Km 642 to km 823, Rakita (Serbia) to Dumanovce (N Macedonia)
17/05/2022 – 47km
An uneventful day. The terrain was gentle and as you can see I made some good headway. 47km is my biggest day so far, but it was fairly relaxed with frequent breaks.
There was less road walking today thankfully, and many gardens I passed were in the bloom of late spring. I was often accompanied by the smell of flowers and the sounds of busy insects.
Now as I get ready to go to bed, I can see the horizon darkening and lightning tearing across the evening sky. Rain is forecast for tomorrow as well. Hopefully I’ll get some opportunity to dry out.
18/05/2022 – 47km
The day began inauspiciously. As expected there was a storm in the night. And with my tent flapping around in the high winds things inside were damp at best.
When I awoke it was still raining lightly, and since it showed no sign of abating, I packed up my damp belongs, topped off with a soaking wet tent.
The world I emerged into was a very cloudy one, and visibility was poor. I was in this cloud, with it raining on and off for over 9 hours.
I’d begun to resign myself to have to crawl into a wet tent tonight when the clouds parted and I was showered with warm sunlight.
Now that I’m dry the suffering of the morning seems to have faded from my memory.
19/05/2022 – 45km
Goodbye Serbia, hello North Macedonia. It’s interesting how different borders can be. The one I crossed coming into Serbia was a multi-lane affair, with queues of cars and lorries. The road I took in Macedonia on the other hand… I didn’t see a single car for kilometres in the road either side. When I got to the border post, there were two soldiers cleaning their AK47’s looking as if they’d seen no one all day.
The terrain today has been noticeably dryer, and I saw seven tortoises.
I can see some snowy mountains in the distance. Possibly the ones I’m heading to in a few days.
20/05/2022 – 45km
Despite being a hot day with lots of road walking, for the most part it was surprisingly pleasant. Everywhere there are poppies adding a delightful scarlet to every view. I passed through a few villages, watching rural Macedonian life tick along, with villagers scything and hoeing. I had fun trying to talk with some of them, smiles going a long way on each side.
It’s too bad I’m not able to photograph people. It just feels in poor taste to point my phone at them. I’m sure travel photographers must have a certain manner or method that makes it less awkward, but their secrets are a mystery to me.