Category Archives: Istanbul

The Belgium proposition

As is the tradition, we decided to go out for something to eat and a few pints, especially as it was our last night. The culinary offering in Belgium is similar to that of France,  Vegitarians can have an omlete or salad, me being a veggy, as expected, catering for me was an issues. We eventually found a small reseraunt with a loose south American style which had something to offer. Nick had a meat product and I had a veg pie. Very good, we both enjoyed our meal.  After our meal we went to a small bar populated by north Africans, they were very friendly and we had a good chat with them and as we left thought it was time for bed. But we spotted one more bar and thought we would drop in for one last drink….

It had a strange dynamic, a white  chap at the bar with a black girl, they were sat together but there body language suggested some thing odd. There were two other couples and a short drunk guy causing a nuisance of him self and a well dressed chap later found out he was called patrick, who seemed to know every one yet they all seemed that they had not been in the bar before. We had some discussion’s on this situation and decided that the girls were hookers and the well dressed guy or the land lord was the pimp and the short guy was some sort of assistant.

The two chaps and two girls got up and left and exchanged greeting with Patrick. The drunk bloke came over to me and started to say something in foreign, and started to get physical, Fortunately although I had had a few drinks, I was not as drunk as him and fairly quickly dispatched him  into the arms of his colleagues. They ushered him out of the door and came back to apologies for his behaviour, No big shakes we said, he was drunk and no one was hurt. Patrick told us his name and bought us a drink. He had had a few drinks but was not drunk but spoke fairly good English. We chatted for a while and he quickly establish what we were doing and what our jobs were (not police) He then started to tell us about the services he offered, Narcotics were one of his main sources of income, and I would assume from this that the short drunk guy was his runner. He showed us his cloths to demonstrate how well he had done out of his trade. We were having a friendly chat and we laughed about meeting a drugs dealer. Patrick disappeared to do something and we discussed that the bar man looked a bit handy  and we should probably avoid him if the drunk guy kicked off again, he had come back. The bar man later proved to not be of any threat and was working hand in glove with Patrick. An Asian man with his young son came in and handed a large pack of cigarettes over the bar nd the land lord immediately withdrew some euros from the till and paid the man, now words were exchanged.  Very shady,

Patrick came back over to talk to us again,  and started to tell us more of his dealings and I assume look for a sale.  He told us of the requirement of people to seek pleasure and he was a one stop shop, he told us that the three girls were hookers and he was as assumed was the pimp. We were amused by this and thought we might as well learn what we could while we had our drinks. Patrick read from us that we were not offended by his trade and not shocked but more surprised by the ease in which he volunteered the details of his trade.  He seemed to signal the bar man who made a phone call and them within about 5 minutes a girl appeared on Patricks arm and he clearly wanted to offer her services to us. I felt sorry for her, she knew as soon as she saw us that we were not even remotely interested in anything he had in mind. We exchanged polite conversation but did nothing to perpetuate any assumption that we were remotely interested in the services on offer.  This was a strange and amusing experience, we had something to tell the folks back home and we would probably laugh about for years to come, Ah the joys of travel. After finishing our drinks, we said our good bys and I made a point to apologies for the embarrassment caused and to reassure her that we felt no offence by it. Back to the relative sanity of the youth hostel

I really struggle with the water

I really struggle with the water when I go away, every day I have got up with a head ache since we set out,

This morning we left Germany and head for the Nurburgring, about 450 miles. We were both pretty tired but given we were driving such a high performance car, it ate up the miles on the smooth German motorways. We managed to get the old girl up to 100 MPH before I backed off safe in the knowledge that there was plenty more where that came from.  It was a featureless drive to ‘the ring’ is us racing car drivers call it, once we were within about 20 miles we went off the motorway and the countryside was really good, loads of Big wind turbines, Ace, I love them.

We arrived at the ring at around 4:40 had a bit of a drive around the periphery while we established where to go then we spotted a visitor center, we parked up and wandered in, the chap told us to drive down the road and buy a ticket, then go round the circuit. It sounded all together too easy. So we drove to where he said, I bought a ticket and we drove onto the circuit, No training, No safety lecture, not checks to the car, no check of our driving licence, nothing.  So we drove on to the circuit, our 26 euro pass for one lap in hand. The gate opened and we were off, plodding towards the first corner. It was not clear where the circuit started, so I just started to go a bit faster and it became apparent we were on it. Now I know you all know my car is a fast high performance racing car in the guise of a hatchback / campervan combo, but I was surprised to learn, which a did very quickly, that there are even faster cars out there. Given our relative lack of experience, we decided to let some of the other cars pass and focused more on the lovely scenery through the forest area of the course. After the first few KMs we felt confident enough to go a bit faster. There are some corners that aer banked and you can drive them really fast, its great fun, I was surprised how hilly the circuit was and it was quite demanding on brakes on the down hill sections. We both enjoyed it and almost managed to touch 100mph which converts to 450KPH in the local currency of speed. We drove off the circuit and went to the local garage to buy a sticker. We had driven the nurburgring, with out doubt the most challenging race circuit in the world if not the universe and had done it in an impressive time of 18 minutes, the fasted time ever recorded. We felt pretty proud of our selves and started to plan the night entertainment in celibration of our success.

Musical Interlude

We have not listened to all that much music during the journey, the car is quite loud so the delicate nuances of the Prodigy are lost among a veritable cornucopia of rattles growles, groans and bangs. At least thats what you think at first. It turns out that the car is more than a little musical. The handle that sits between the two front seats, known to most of you as a hand brake, is actual a hand break lute. Diverse pitch and cadence can be obtained from only a slight adjustment to the angle of the lute and the revs being generated in the engine. Moving the bags in the boot turns the kitchinette into an acid house rythmn section worthy of the trendiest all night dance extravaganzas.

Another moment on our journey springs to mind, when passing through a village in central Bulgaria. A number of rustic types by the side of the road wearing brightly colored tunics,  both men and women and indeterminate, spontaneously began leaping and gyrating. I now believe the car was reproducing a commendable rendition of an ancient Bulgarian folk song, much to he delight of all those within hearing range.

Another discovery is that idling at traffic lights, the driver can apply elbow pressure to the drivers side door, left hand pressure to the stearing wheel and revs slightly above idle and it sounds just like a golf.

We left Berchtesdarden at around half eight this morning. The breakfast was surprisingly good but the lady in the kitchen was distinctly unimpressed when Simon attempted to fill our travel mugs with coffee for the road. We ended up paying an additional few euros for the pleasure. The German roads are for the most part as one would expect, fast and smooth, we have however encountered lots of road works and traffic, possibly people returning from an Easter break.

We came across a hitch hiker almost straight away and stopped to give him a lift. It was only useful to him for a few miles but it was a few miles further than he was before. Didnt really have time to talk to him too much but we left him clutching a card anyway.

Our next target is the Nurburgring, a prospect that puts a grin of glee on Simons face. I will leave him to describe it later, who knows what tune we may hear on the hand break lute as we speed round the track.

Helpful Slovenian duty free girls – Friday 5th

Friday in the hotel and I feel quite hungry, I think a full veggie breakfast is the order of the day to fortify us for what might be a five country day. However I am sure I am about to be disappointed. The waiter in the restaurant offered us eggs, they cannot do toast but we can have bread, and a cup of coffee, and that was pretty much what I got. An omelette a very Small pot of coffee and a big mug, as used to hold a big cup of coffee, and some bread rolls, oh and a glass of apple juice. I don’t think it could have got any more basic. We  Didn’t think it was worth asking to have our cups filled with hot water. However in there defence, for the money, it was a surprise to have any breakfast included. We had enjoyed Nis but in the word of Fu Man Chew, the time has come for us to leave.

 

I love motorways, especially featureless ones that pass through endless countries only to be Punctuated by fat miserable customs people who hate us for no apparent reason. We went Through five check points today, the usual checks to vie pass ports, examine the contents of our back seat and discus safety issues relating to having explosive gas cylinders in the boot. All of them miserable except the check point as we left Croatia. The rest of them Have done my PTSD no favours following a scene on the Hungarian border some years ago. Hers a good tip, when driving in Slovenia and Austria always buy a vignette, this is a Transit pas and if you don’t have one and you get caught, it is going to sting, fortunately, us being lucky bastards, we drove all the way through Slovenia without one and didn’t get Caught, but thought the better of taking the risk in Austria and stopped by to see some most beautiful girls in the duty free shop in Slovenia to buy one. In passing I mentioned the vignette for Slovenia and told her that I didn’t have one, She said we had been very lucky because there are big fines for people who don’t have one, she told me that if I went up the stair and looked out of the window towards the Austrian border, if there was a white van waiting on the road, then they would pull us over and fine us, I went up the stairs and sure enough, there they were. A Slovenian vignette was dully purchased and I thanked the Girls for their help, if you are reading this, thanks again. you saved us a lot of money.

 

This is a five county day, we left Serbia, went through Croatia, Slovenia, Austria and Germany is where will hope to spend the night. On the way, the high point has to be the Arnold Swarzenegger Museum, although it was closed when we got there, we had a look at the Statue outside. Had a few photos and now as I write, we are 80 miles from Bertchersgarten which is a small town below the eagles nest, Hitler’s castle. That will also be closed but we knew that, it is out of season. We have booked into a youth hostel there and have to be there before ten, we can’t afford to miss this as we will have nowhere to stay. Tomorrow we head for the nurburgring and hope to get a lap in before it closes at 8pm

 

At the croation border, the guard, as is traditional, asked us where we had been, He was the best of the bad bunch, he had to intrust us as we started to reel off 15 European Countries, he sent us on our way. We have a routine at the border crossings to ensure everything runs smoothly, we have both passports, car reg doc, MOT , Insurance green Card, driving licence for the current driver.  We dismount the forward facing camera and generally make the car look a bit tidier to avoid questions, we only ever tell them the next country we aim to visit to avid questions, and Usually just give them on or two of the previous ones, this way they don’t ask to many questions.

 

Now in an Italian restaurant in Berchtsgarten, we have found the youth hostel and we are going back there as soon as we have had something to eat. Its a great place with a really friendly lady looking after it, there arnt many people there, cost 60 euros per night.

 

The reason we have not been keeping the web site up to date is down to a bit of tec that we bought to keep us on line while mobile, it worked fine until the 1st of April when we were supposed to fit a new sim which didnt arrive at home to we had left, not a lot of good there. Its really annoying as we were both looking forward to blogging every day. I am sorry readers if we have let you down, The people at tep will be recieving my wroth as soon as we get back.

Me and Nick will be having a few beers tonight and then later will will be having a snorring competition, we expect the other guests in the hostel to be the judge but we home to be out on the road before they announce the winner, I have a feeling who that might be.

An observation of Austria, comparatively, all cars are almost new, but given my view point, almost all cars except museum pieces are newer than mine. I am looking forward to getting a notably slow time around the nurburgring tomorrow, just as proof positive i drive a crap car. However you look at it, this car has been the catalyst for travel, John O Groats, the Arctic circle and now asia, it has been a creator of adventure and over all that time and Mileage, it is still worthless, or should I say priceless.

Interlude

We havnt said an awfull lot about Istanbul. It is an amazing place. The Byzantine empire started there so it has tangible history reaching back to before JC turned BC to AD. Coming into Istanbul by car takes some time, it is a huge massive sprawl of suburban enclaves that increase in height as you get nearer to the old city areas, changing from two story houses to tower blocks of apartments. The skyline is punctuated at random but frequent intervals by minarets that reach up from the many mosques of the city. The place does not require sleep, at its quietest moments there still seems to be a low level hum of activity. During the day that activity becomes a frantic onslaught of sights, sounds and smells, where no street is empty and most are teeming with buyers and sellers haggling, men sitting drinking tea from handleless glasses and awestruck tourists trying to take it all in.

At this time of year it is warm even when raining but by no means uncomfortable, every morning you wake to the sound of the Imams voice with the call to prayer at the nearest mosque. They dont climb the minarets any more, they have huge loud speakers attached instead. The Imams cry on a hazy pre dawn Istanbul morning is a strangely exotic experience and how I imagined it might be.

The historical buildings are facinating and many of them provide a welcome and calm oasis from the clamour outside. I did not get to see everything, you would need weeks, but what I did see was fantastic. I wont bore you with individual descriptions but I do recommend it.

There are shops everywhere in Istanbul many of them highly specialized, some places have a whole street of shops selling very similar items, there is a series of streets for habidashery and another for kitchen hardware, we saw a shop that sold only cuddly toys and another that had nothing but tupperware. The grand bazzare is a huge maze of stalls that you spend a day exploring on its own, many things are sold there but by far the majority of stalls are selling jewelry and carpets. Again thouroughly recommended but be preapred to be sold to by pretty much every vendor at every shop or stall in every street. In most cases you say no and all is well, some can be more insistent.

Thursday 4th

Thursday night club will be in Serbia

This morning saw the end of our stay in Istabul, i was torn between a rock and a hard place, part of me wanted to stay in istanbull and tick off few more tourist sights with Elaine, part of me wanted to get back on the road, there was only ever going to be 0ne winner to that discusion, we had to set off for home, 2500 miles of tarmac  (excluding pot holes) lies ahead of us. It feels very remote when we finally broke the city limits and looked at the distance we have to travel to get home, and even the distance we have to travel to get back to a country where we have fully comprehensive insurance and breakdown cover. We had to get on with it, so at 8:30 we gave a sad fairwell to our wives and to Istanbul. We had traveresed a continent in a car that most people would think twice about driving across Montgomeryshire in. We had hit our Target of getting into Asia and now all we had to do was get home to complete the project.

After paying the man in the underground car park his 51 Turkish lira we headed off out of istanbul, although the traffic was fairly quiet at that time in the morning, it still was somthing of a challenge to get out of town without impact with a taxi. We headed off west with our sights on Serbia and a town called Nis. We had booked a twin room in the ambasador hotel for tonight, with a cost of £29 we were pretty pleased with ourselves, however we havent seen it yet, As i write this we are on the outskirts of Sofia on our way out.
 The drive to Bulgaria from Istnabul was faily uneventntful, a motorway all the way to the border, we saw some dogs, there are dogs everywhere in eastern europe, wandering around not really causing any problems, I wonder what they are thinking of as they sit motionless on the side of the road just gazing into space,

The border crossing was an endless stop start affair, first you have to leave Turkey and that invloved three check points, the first pass port control, they check your pass port, the second is customs, they check your pass port and the thrid is police check where they check you driving related documents, green card, vehicle registration documents, drivers licence and then they check your pass port. We stopped in no mans land to go to the loo and look if there was a shop selling maps, no maps, only duty free in a very smart shopping mall that is very unlike the surounding,  As we moved on we had to go through what turned out to be disinfection area, the car was sprayed with some fluid above and below, later we were charged 3 euros for it. I think it was really a donation to the customs officers christmas party, as far is disinfecting the car was concerned it was about as effective as spraying one the turkish dead dogs from the side of the road with Domestos and calling it safe to eat. Any way i think they felt it was benificial.
We moved on to the Bulgarian side of the customs, same routine but this time we did get a laugh out of one of the officialls when i had to show him our stove contraption on the parcel shelf, come to think of it, it made me laugh to, what possesed me to think of putting a gas stove onto a parcel shelf, buy Hey, it works and should keep us fed as far as Monty if the gas doesnt run out. After the third stop we had to pull over to get a transit vinyette, this is a sort of licence to allow us to drive through Bulgaria. cost around 6 euro, i had to pay in cash and in local currency, so i had to first get a 20 euro note changed and then hand of the bulgarian currnecy for the vinyette. job done we were finaly on our way. Probably held us up 3/4 of an hour. no big shakes, this was always going to be a short day.

The roads were significanly poorer in Bulgaria but we could still maintain a reasonable speed once we got onto the motorway again. We discussed a route change with sally to allow us to get off the main road and into the sticks so we could find a place to cook dinner. discusions lasted around 100 miles before we finaly came on a place that might fit the bill. We dropped of the motorway to the right and then under a bridge and off into the hills. This is the sort of diversion that gives a really good insite into a country. The motorways are quite well presented even in the financially streched coutries, get into the sticks and see how people really live. It was the litter that struck us first, similar to albania, i guess there is no disposal system. as we followed a van he opened his door and deposited the detritus from his lunch onto the road, a pop bottle and some sandwhich wrappers, We were disgusted but not in a position to challenge him.
We drove through the hills till we found a place to stop by a lake, Very nice place, we had noodles and veg, with a brew and a bit of Bananna bread for pudding, Fortiifed.
We continued along the side of the lake much to sallies discontent, the roads were poor, in the fields were people using horses and donkeys as motive forces, there were many buildings that looked almost bombed out but i dont recall any trouble over here. the countryside is beautiful, as good as Wales in many ways but the liter is a real problem.

Some miles later we arrived in Sofia, the main road runs straight through it. Once you get near the center it is quite beautiful , probably worth a second look. the building are large stone built similar to some areas of London, the road system seems quite developed, they have trams , probably left over from the soviet days, and what seems like a good public transport system. people seem to be busy and the driving techniques are on a par with any developed euopean center. I was quite looking forward to the anarchy of Tirana, no such luck.

 
We are now in no mans land betweeen Bulgaria and Serbia, probably about an hour from our destination, The BG customs just waved us through, no big shakes, we dont have anything to hide and given the number of stamps in our passport, we would have already been pulled up by one of the previous coutries if we were up to no good. Deisel in BG was expesive, about £1.55 a litre

Now in Serbia and Sally has taken it upon her self to do one of her shortcuts through the hills, it is quite spectacular, some great view at the tops of the mountains before we decend into Nis. the cops followed us for a few miles after the border but we switched on the cloaking device and they soon turned around and left us alone.
The roads are bendy and it is difficule to write so any mistake i have made in spelling or grammer are down to road conditions and in no way reflect my ability as a blogger, also that count for the last few bloggs i have done, in fact it count for everything i have ever written, all mistakes are due to serbian road condition. Once we are in autrail my typing will be perfect from that day forward.
Sebia is nicer than the Bulg. less litter, beter land scapes less dogs. there is a lot of construction going on but the housing stock is very poor in some area, I would think the land is very fertile, It is a good country to drive through,
More tomorrow on this as we approach Western Europe.
Its now Friaday morning and we are both a bit hung over after having a few drinks in Nis. We found the hotel easily and parked the car, using co-ordinates to find the hotel location is much easier than an address. The hotek is basic but more than adequate for our needs. The girl on reception was really friendly and gave us good advise on where to eat. We had some food in a bor not far from the hotel on a street that had about 5 bars. We decided it would probably be a record if we as brits drank in all five of them. We did and this morning i am paying for it. Beer and food are cheep here but i cant remember how much, i think around 250 gubbins per pint.
the highlight of the nigh was the last bar which was dedicated to Nicole Tesla, the inventer of AC electricity and whos birthplace we hade tried to visit a few days ago inbetween Julias house and Dubrovnic. the wall was liines with photos of him and detailed drawings of his inventions. We had some fun and the subject of another road trip came up.

More Easter Sunday

Ah yes, back to Albania. here is a good tip. Only drive in albania if you have a crap car, a good one wont last for long. The pot hole are frequet and in the rain it is unclear how deep they are, Our suspension has taken a reall beating.
DOnkeys seem to raom the streets i guess in a simmilar way to sacred cows of india. They are still used to pull carts and we saw a few. Along the ‘main highway’ people set up stalls selling veg and honey and all sorts of stuff, but the stalls look like they wouldnt stand any sort of wind, the polythene roofs and sides are full of holes and the timbers are  significantly worse than pallet wood. I felt the need to go back with a big roll of damp proof membrane and sort them all out, i cant get the DIY out of my system.
Driving through Tirana was the best thing we have done so far, it was like palying dodgers but with real cars, you get constantly cut up, horns blowing and having to drive agressivly but with causion is great fun. We survived it and will recount the memory of it for may years to come. we have a bit of video footage to put up but cant do it till istanbul, not band width on the mobile network.
We booked a hotel overlooking a massive lake in the south of Albania, cost 35 quid, twin room ith large onsuet very well fitted out. we had a balcony with veiw of the Albanian hill, not hills in the traditional sense, these wer hills of rubish, there does not seem to be any formal mechanism to contain rubish so it gets dumped ont eh side of the road. Its a bit of a mess in places but no big shakes. English isnt widley spoken but our requirements were minimal so comunication was never an issue, plus with in 50 miles of any border, Nick was fluent in the basics of the lingo.
We went out for dinner in a litle reseraunt about a 5 min walk from the hotel. We had two courses and four pints of the local brew for17 euros, didnt seem right to eat and drink for that, we gave the lad a 13 euro tip, it was work it for the look on his face. I was however a litle disapointed with my vegetarian soup that contained meat. the manager cam over when i expressed concern and told me it was meat soup and what did i expect. Not wishing to get the waiter in trouble who had told me it was veggy i let it go and left the suop. I had been a momentary carnevor, it wont happen again. had pizza for main which was good but a bit of a cop out, Nick had fish from the lake, three of them, heads still attached and look simmilar to trout. Looked god but i though if Nick has Enva Hodgers revenge in the moring one of us needs to drive,

Easter Sunday

The lake that Pogradec sits beside is huge, you probably would not see the other side on a clear day, never mind the drizzle we woke to on Easter Sunday. We headed south towards Greece, the roads were significantly better than those in the North of Albania, the legal minimum depth for southern Albanian pot holes is only a foot. We were pulled over briefly at the Greek border, a communication problem I think. It wasnt so much that they couldnt understand English, they just couldnt understand how we had managed to get there.

Northern Greece had numerous road warning signs, some of which were for donkeys crossing the road. We didnt see any so assume that this is either aspirational or the donkeys have all emigrated to Albania, or Tescos have been to Northern Greece.

Heading South towards Meteora Sally spat the dummy again and would not help us with directions, she gets a bit pissy if you dont treat her with the utmost respect. So we resorted to a road map, archaic and edgy I know but after driving Albanian mountain roads in the dark we were looking for something more challenging.

I defy anyone not to be impressed by Meteora, it is a truly truly stunning place. The whole setting is impressive, not just the monastries. It was so impressive that it warranted a fry up, veggy burgers and scrambled egg. An interesting combination, the pan is not coated and has seen cleaner days so perfect fried eggs just werent going to happen. Eating sandwiches overlooking the Meteoran monastries was a worth while experience.

On towards Turkey, we had not booked anything so took a punt while we were driving on a place the other side of Thesalonika, believe it or not called Stavros. We arrived about 8:30 and found a bar on the sea front that was still open, I dont know the names of the folks we met but we will call them Mr and Mrs Stavros, very friendly, made us a huge Pizza, one side vegitarian the other carnivore, and plyed us with Greek wine and Ouzo.

Big day for the car today, it finally hits another continent. More later.

Saturday

Saturday
From Good friday to excellent Saturday
I am writting this on Saturday night and it seems like an age ago since we left our digs in

Dubrovnic this morning. We got up with thick heads and set off south, It was our intention

to visit Budva as it is noted in Wikipeadea to have more millionairs per square mile than

any where else in the plannet. I question wiki on this one, It was no better than barmouth

and we found litle evidence of wealth, However i am sure the guys at the fuel station were a

bit more flush after our visit,
We had a big fry up for breakfast on the side of the raod, Nice, then set off for Tirana

The albanians had been a bit sneaky, they didnt have a border crossing, just seemed to rely

on the montenegro crew to sort it out, we were in in around 30 mins, we had expected this

to be a difficult boder crossing but in the end it was OK. They did ask for car insurance

and registraton document and green card. All in order, We had done our homework. Having

been pulled by the cops twice already, we had everything to hand.

With in a few miles of the border it became claer that Albania had a lot more going for it

then Monenegro. The people were clearly more acustomed to dealing with poverty. Also the

feeling that the recent war in Montengro had left behind wwas now absent. I was glad,

montengro had a bad feeling about it. Glad to get out.
We both loved Albania, and made the following observation
 Donkeys out number Women 7 to one in Albania
Stray dog outnumber Donkeys
It is illegal to go out with out a carrier bag full of stuff.
There is no driving test, only an idiot test, once you have proved you are indeed an idi0t
ot,then you are allowed behind the wheel. There no rules when driving other than try not to

hit other cars or people,
We did OK but came pretty close on a few occations The overtaking was a mixture of horror

and slapstick.
Too tired now to write anything of qulity, finish this tomorrow.

Good Friday

We should have got up at 8am, we should have grabbed some breakfast and got on the road, we didnt, My alarm didnt go off on time so we got up at 10 and then thought we had an easy day ahead of us so had a cooked breakfast, fairly relaexed really, Sall had a shock in store for us, we got her up and duscused routes, olney  for her ininfomr us that Dubrovnic was a long way away and it would probably take all day. She was right, we must listen to her in future. There was silence in the car only to be broken by sally newly authoritiative tone directing us along the way. We climbed up from the near coast are where we stayed, to arond 900m and twere surprised how much snow ther was, although it rained all morning, it was the visibility that caues us the main concern, the low cloud reduced our speed down to less than 20MPH in some places and even at that it did not feel safe. At one point a white van came up behind us and didnt see us in time and had to swerve to miss hittin out back end, i had to swerve in the oposite direction, i had seen his lights before he saw mine. Not good
By around 1pm, the waether picked up and we headed down to the coast. We enteres Croatia via a couple of the most miserable customs staff you ever did see, fist time our passport had been looked at.
We bought a jar of honey from a girl on the side of the road 10 euro for a big jar, happy days, we saw about ten little stalls selling honey over the next 15 miles. perhaps we could have got a better deal, 10 euros is a fair price.
Dthe miles we had to cover to get to dubrovnic from Sloveinia, (5 miles south of Triest, was significant, we had to take something out or it would be 3am arrival again. We chose to ditch both Nocola Teslas birthplace and Mostar, in the hope that that would give us some time to explore Dubrovnic. We are now 200KMs fro  dub and it is 5;40. to be concluded.