Friday morning. I packed the stuff, went to the garage and packed a recently fixed Kawasaki KLR 650. I started riding and thinking in the back of my mind if everything would work fine with my motorbike, but in my stomach it was a different feeling – it was just pure adrenaline and enjoyment. Riding to Šabac and Loznica from Novi Sad is a dull and boring road but just after Loznica I arrived to the river Drina and started riding along the side of it. The scenery got more and more beautiful by every new kilometer.
I had a pause by Zvornik lake for some rest and a bit of photographing. I ran into a man who was also resting there and he told me that it was going to rain. I told him I had checked the weather and there was just a possibility of light rain… I continued riding, the landscape was getting better and the light rain started getting stronger.
Just in front of Bajina Bašta I arrived to a small house on river Drina that was in most of the papers, TV shows and even in National Geographic. It was built by swimmers and used as a place for resting after long swims. First they built a platform and as the time passed they made something more serious. Sometimes it could withstand the river Drina and sometimes it needed rebuilding… And it went on like that for 40 years.
I arrived at a gas station in Bajina Bašta and waited for a few minutes to see if the rain would stop… Murphy’s law set the stage and it was showering like crazy. When I saw it will not stop, I asked the worker at the gas station if he knew a good place to sleep at and he gave me the directions to a place called “Kod Kurte“ (“At Kurta’s”). By the way, there were twins working at the gas station, so it was hard to talk about something with one of them that I already talked about with the other… The rain got weaker and I was back on the road again… I failed to follow the instructions from one of the twins and ended up on a forest road reaching a monastery.
A Monk gave me the directions through the forest and the dirt road was amazing… It started showering but I did not mind, the trail was awesome, going up the mountain Tara, ears cracking because of the pressure change, passing small villages, seeing beautiful landscapes…. After a 20min ride I saw an asphalt road, turned right and hoped it was the right way. A 10 minute ride and I arrived at “Kod Kurte”, soaked. The interior of the place was all wooden, with photos from rallies and motocross competitions. I settled in my room, had a shower, changed clothes and put plastic bags on my feet before I put my wet shoes on. I went to eat and by recommendation I ate “Bun set” (literal translation from “komplet lepinja”) with some kind of butter milk. It was so good I ate it for breakfast also.
I spent my night drying my shoes for the next day. In the morning I packed the stuff and went to Zaovine Lake. Normal asphalt road… When I reached Zaovine Lake I started riding on dirt roads hoping to go all around the lake but with no luck. At the end of the road I reached somebody’s yard.
An old man whose house it was, looked at me strangely and I asked him “Any more road?” and he said “No more road my child. Where would you like to go”? At that moment a lady came out of the house telling me, by the sound of my motorbike, that she thought a helicopter landed. I laughed and answered that I would like to go to Zaovine Lake and the old man told me to go to the asphalt road. I found a few more dirt roads around the lake and after some time I decided to go to Wooden City. I checked the map and saw that there was a dirt road to that place and I did not know how exciting the road was going to be!
A few wrong turns and I passed one left turn asking myself “Is that road that I have seen on the map?” and thinking that I cannot even drive up that road. After a few kilometers I figured that was the road… Checking out the steep road adrenalin helped me hit the throttle and with no problem the main obstacle was beaten. KLR 650 ate everything under it.
Mud and rocks were on the track all the time while going up, until I reached the road peak. Made some photos and was happy that my KLR made it up and it was probably the hardest one by far. After that easy forest trail I reached the clearance and I saw 3-4 quad bikers and asked them the way to Wooden City. I said goodbye and continued my ride reaching the city.
The Wooden City is a beautiful place, not a man made marble but a place very worth seeing. Names of the streets are “Bruce Lee’s Street”, “Novak Đoković’s Street”, “Diego Maradona Square” and so on… The city has its own tennis courts, sports center with its funny name “The Damned Yard” (named after a book by a Serbian Nobel prize winner Ivo Andrić), a church, a restaurant and a few cafés.
I bought some souvenirs from an old lady and got some rakija made from walnut. I got out of the Wooden City and saw a girl on the bicycle, with the saddle bags totally full, going up the steep hill, I smiled and said “Hi” and she nodded back. In the Back of my mind I was feeling a bit sad since I couldn’t ride my bicycle that much since I did not have much time on my hands. I decided not to sleep on Tara since locals told me there would be rain and this time I believed them. Going the same road back I stopped at the Drina house from the beginning of the story and at gas station where the twins worked.. I had few words with one of them, thanked him and went on my way.
The ride back was cold and I got caught by the dark and rain. Slowly but surely familiar places started showing up… Ruma, Irig, Novi Sad… I arrived home, wet, frozen, hands cramping but happy since my Kawasaki KLR 650 after many repairs finished the ride without a problem.