Balkan Flare – day 1

This is day 1 but I only had time to upload it on day 3 since we didn’t have internet access until now…
It was the DAY at last. Despite the fact that we woke early we only left around 8.00 am as I waited for the kids to wake up so I can kiss them good bye. 
We crossed Budapest with almost no traffic and set off on the motorway towards Serbia. 


The border crossing was quite straightforward and we immediately realised we arrived in another part of the world. Don’t take me wrong. The roads in Hungary are awful but that was different. What they actually call highway is a disgrace. The tarmac is full of potholes and there are road kills all over the place since there is no fence cutting them from the traffic. We only stopped a couple of times to refuel the bikes and to have lunch. From Belgrade the road conditions got better. 


Less holes and better quality though you still have to concentrate on the road but I still feel it is ridiculous you have to pay to use this road. It should be the other way round. The good thing though is they accept Euro everywhere and you even get the change in the same currency so we didn’t need to bother with currency exchange. 


Once in Bulgaria (+1 hour time difference) we were told that roads are toll free for bikers which was great news. We arrived in Sofia in the evening and headed for the address I received from a fellow Horizons Unlimited contact and it was spot on. The roads in Sofia are worse than I expected. There are potholes the size of small fishing lakes. In the outskirts there are Gipsies burning wood and other things by the side of the road while children aged 2-3-4 play barefoot next to the ongoing traffic. The hostel was in the city centre. The receptionist came to greet us. She also brought a wrench that she handed over so we can fiddle with the screws that held the gate to the backyard where we could park the bikes. 


Within 10 minutes we were ready to try our luck and enter through the narrow passage. The bikes seemed safe in what looked like a backyard that hasn’t been used since the 50s. 



We took our gear to the room on the third floor and immediately hit the shower. Once changed into normal clothes we went looking for a place to eat. Not far off we found a grill / sports bar. As it was the Champions League final we sat in and enjoyed a great meal accompanied by local beer. We went to bed quite late to have a good night sleep.

Daily data:

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