Learning the Lingo

Whilst not absolutely essential, learning a bit of the local lingo will make your foreign bike tour much more rewarding.  And exercising the grey matter is now recommended as a means to help stave off dementia!
If nothing else, at least learn to say “Do you speak English?” – “Govorite engleski?” in Serbian!  People are very helpful and even if they don’t, they will often find someone who does.  English is one of the most commonly spoken languages so you might be lucky, especially in the towns.  But much less likely out in the countryside where you will do most of your cycling.  So a bit of preparation is wise.  You are going on a cycling adventure, so be adventurous. Buy a foreign language phrase book and get practising!

And you never know when a bit of local lingo might come in handy

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A broken chain in Luxembourg

Spain Garage 2

Or Des needed a welding job in Spain!

span phraseCroat dict - Copy (2)So you might need bike shop.  No problema! Just make sure that your phrasebook shows phonetic pronunciations.  In Spain a bicycle shop – una tienda de bicicletas – is pronounced phonetically oo-nah teeyehn-da deh bee-thee-kleh-tahs.
But this year the plan is to visit Serbia. This raises another problem, they use Cyrillic script!  However in the country next door, Croatia, they speak almost the same language but use our Latinised script.  So my solution was to buy a Croatian phrase book. Not any easy language to get to grips with but much simplified without the complication of Cyrillic letters!  I might also try to master a bit of Serbian Cyrillic, if only to be able to read such things as road signs and food menus.

Road sign
Sorry, how do you spell it?

And find out how the 2 novice cyclists, referred to above, manage with mechanicals and other bike problems here Helpful bike shops

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