The sun is waking us up on the riverside of the Danube, between Croatia and Serbia, and the way goes on in Kopacki rit parc. The weather is hot but the scenery is really nice.
While we were crossing the old town of Osijek, our Couchsurfing host for the night sends us a positive answer. So we drive towards north west to meet Eva, her boyfriend Marko and her mother Mirela. They welcome us warmly on their terrasse for dinner and we talked about the world. Eva left her job few years ago to go travelling in Asia and in Australia. Since she came back, she started her own company of languages online courses and helps the local community. One of the biggest problem of the north of Croatia since the end of the war is that young people are leaving. Few jobs and no tourism are leading those young people towards Zagreb (a quarter of the Croatian population), the coast or abroad. We passed by lots of villages where houses have been recently built but never finished or it seems no-one lives there. There is no solution for that but at least Eva and her boyfriend Marko are doing their best to keep the city of Belišće active. On the next day, they will open the defence tower and the museum of the castle especially for us. And after a walk in Eva’s mum’s garden, we go back on our way.
Far away we can already see our goal: the mountains of Papuk national park. We bike 50km on a flat road and then start the serious things. Then we start the last 5 kilometres of unpaved road going up though the forest. Lucky us, we’re allowed to stay for two nights nearby a restaurant in the heart of the national park. Our rest day has been deserved after 6 days of hard biking.
To leave Jankovac, we have a climb again but we’ll be happy and proud of our first biking days in the mountains. The Himalayas had better watch out! However the days only starts and we have to reach Bosnia, where Nemanja is waiting for us (thanks Warmshowers).