Another 525kms added to the clock today. A fairly easy drive through Croatia and into Serbia. We’re now at its southernmost point, just by the border with Bulgaria. It’ll remain unnamed until we’ve passed through to avoid having the car trashed overnight!
Serbia was a full passport control border and my first stamp, despite having had this passport for over 4 years. We also had to register at the hotel and carry our registration documents with us in case we are stopped by the Police. Oh, and a new currency, the Serbian Dinar, to cope with.
Border towns often have something of the night about them. This one certainly does. It’s by no means pretty. We counted at least 6 hardware stores, 5 betting shops and plainly the locals suffer from muscular difficulties, such are the number of massage parlours. It’ll probably be like the wild West when the sun goes down. The hotel is broadly as expected in that it’s functional, central and clean but devoid of any character. This is our last steppingstone stopover as tomorrow we’ll be in Istanbul, hurrah.
The car is still rumbling a bit but it doesn’t seem to be getting much worse, for now. Both Keith and I have listened from the passenger seat to try and work our which wheel’s bearing is on the way out. It may of course be more than just the one. We resolved that it’ll be best to put the car on a ramp and spin the wheels to isolate the culprit(s). There is also a shock absorber thudding a bit but it’s not too bad. Apart from these irritants, the car is eating up the miles and, sadly, the petrol! The cruise control switch disintegrated this afternoon but I’m hopeful some superglue will sort it.
We went for a beer in the town square and then on to a traditional Serbian restaurant. After rather a lot of processed meat, cheese and rolls over the past 2 days , it was good to have a proper meal. OK, it was mixed salad, hot chillies, massive quantities of pork ‘souvlaki’ and chips.
This was washed down with a perfectly passable white wine and finished with a scarily large glass of Slivovitz (plum brandy). Judgement? Well, we debated using a bottle as an octane booster when we reach areas where petrol is decidedly dodgy. Nuff said. The meal overall, at less than £17/head was very good value as we probably only ate half of it.
We plan (as much as we plan anything) to rise early tomorrow – the aim being to reach Istanbul before its rush hour. But as this is our first twin bedded room, it’s doubtless highly dependent upon snoring activity!