/lookout point, but Vanessa suggested we cycled down the hill, then go along the riverfront to check it out. The descent should have been fast, but with the cobbled roads, it was slow going. Unfortunately what we didn’t realise was that the Mapsme route took us to the foot of the monument, no views for us, as we weren’t keen on cycling back up.

A few hundred metres later we were saying goodbye to Croatia and hello to Serbia. The border control officer checked our passports, carefully flicking through each page, then finally (to Vanessa’s horror, as she only had one free page left!) stamping our passports ( fingers crossed we don’t have any more stamps to go).

We snapped a few photos and hung around reading the large Eurovelo 6 sign. Our stomachs rumbled, so we cycled to a nearby town and ate our lunch near the river.

Our route then took us along the main road for a short while, then turned down a minor road, which for the 1st kilometre and the last 2 kilometres was paved but unfortunately in-between we had cobbles and dirt to navigate through. This wasn’t easy but luckily it only lasted for a few kilometres. We then stayed on quiet country roads.

What struck us immediately was the friendliness of the locals. Waving to us as we passed and stopping to check if we needed any help. It was really refreshing.

We cycled past various quiet towns but didn’t stop, as we were keen to get to our hosts.

Arriving at our hosts house, after asking a few locals for directions, we were immediately welcomed into their family home. Jasmina insisted that we took the spare room upstairs as it was predicted to rain over night, we were more than happy with this, rather than pitching our tent.

We were offered tea ☕ and grapes and sat chatting for the next few hours. The warmth of the atmosphere and our hosts laid-back manner, as well as interesting conversations, were refreshing. There was a brief moment of awkwardness when they realised we were vegetarians but it was soon resolved when we said that we were happy to eat duck, as they had prepared it, plus it was free range from the back garden.

Dinner was unbelievable, delicious doesn’t even do it justice. Every mouthful was savoured and we couldn’t have enough. Luckily for us there was plenty to go around. We even had homemade chocolate muffins with homemade jam sauce. All the ingredients was harvested from the back yard. We were very impressed and inspired. Conversations flowed and after a few schnapps and beers , Vanessa called it a night and Jon soon followed. We fell asleep feeling grateful for finding such kind hosts, who already felt like old friends.