14. Apr, 2016

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SATURDAY 18-4-15

We woke to rain hitting the roof above our heads. After breakfast I managed to dump our 'grey' water down a nearby drain (we've yet to see any recognition of the needs of caravanners or motorhomers in these parts).

We hit the road again heading out East. We spent the day putting our hands in our pockets for fees and passport inspections by every man and his dog as we passed from Croatia in to Serbia.

There was a queue at the Serbian border. As we came close to the front we could see there was a caravan that had been stripped bare, it also had a 'GB' sticker in the back, and all the seating cushions were outside, leaning against the side of the caravan. Jesus I thought, which side did we back? These are Serbians. Didn't we militarily support the Croats against Slobodan Milosevic the mass murderer? Maybe this lot are just bad losers and its payback time. I was a little concerned that if they searched the vehicle they may find the safe. Luckily we were allowed through with minimum formalities. As we passed the caravan we could see a table loaded with items wrapped in bubble-wrap, probably discovered in the storage compartments under the beds. The owner and driver certainly didn’t look like respectable pensioners going off on holiday.

We are now getting used to the border crossing arrangements in this part of the world. Firstly you go through a tollbooth and pay somebody for the bit of road you've just used, then you get a couple of miles of freebie before hitting the exit border control, having cleared that you get about 500 yards of 'No Man's Land' in which the Truckers can pee with legal impunity, then comes Border Control for the country you're entering, passport formalities, then half a mile to another toll booth where you take a ticket to be screwed for another X number of miles on toll roads which lie ahead.

This being Saturday and it being about 15:00hrs progress through the centre of Belgrade was slow. Traffic was pretty much gridlocked as shoppers bought food for their donkeys and new elastic bands for the engines of their Lada cars.

We were often passing Lada 'Yugo's, which were mostly red and which I nicknamed 'Serbian Ferrari's'.

Tonight we are camped at a Garage-Cum-Small-TruckStop about 30 miles west of Novis. I thought we'd get cute. Having parked up out of sight away from the HGV's, and having had our evening meal we would buy a coffee in the cafe which had free Wi-Fi and make contact with the outside world. Serbian Wi-Fi equals no Wi-Fi, the price of two coffees wasted. And another thing - how did they manage to serve very cold froth over the top of Luke-warm coffee?

My personal chef and soul-mate seems to be making a slow improvement which is fortunate, as I was considering dropping her off at a local care home for the elderly so that I could crack on with the journey unhindered.

I am hoping that tomorrow we can cover the rest of the journey across the Turkish border to a campground where we'll get ourselves organised before entering Istanbul in the middle of the night to avoid the worst of the traffic.