I was making good progress and was on target for an early arrival in Belgrade when I hit the last twenty kilometres all of which were on a busy main road. Not so much "Abebe Bikila, Abebe Bikila, Abebe Bikila" as "Fuck that bus is pulling over", "Shit that bastard is turning right" "Bollocks I've taken the turning onto the motorway". Twenty kilometres of high stress survival cycling with not a pavement, cycle lane or back road available. At last I make it to Zemun, a suburb of Belgrade, on the west bank of the River Sava (which joins the Danube at Belgrade) and I could ride along an arcadian riverside walk for ten kilometres until I get to the bridge to cross over to Belgrade proper. There may be a city less bicycle friendly than Belgrade but I doubt it. Even the cycle path on the bridge over to the centre wasn't wide enough for two bikes to pass each other, one had to pause while one set of handlebars were lifted over the other. I was unclear where my hotel was other than that I had misjudged how far it was from the centre as the street it was in didn't figure on any of my maps. I turned to my trusty Blackberry, no map showing at all, I pulled out my I-Pad, no map showing. In desperation I walked Cynthia into a posh hotel nearby. The blonde receptionist was happy to help and when I showed her the address of my hotel she said "Oh yes I know it. It's not so near" then seeing my frazzled expression added hastily "but not so far". She scribbled on a street plan showing a very simple route following the road outside the front door up the east bank of the Sava. "And I can cycle that road can I?" I asked. "Oh yes no problem".
Ha! She might just have well said that I could cycle the Monaco Grand Prix. I survived for about a mile before I took the only turning off available, a no-entry road leading into the Belgrade Trade Fair site. The whole site, which was buzzing with visitors, appeared to be completely fenced in apart from the entrance and exit which fed straight out onto the four lane death trap that I had just fled. I studied my map carefully and saw that in theory there was a cycle path on the riverbank itself. In desperation I had an imaginative conversation with one of the car park attendants. We both imagined that we understood what the other was saying. At the end of it he pointed to a gap between two buildings and Hallelujah! there was a hole in the fence and I could escape onto the cycle path. Two miles upstream I had to leave the path and drag Cynthia across some railway tracks and up some stairs to the street where my hotel was located on the second floor of a shabby shopping centre. It was pitch dark when I got there and next time I will spend the money staying at the posh hotel with the blonde receptionist.