Before I go on, apart from the fish and the lack of a sign (I am not one to bear grudges), this hotel must have one of the best scenic locations of any hotel that I have experienced. Staggering out onto my balcony between stomach cramps I could see a good five miles upstream and three downstream.
I pedal gingerly down the road which is relatively flat and winds along the Gorge and I pass the narrowest point where the river is a mere 60m across and God knows how deep. As you can see from the photo it is a bit special even if stomach cramps leave you staring at the tarmac most of the time. There is a killer hill before the town of Orsova which leaves me on my knees but as ever a glorious freewheel into a pretty town with a riverside walk.
After Orsova the Danube Path joins a brand new (EU funded I am guessing) main road which runs along the gorge and for the first time I am dealing with really fast moving traffic and it is hateful. Because of the nature of the terrain there are many bridges between cliff outcrops and at every bridge the road narrows and fast moving cars (thankfully it is a Sunday and there aren't too many trucks) howl past inches from my left elbow. Worse, there are tunnels. One of the reasons I chose to ride the Roumanian side, which is longer, is that there are many tunnels on the Serbian side. There are only a few on my side and eventually I devise the strategy of waiting for the biggest gap in the traffic coming up behind me and then pedal like fury into the tunnel (having donned my Hi-Viz etc) hoping that I can get out the far end before they get me. It works, I live to tell the tale.
However all this high power pedalling is taking it's toll and by the time I reach the outskirts of Dobreta-Turnu Severin I am out on my feet and it's pitch dark when I pull over to buy water from a bakers shop that is just closing up. I slump in a chair and drink while the kind lady owner bustles round cleaning her display cases. I am not sure that I can get up and nor is she. Finally I stagger out, get my leg over Cynthia and by some miracle of transcendental navigation ride straight to the front door of my hotel. The tall, raven haired and very beautiful receptionist takes one look at me and seizes my bags and marches me upstairs to my room. I sit on the bed and wake up fully clothed six hours later feeling absolutely awful. I cannot ride tomorrow.