2707 miles from Edinburgh.
Well, well well. Zack and AJ have managed 5 more countries since last we spoke.
Kings Landing (Dubrovnik) was indeed the destination on Friday the 19th and was found with relative ease by mid afternoon after a breakfast of ham and eggs at a pub by the side of the road. On the way we managed to bump into a laddie from Edinburgh at a petrol station who lives in Luxembourg and who was holidaying in Croatia. “Yous are a long way fae hame”, he informed us, knowledgeably. We agreed.
Dubrovnik was very beautiful, with hundreds of swallows dive bombing against a backdrop of turreted city walls, terracotta roofs and the gleaming Adriatic.
We parked the car and squeezed down a side street that was extremely steep and narrow, only to climb straight back out again when entering the main turret to walk the city walls that encircle the entire town. The photos do it more justice than we ever could. (2 of the best photos)
We returned to the car to find our very first parking ticket and celebrated by getting lost looking for the coast road again. AJ vented his anger by murdering a pigeon under the driver side wheel and 2 centurion guards (presumably authentic) helped us reverse out of yet another dead end.
Eventually we found our way to the camp site 20km away in srensomething.
Here Zack swapped 2 miniatures with a Dutch couple for 2 maps that we needed and a hammer that we needed more for hammering tent pegs. Old shovels and sheer will power only gets you so far.
Once settled there was time for another dip in the Adriatic and a fish platter at a neighbouring restaurant. MMC unashamedly on a budget.
Saturday the 20th dawned (which was a relief considering the winds the night before) warm and bright and Sarah was packed with the minimum of fuss and a course for Podgorica was set. The driving here was fantastic, hugging an inlet and then scaling mountain passes resplendent with tunnels hewn straight out of the rock.
Montenegro represented the 13th country we have passed through and the setting for Casino Royale did not disappoint. The collective navigation skills of MMC did however. Hopelessly lost down yet another mountain track 2 hours went by until AJ proclaimed “Fuck it, I’m turning my roaming on”. The boys were on the right road to Serbia 40 minutes later and entered said country with the minimum of fuss.
There was barely enough time for AJ to pee before we were entering yet another country. This time it was Kosovo, as as the sunlight was rapidly fading, shattered from 10 hours in the car, it was the complete antithesis of how they wished this particular leg to go.
Kosovo saw MMC indulge in their first act of bribery. Zack shat himself when he saw a copper standing in the middle of the road holding a gun. Thankful it was only a speed gun and after AJ shouted over for “enough dolla to bribe this lad” we set off again, the Kosovan police force 20 euros up.
Plunged into now total darkness the headlights illuminated several youth crowded around 2 chainsaws, decimated Serbian flags hanging limply from lampposts and at one point a field that was just on fire (photo). The road surface had degraded significantly as well so by the time the boys reached the Macedonia border at 23:00, the car and it’s inhabitants were broken.
Once into Macedonia, a hotel was sourced (budget severely flouted this time out of desperation and panic) and a fantastic nights sleep followed by breakfast was bastardised.
Skopje, the economist informed it’s most dedicated mascot- AJ, has had a lot of money thrown at its town centre. This manifested itself mostly in Alexander the Great Statutes but was still cool to walk around. There was just enough time for AJ to ride a lion and Zack to molest one of these statues before getting into the car again and setting off for Sofia, which is were this blog is being codified.
Sofia is dilapidated, shaggy and composed almost entirely of one way streets where trams and cars terrify tourists and locals alike by swapping.
McDonalds was the saviour here and a hostel was booked on their wifi whilst eating their Big Macs.
Hostel is generous, Zack and AJ are in a room just off a drunk lady’s kitchen. But she seems harmless enough and MMC are safe, well and ready for Romania on the morrow.