What you don’t see

Route through northern Macedonia and Serbia so far
Entire route so far.

You can’t see the hills and valleys

The snow on mountain peaks in the distance

The vegetation on the slopes nearby.

You don’t see how steep it is

Or how bad the road

Or how good

How busy it is

Or how quiet

You don’t see the little monuments at the side of the road

Or the dead animals

The stray dogs barking and running with us

The dogs behind the fence

The colours of the flowers on the verge

And in the fields

The bare stakes of pruned trees and bushes

Or just still in winter dress

Budding blossom

Green in a thousand shades

The smoke from the fires of prunings

Or of old factories still operational

The skeletons of abandoned houses and industrial plants

The inhabited houses; some palaces in variegated colours, others unfinished only part inhabited on the ground floor.

You don’t see the shepherds with their flocks

And don’t hear the bells that many of the animals have around their necks.

The crooked old people plodding with hand tools on their plots

The farmers on their old tractors

Or riding a fully loaded donkey.

The Yugos and Zavastavas smoking quietly overtaking you

Or the modern German cars that accelerate when they are next to you and barely leave room

You don’t see the greeting when cycling past

Or when being driven past (often hooting with enthusiasm)

The friendliness we always meet

And the surprised looks at the realisation that we are on a tandem

We see more than we can capture in words and images.

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