People say you have to keep the best for last.... That was definitely applicable for our ride of yesterday.
We departed from Bucharest at 1:30 PM from the event, heading for Zagreb, passing by 4 countries: Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Croatia. Monica told us that we would never make it to Zagreb since the trip through Romania would take at least 10 hours... Since everything went so smooth the past two weeks we left with a smile and hoped for the best....
After 4-5 hours driving we smiled even more since our navigation told us we had 5 km to go until we passed the Bulgarian border. Our smiles disappeared as soon as we arrived at a big gate facing a river. Catherine got out of the car and found out we had to take a ferry to get to the other side of the river that was in front of us. When buying a ticket for the ferry, the friendly lady told us that the ferry goes non-stop. Ok then! No worries so far.
As we arrived at the border, we had to pass customs. The friendly officer of duty checked our passports and car papers. When being asked how long it would take until the ferry would arrive, he replied that it could take one to two hours... That was not exactly what we expected but decided to make the best out of it and started feeding the wild dogs around the waiting trucks with the cookies we brought from home. (sorry Karin). Soon we found out that the ferry would only leave in case it was full of trucks. Otherwise it wouldn't be worthwhile to start the engines of the ferry. Unfortunately, not many trucks were driving along this road to Bulgaria at Friday night..... After 3,5 hours waiting, we finally got on the ferry. Four hours later we continued our trip to (what appeared to be an illiusion) Zagreb.
While waiting for the ferry, it became dark. We found out that dark in Bulgaria is very, very dark... The road in Bulgaria was far away from a highway. It appeared to be that our wonderfull navigation lead us through the counyry side of North West Bulgaria. Although we saw several very pretty villages in both Romania and Bulgaria, we soon started to wonder whether driving to Croatia wasn't too ambitious. In a split second we changed plans and called our biggest fan in Serbia; Tamara Gole if she could check availabillity in the hotel in Belgrade. They had rooms left and we decided to stay there since our navigation told us that we wouldn't arrive in Zagreb earlier than 04:00 AM. We didn't know yet what was waiting for us in Serbia....
After slight delay (20 minutes) at the border with Serbia, we left Bulgaria and entered Serbia. Our GPS told us we had 80 km. in front of us untill we would get on a highway that would lead us to Belgrade. It appeared to be that this road was under serious construction every 5 km. Every 5 km. the road was closed and we were directed of the road without any further ondication of where to drive. Since our Audi navigation only shows main road in Serbia, we would have had a serious challenge if we wouldn't have a Prestigio GPS with detailed maps with us. The route that was waiting for us was not even on the Prestigio navigation... I will spare you all the details but we have seen very large bats appearing in front of our car, at least 4 dead dogs (not small ones) on the road, we nearly killed a fox and we came across some very, very dark roads with graveyards on both side of the road in the middle of nowhere....
Our trip through Bosnia learned us that there is a huge difference between daytime and night when diving on the local roads. During daytime you experience great countrysides, pttoresque villages and nice people. At night however, it would be the perfect scenario for a horror movie. (Catherine wasso kind to start tralking about scary horror movies and the things that could happen....). If we would have had a flat tire or engine problems, we would have had a serious problem.
After aound two hours, we made it to the highway and we continued our road to Belgrade. It has to be sad that the roads in Serbia are of very good quality with an exception of the road we took from the border of Bulgaria. Looking back, I believe that most local people avoid that road as long as it is under construction.
We arrived in the hotel (Thanks again Tamara, we are very gratefull) at 01:30 AM and had a very good and deserved nightrest. We are now continuing our trip home.
For Marco: Temp is 17.5, ETA 11:56 PM, Altitude 90m., distance in front of us: 1.583 km.