Again it takes us more than a week to update our website. Sorry for keeping you waiting! So here is the latest update about our traveling:
After our stop at Sarajevo we went through the mountains of Bosnia all the way to Belgrad, the capital of Serbia. Considering that our GPS was not working and regarding that there are no motorways but only loopy, messed up and – in our case – snowy roads between the two countries, we had quite an exhausting trip. To see the rural and rarely developed areas of Bosnia and Serbia was the first real different experience so far. Poverty is reigning in those regions where there is nearly no agriculture or economy going on. It sort of seemed to us as if clocks had stopped ticking here 40 years ago. So the only thing going on was police and borderstaff stopping us six times on the road. But as soon as they figured out that we don’t speak their language they let us pass anyway
After a quick stop at Užice, where we had some KLO pizza (klo actually stands for a little snack), we were quite happy to arrive at Belgrad. We somehow managed to get to Simkas lovely place. Simka is the mother of Srdjan whom we had met in Vienna a few weeks ago. Although he could not make it to Belgrad when we were there, Srdjan had kindly arranged that we could stay at his parents place and so in the late evening we were welcomed in the warmest and most hospitable way you could ever imagine with Serbian cake and cheesepie made by Simka. We spent the next two nights the two of us each in a room for his own, which you honestly start to appreciate after weeks of sleeping next to each other. Simka was taking care of us like a mother of her own kids – preparing our food, doing our laundry, giving us a city tour… After two days we had a quick tablesoccer match in front of Simkas flat together with her Ex-husband but it was actually a little to cold to have a real competition of the generations. Simka had prepared tons of food for us to take on our trip to Romania. Dear Simka, thank you so much not only for receiving us but also for the interesting philosophical talks in your kitchen – Hvala lepo!
Starting from Belgrad we were heading for Romania. Although it was only 500km we could not make it to Bucharest on one single day. This can basically be explained with the worlds most inefficient border clearances in Bulgaria and Romania. We still do not know how, but somehow we made it to the other side of the river Duna by ferry (which was actually a complete rip-off) and arrived at Calafat, where we had some difficulty in distinguishing roads from acres… But anyway, next day – after spending a night in the car at Craiova – we continued to Bucharest where we met Diana. My friend Christoph had announced and introduced us to her a few days before. Diana is a film maker (director of photography – to be more precise) and although she was pretty busy preparing a shooting she let us stay at her flat in the very heart of the city for two days. We were very glad to have someone to show us Bucharest with its diverse culture and – to say the least – entertaining night life. After our arrival we had some traditional Romanian food (with pork knee in it.. but still very tasty!) and went to “Control Club”, which actually went pretty much “Out of Control” that night. It was International Women’s Day and chicks got their drinks for prices that you would not even find in German supermarkets… we have probably never seen that many girls in one place! Diana, Bianca, Daniel, Stephan and Tudor – thanks so much for going out with us! We really had a great time together with you and would be happy to see you again!
After this inspiring night we spent the next day to have a drink on the roof of the popular “House of the People” in the center of the city and saw a lot of more great places.
Bucharest as a cultural and artistic hotspot with its relics from the communist period really blew us away. It made us thinking how much it contrasts the rural parts of the country where carriages are still going instead of buses. Not only there but also in the Romanian capital itself you can still see a lot of poor people especially in the Sinti and Roma population that seems to live in some kind of parallel society apart from culture and society.
When Diana and her boyfriend Stephan actually started shooting for their new project we decided heavy-heartedly to go on to Bulgaria where we were planning to spent a few days at the coast of the Black Sea near Balzik. The next day we found some quite and enjoyable spots in the nature close to the sea where we spent the night and waked up from a sheperd with all his sheeps running around our bus. Going off road the day after this, again with the intention to find some comfortable place to put the car for the night, we were kindly introduced to Bulgarian potholes. Actually we had to torture Bernd going on horrible tracks to finally end up at a terrific clearing. We put a camping-fire there to prepare some potatoes and original Deutsche Bratwurst that we had found in a store hours before and made us feel a little like at home!
When we started our route to Istanbul after two days in natural surroundings we had a quick stop at Burgas (Bulgaria) to check on the internet. Only then we got to know about the catastrophe in Japan. It felt weird that we had not at all learned anything about the earthquake and its horrible consequences for 48 hours being isolated from all kinds of media within modern information society…
Still depressed by this horror we got on the road again. In the last part of Bulgaria, 50km before the Turkish border, the road got more and more messed up – again we had some umpleasant rendez-vous with sinkholes and craters in the streets (to be more realistic). Going not more than 30 km/h on average it took us hours until we arrived at a traffic sign announcing a place named “Turcia” in 3km. We were sort of confused as we could not find it on the map and we were starting to wonder if we had taken the proper route. So we took the road in the opposite direction and went for a while.. But then, all of a sudden, I had this flash of genius that “Turcia” is not a town but actually stands for Turkey. Pleased by our own stupidity we turned the car and finally got to Turcia!
P.S.: Some people let us know that the pictures on our website are causing some browser problems because of their size. Now that we made them smaller, we hope that everything is fixed!