Preparations

Mission I: Completed! Istanbul

So here we are!

 

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4500 km. 20 Days. 10 Countries. Lot of adventure and fun.

Cheers! 

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Serbia Part II: Belgrade, a city of contrast

Belgrade is so far one of my favorite cities.  It has something that remind me home a lot, contrast everywhere.

Massive Soviet style buildings,  Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman architecture mixed, 3 very recent wars destroyed pretty much everything and got rebuilt over and over.

Hotel Moscova

This is the Hotel Moscova, a fancy building in downtown. But just next to it we found these awesome grafitti

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At night is possible to find very cozy places to have dinner, or, a laud caffana to drink rakia (national spirit) and listen to turbo folk.

We went to a very cozy italian restaurant to fill our stomach with pasta and prepare ground for rakia

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The last day, I (nobody else wanted to come) went to the Nikola Tesla Museum, it’s quite small but very interesting and interactive. Here in the picture you will see two gringos playing with AC at a very high frequency travelling trough the skin.

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Serbia Part I: Novi Sad

We crossed Croatian and Serbian border quite late. Around 22 pm, direction Novi Sad.  A friend from Nastya was waiting for us in his parents rural house.

The way was bumpy as hell, only one side road, and only half of it paved. So, whenever two cars came in opposite directions, one had to go on the dirt road. Serbian Style!

Kittens

 

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What music do we play in the car?

Before departing, I spent my nights downloading a bunch of music. Since, I started using grooveshark.com, I don’t have any music in my hard drive. So, back to the old times. More over, my car plays mp3 from cd, so I have to do the good old mix tape style.

If you have any ideas how to combine this music, just let me know with a comment.

  • Amy Winehouse
  • Arctic Monkeys
  • Bad Religion
  • Beck
  • Black Sabbath
  • The Doors
  • Boy
  • Buena Vista Social Club
  • Chemical Brothers – 1997 – Dig Your Own Hole/
  • Cuarteto de Nos
  • Daft Punk
  • Depeche Mode
  • Fatboy Slim
  • Fela Kuti
  • Florence and The Machine
  • Franz Ferdinand
  • Green Day
  • Hollie Cook
  • Ivete Sangalo
  • Joe Arroyo
  • James Brown
  • Janis Joplin
  • John Coltrane
  • Jorge Ben
  • Jstar
  • Kind of Blue
  • Kings of Leon
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Megadeth
  • Menahan Street Band
  • Metallica
  • Metronomy
  • Miles Davis
  • Moby
  • Notorious BIG
  • OST_Pulp.Fiction.Collector’s.Edition.320kbps-iNSiDERZ/
  • Oasis
  • Pink Floyd
  • Primus
  • Queen
  • Queens of the Stone Age
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Los Redondos
  • Gilda
  • Ricardo Herz Trio – Aqui é o meu lá
  • Sex Pistols
  • The Beatles
  • The Black Keys
  • The Budos Band
  • The Rolling Stones
  • The Strokes – Comedown Machine
  • Tribalistas
  • Umberto
  • Django Unchained (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  • Weezer
  • The XX
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The city of dragons: Ljubljana

Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia for those who don’t know. About 40 minutes driving from Bled. We visited the first capital of our balkan trip. Ljubljana is a nice city, tiny, but very beautiful. It has a lot of bridges and It didn’t was much destroyed during the war.

The thing we liked the most were: the cafes along the river, and the dragons, as the symbol of the city.

To read more about Slavic Dragons, click here. I’m sorry but Wikipedia explains it better than me.

The pictures are below

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Bled, the perl of the Julian Alps

The Julian Alps are the part of the Alps situated in Slovenia. Bled is a tiny town, situated on the doorstep of Julian Alps. There is a nice lake, beautiful scenery, a few hostels, and some party gringos.

In the middle of the lake there is a little island, that can be reached by boat. We rented a small, heavy, wooden boat, and rowed to towards the island. In the island, there is a nice old baroque church and a museum. But the best, was to find a typical alpine wedding party. There was a typical band playing alpine music, some dances and very good weather.

Here come the pictures

 

Bled Lake  Wedding Party Boat

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Mitbabysittingelegenheit.de

Luxembourg, 6 September.

For those of you that still don’t know about car pooling, there is a web site for organising that stuff called mitfahrgelegenheit.de. It’s very popular among German speaking countries, but  there are french, czech, english versions among others.

As we started doing a 900 km leg from Luxembourg to Bled, it apparently was a good idea to take some passengers to spare some gas money and be more ecologic and so on.

So I posted the ad in all possible networks for car sharing and waited. After a week of receiving calls for potentials car poolers, I was already exhausted. The call was always like this.

  • -“Hello, I call you for the ad, to go from A to B, do you have place?”
  • -“Yes, it’s showed online”
  • -“Can you make a reservation?”
  • -“No, only online with credit card booking”
  • -“Ok, I see, thanks”

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The journey has almost begun

Luxembourg, 5 September.

Today, last working day before departing, we were supposed to get together and prepare all our stuff for the trip.

I say supposed because I got a call around 4 PM. Nastya has lost her flight to Lux. Next one is in two day.

Postponing the date again? No, It was impossible. I already had some car poolers, my vacation sheet was already signed by my  boss.

In the rush, we got a new ticket. This time, trough Poland. Not to Luxembourg but to Stuttgart. On the way, kinda.

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Our Valley

Hello!

Still many days before the official departure. Anyways, here is summer but scarce. Yesterday was a nice summer day with average of 27 C and sunny blue sky.

We headed north, where low hills but very steep and Our River form a nice valley. On top of one of the hills there is a medieval castle and a pretty old town.

It was a nice test to do with the not recently acquired car. A lot of lovely forest and loads of sunshine!

PS: One of us got a collarbone fracture, but this does not stop us for hitting the road!

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Do you speak…Backgammon?

One of the biggest challenge we will have to face this road trip is to overcome the language barrier. Within the Balkans more than 20 different languages coexist and there are at least 4 different families of languages widespread all around. This time there is no lingua franca to communicate all along the trip. We will be very naive if we think Russian and English would be enough to be able to make new friends and establish social relationships easily. Naturlich, we would not stay inside our own cultural bubble.

Nevertheless, keywords like hello, please, water or beer (depending on the country), thanks, cheers and bye are always a must. There are a lot of other non verbal communication methods we can employ but this time I’m talking about a “gaming” language.

Backgammon.  Mostly on Turkey but also in Albania, Montenegro, Macedonia and Bosnia people plays this game on bars, cafes, with friends or just random people. This time, playing backgammon will leverage our attempt to avoid the cultural barrier and make new friends.

We are already looking forward for our first game!!!

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