Our 10th country – Hungary

Thursday, 14th June 2018

Dave posting,

A small amount of planning for today took place over breakfast here in Osijek, Croatia.

Hungary will be the 10th country we have visited on this tour. As we travelled northwards through Croatia to the Udvar border crossing, we need to spend our last bit of cash – 225 kuna’s before entering Hungary, so we will top up our LPG refillable system and buy diesel with the remaining kuna’s in Croatia. Continue reading

Hot, hot, hot!!!

Tuesday 12th June 2018

Dave posting,

Blinking eck, Cathy is up at 6am, it’s really cool and almost acceptable for us Brits! After Mrs E has drank her obligatory second cup of tea and plotting our route we quietly, ever so quietly left the free fortress car park and our friends, Jeanne & Tai, until next guys bye for now!

Osijek in Croatia is our destination; an hour later and we are at another border crossing at Backa Palanka, Serbia, although this time it was very straightforward with no waiting or problems. On the other side of the bridge we turned right and headed to the Hotel Danav near Ilok for a break. This part of north-east Croatia is surrounded by Serbia on three sides. We are so close to the border that our phones don’t recognise we are in a different country, which is a shame as our mobile contracts allow data useage in Croatia.

We rest here for a while, it’s very hot today. I suggest a coffee in the shade, hopefully there might be a breeze off the river and maybe we could take advantage of the hotels free wi-fi, well why not? loaded up with all our electronic devices we find a table and chairs with a view of the river and a power point! I did ask before plugging ourselves in! Two coffees and two glasses of water arrive and we read, write and research. The hours slip by and we become peckish, let’s have lunch here, it’s a pleasant spot, not busy and we can justify the cost as we intend to free camp here tonight.

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Free car park at the side of the Danube, Ilok, Croatia

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Looking at the border bridge and Serbia

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Coffee break i n the shade but it’s still 29c

We decide to move on and not stay here, nothing wrong with the location, we just wanted to get to Osijek, we set off at 3pm, maybe it was a mistake not to stay here, we are driving in to the sun and the heat intensifies as we travelled, Cathy was melting, we can’t believe it’s 37 in the van, the air con can’t cope, the air outside is hotter than inside, so there’s no point opening any windows. We pull over for fuel and a chilled drink from the garage, Cathy is not feeling well and we needed to stop. We can’t contain our excitement at spotting a LIDL, another reason to stop, shop and cool down! we love Lidl!

hot

In the cab, how hot is it ??? unbelievable!!!

The forecast is 95-99% humidity, we are eager to get to Osijek, get out of our very hot van, set up camp & cool down at another free spot by the river. The car park is huge, it’s almost deserted, no signs about payment or restrictions, park where you want kind of thing, there’s plenty of grassy areas, it’s part tarmac, part cobbles, level and thankfully there’s lots of shade from the large number of trees.

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Osijek parking

Now it’s 10pm and it is still hot at 28 at this time of night! it is such a still evening. We are tired, a little frazzled and we can’t be bothered to eat, so we lie down on the bed and try to relax in the heat. The nearby fairground is pumping out music in to the still night. We are restless, suddenly at midnight the wind appears from nowhere blowing cool air through the trees, we lie there with the windows fully open enjoying the coolness, it feels so much better now! A storm quickly follows and as the temperature drops we fall asleep.

Bye

Dave

 

Big hand, little hand, Novi Sad, Serbia

Saturday 9th June 2018

We left Belgrade last night and headed for Novi Sad, our chosen camp was Coffee Kamp 75 kms away and we didn’t mind driving this late or in the heat as we figured with the windows open we would be better off than sitting in a hot van at the RV Centre, the air con isn’t doing much good at the moment either, when we arrived at the camp it was about 9 .10 pm, there were electronic gates with an instruction to call a number, We tried and an automated voice in Serbian spoke to us, we considered parking outside the gates but I didn’t want the owner charging us €20 at 7.am when he opened up so we moved on, finally nearer to Novi Sad I spotted a huge store next to the river much like a Costco and there were delivery lorries parked up, we drove down to it and decided it was ok for an overnighter, it was late and we just needed to go to bed, this morning we called ahead to Farma 47, luckily Dave’s phone worked this time, the lady spoke good English and told us her husband would be there to open the gate.

On arrival we were greeted to the sight of a lovely orchard and the owner explained that the trees were quince, he showed us into a homely undercover area and took us into the campers’ kitchen which was huge, cooker, sink, microwave, draught beer on tap! Just write down what you’ve had in his little book, Dave is impressed, we try it and it’s lovely and cold too! Oh, dear this could get dangerous!

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Farma 47, help yourself to draft beer

We have a little chat to the guy using google translate and his bit of English, I tell him we are going into Novi Sad this evening as it’s cooled down and he arranges a taxi for us at 4pm and to bring us back at 9 pm, he calls his wife for her to translate it to us, he says €10 each way but she doesn’t agree, it’s approx. 12 kms, oh well we will wait and see what happens. Taxi arrives on the dot at 4pm and when he drops us at the theatre square he says that it’s €10 as agreed with Farma 47 man!

We wait outside the National Theatre for a free walking tour of the city, meeting up with our guide Jovana and a guy called Nishant from Malmo in Sweden who is also taking the tour, it was a lovely evening spent walking around the city and hearing the stories of Novi Sad, the city is small and calm with a youthful vibe mostly because it’s children’s festival week, held in June & December and there are little ones everywhere, music is playing and there is laughter everywhere. It feels homely, Jovana was a good guide not rushing and allowing us all to chat too, it’s nice like that when the group is small, there are some beautiful buildings of pastel colours, little alleyways with cafes and restaurants and cool courtyards.

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Childrens festival Novi Sad

The children’s festival is named Zmaj after Serbia’s most famous poet and writer Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj (1833-1904) although a physician by profession he is best known for his children’s poetry, and today his nursey rhymes are sang all over Serbia. There is a statue to commemorate Zmaj in Novi Sad centre outside the Bishops Palace.

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Bishops Palace and Zmaj statue, the childrens poet

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street art

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makes a drab corner interesting
The tour ended at a statue on the Danube overlooking the fortress high up on the hill in the old town, the statue was to commemorate the 1,250 sent to their deaths under a fascist Hungarian occupation in 1942, several hundred citizens were shot and many interred in concentration camps, many evicted from the town and made to cross the frozen river, they never made it across falling through to an icy death.
Jovana told us about the clock, on the tower of the hill, it has it’s fingers the wrong way around, big hand for hours and small hand for minutes. This was to help the fishermen and sailors on the river to see the hour from a great distance.
Jovana had recommended several eating places and one of them Dave could not resist, chips and cheese in the Irish Pub! Jovana says there is a lovely courtyard and to ask for the local home-made chips and not the Nachos.

[caption id="attachment_2171" align="aligncenter" width="450"]chips mmmm, needs no explanation!

We had time to spare for our 9 pm taxi so we strolled around leisurely, we sat and had a glass of red wine and it came chilled, I’m not complaining anything cool in this weather is ok with me.

The next day was spent blogging and chilling out, the farm has goats and sheep, and a few came to visit Dave whilst he was working, they ate all the plants in the pot too until they were herded away by the gardener, Dave enjoyed a draught beer or too!

We have arranged to meet Jeanne and Tai again tomorrow in Novi Sad, they’ve decided to come here for a visit as it’s not far from Belgrade before heading Southwards on their adventure.

Later that evening the lady comes to collect the rent, she will not be here tomorrow, and we can make our own way out, whilst she’s chatting she tells us they do not have mosquitos here but we know they have lots of flies, normally I hate flies but these are preferable to the bitey mozzies!

Goodnight,

Cathy