Eastern Europe, 2013

24/08/2013 00:00


The winter of 2012 we stayed in South Africa at our son´s apartment in Roodepoort. We bought an old Nissan pick-up for occasional transport, but before we could have it passed the roadworthy test, it was stolen. At the end of February we flew back to Spain where we had parked the car near the Madrid airport and drove it to Fortuna near Murcia, where we had stayed in a camping before. Beginning April we packed our stuff and moved to Holland, where we wanted to apply for Russian visa. Because I would need a medical aid scheme for me for 6 months (€2500!!) and Ann would have to apply for a (6-months) visum in Australia, we gave up and decided to drive through the Eastern European countries, from Poland to Turkey.

In Poland we had the last of the work done to the exhaust of our Toyota, the fitting of a vibration-absorbing  which finally and at long last took away the rattle.

And then I fell ill. Headache, tiredness, pain coming and going, strange little scabs all over my head and Krakow hospital not knowing what it could be. Tests and more tests, another doctor,  another department and finally a tentative diagnosis: shingles.

It lasted for six weeks until I felt better and it had greatly interfered with out travel plans. But, since we have no schedule and can change plans any time for as many times as seems practical, we resolved to see fewer countries and drive faster. But that did not work out as intended:  Hungary and especially Romania are far too beautiful to fly through without stopping.

Especially Romania, I said. We had a train-ride in the last steam train in Europe, we went on a boat-trip, visited Dracula´s “real” castle and another one, camped in vampire camping run by Dutch people, had a very noisy night wild-camping with 3 or 4 Romanian families living it up next to us until the early hours of next day and all the while were surrounded by remarkable things: horse-drawn wagons, the horses wearing bright red pieces of cloth for the de same reason cars have head lights. Quaint houses with intricate roof structures, villages with numerous houses either old and neglected or in a state of repair, sharp pointed towers and balconies with flowers, flowers, flowers. Women in colorful dresses and men with that typical narrow rimmed hat, forests and woodwork throughout the Carphtianans and good coffee in every restaurant we visited. It´s a wonderful, romantic country.

And then we got to Bosnia. A nicer, more beautiful country is almost impossible to imagine. Landscape, towns and people embrace you as if you were a long-lost relative. The campings may be as small as postcards; they are well appointed, clean and beautifully situated without a hint of Acsi control. At the moment we are staying in almost certainly the best run camping we have ever experienced with a maximum number of camper spaces of five, if carefully positioned. Who needs more?

Tomorrow we go further South, hopefully as far as Gallipoli in Turkey, after which it will be time to return to Holland. And then 

Most probably we will spend the winter of 2013 in Australia. After that, who knows what lies ahead . . .