I am getting up early today. If anything, yesterday made it pretty clear to me that it becomes very unpleasant after 12, with sun and heat. So I am walking at 6.30 AM. It is already warming up and I think maybe I should have started earlier still. I leave my empty waterbottles on a dump near where I had my camp. Immediately I feel guilty.
The path goes down to the Danube River than ascends into the hills again, through fruitorchards with peaches, nectarines and some late plums. At times I pick some. Huge blackberries grow along the path; so big and juicy that you could just drop them in a jampot. The path is an agricultural road, hard to walk because of the deep potholes that tractors have made in wetter days. The orchards look well tended but the roads leading up and around sometimes look like garbage dumps. It does not make for nice walking. I think back to my water bottles.
And in the meantime the hour of 12 has come and gone and I am still ‘somewhere’. The Serbian couple that called me in and offered water (and bread and meat and beer, the latter I refused) are to blame a bit, but mostly it’s the path, the heat that make for slow going. Finally I get to my destination at 4 PM. Totally dehydrated and exhausted and with a huge blister on my heel. I need 3 litres of water to become my normal self again. This is not going to work tomorrow. I decide on a days rest in Smederevo and review my planning and get my body back in walking shape.
Immanuel Kant walked alongside me for a bit today. My thought this morning was: there’s already so much garbage there, my two bottles won’t make any difference. It also reminded me of the taxi driver that took me to the outskirts of Belgrade yesterday. We had agreed on a price but he saw a way to up the price. His thought probably was: I will never see that man again, so why not? In that case it is every man for himself and god for the rest. It is well tended orchards and roads full of garbage. And maybe I shouldn’t pinch any peaches. The Serbian couple that I met this morning would have brought a smile to Kants’ stern face.