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An early start appears to be a good solution for battling the heat. I start walking at 0530 AM and before it gets really hot I have already covered 20 kilometres. This is a region with small scale farming; haylands, maize, sunflowers and wheat on small areas. A lot of small farms with ditto tractors. A lot of farming equipment that was already becoming obsolete when I was young. In the socialist era this was a prospering country. Now it lies in shambles. The end of the Soviet Union, the segregation of Yugoslavia with its accompanying wars and the sanctions on Serbia have left the country looking backward. Busses drive at will, trains often don’t run. Someone said to me that the average speed of trains now is lower than 100 years ago. And a young man said: do you know what you need to make good money as a Serbian? A passport. You would think it has left the people bitter, but I see smiles and hospitality, mostly. When I enter somewhere people are happy to speak to a stranger. The younger ones in English, the older ones in German, labour migrants who are now retired. They are proud of Germany, of the work they did and of the money they earned. They go out of their way to help me. (Apart from offering beer ALL the time). When it gets really hot I am hapoy with their help. Or with the occasional bus that takes me to a really friendly and hospitable pension where I have to leave the next morning at 5 AM with a little pain in my heart.  

Nicola sent me an email this morning: everything is fine. A little white inside in the end. No sorries, which would have been in place. Black outside, still. Bit of an anticlimax? What did you expect?

The weather forecast says it will stay kike this, even get a bit hotter over the weekend. We shall see. I believe a lot of things here don’t go as expected.


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