Zubel checking in for the first time this Dumball. So far Wifi access has been a bit sparse, so I’m taking the opportunity to blog whilst I can.
The story so far…
We’re now on what feels like our fourth week of Dumballing, although by the Dumball calendar we’ve just finished day 5.
Our run to Zurich on the second day was loooong, and fairly uneventful. We took the opportunity to cover a bit of road that we covered in the ’08 Dumball again which led us into a traffic jam, and we ended up at the hotel around 10.30pm. Following a quick change of clothes, we head out to the Australian bar for a few beers, and then passed out from exhaustion in the small, yet perfectly formed hotel.
Day 3 was another very long day, heading down to Rijeka in Croatia. It started pretty badly, with Smalley’s car dying in the car park of the start hotel (that was the second car death for the Black squadron), so the remaining three Black squadron cars joined our Pink squadron to create “Blink Squadron” and we convoyed as a group of 9 cars. The scenery was awesome as we took in the Swiss and Austrian mountains (found an amazing restaurant that had an impromptu barbecue for us with the most beautiful panoramic view I have ever seen), then turned south into Slovenia and Croatia. We stopped a few times, and again ended up late getting into the hotel. Total mileage so far, around 1,100. The hotel was a little odd, but the beer was €1.50 a bottle and we sank a few. Some people headed off into town to the “club”, but I was knackered after the long day so decided (again!) to hit the sack.
Day 4. The Epic journey to Budva. A slow start, and we covered about half the distance by 5pm. We ploughed on and eventually made our way to Budva. Then through Budva.. then 15km the other side of Budva. After wrestling control of the sat-nav from Smalley, we turned around, beaded back into Budva and found our hotel at 1.30am.
Well….. what can I say. It reminded me immediately of “Hi-de-hi”. The place was a little, uhm.. dated. It looked like they had reopened the hotel in the morning we arrived and half of it was condemned. We were convinced that there was a cure for cancer in the shower tray and the food was interesting. However, the most important thing was that beer was bloody cheap, so we drank into the wee small hours of the morning and then passed out again in bed. (see the pattern forming yet).
Now, I must stop briefly and apologise for the short summaries of days so far. As I mentioned at the start, this now feels like the fourth week of Dumball, and there has been so much happening that a lot of it has passed without me remembering (and without me being able to catalogue it on the blog). However, now I shall launch into Day 5 – the epic journey from Budva to Pristina in Kosovo.
The day started well. We came down to the car park to the Spirit of Austerity’s car firmly planted on it’s side. Breakfast was “interesting”, in Croatian style and we weren’t allowed to get our passports back from reception until the bill had been paid. In true Dumball style, we partied in the glorious sunshine in the car park until all the wrinkles had been smoothed out, then we returned the Spirit’s car to four wheel heaven and headed off.
To start with, the drive was fairly easy although the cars were struggling a little with the mountain climb. I spent some time hanging out of the rear window enjoying the sunshine (yes, I’m sunburnt) whilst we played gentle dodgems with the “Blows the doors off” team. (thanks for the whiplash, beyatches..) After a small detour, (we all make mistakes….) we finally found our feet and headed out to the infamous Kosovan border – all the while the locals were marvelling at the amazing Space Shuttle of the “Lunartics” (man, that craft has some sweet work done on it – just between you and me, it gets my vote).
So, the border worked pretty much as all the borders worked in ’08. You arrive, you purchase insurance for an absolute extortionate amount (€40 in this case). You then behave yourself as you pass through the border, pray a little, hope that no-one notices that the V5 is in the name of someone who isn’t in your party, and also hope that the fact your front bumper is held on entirely by gaffer tape. (Thanks Knights – please remember you have a tow bar before reversing into the front of us :P), and the number plate is gaffer-taped to the bonnet. Despite all that, they let us through, and after a brief stop to distribute some “Everclear” (look it up – it’s very alcoholic), we proceeded on into Kosovo.
Wow, the road was actually really nice. The locals very friendly and accommodating. We’re making really good time to get to Pristina. Then we hit the “Roadworks”.
Now, I can appreciate that flinging up infrastructure is a tricky business. However, the last 30km to Pristina are effectively a gravel rally track, around 50m wide, with lanes defined by the current flow of traffic, luck, and collision avoidance.
It was frickin AWESOME
Then we pull up at the Grand Hotel Pristina, which was the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. They have wifi, hot running water, electricity and a bar. Tonight’s plan is to eat here in the hotel first, (I believe that we have an announcement at 22.00, and I’m not privy to what’s being announced so that could also be interesting) then we’re heading out to town to celebrate the fact that we got here without being blown up by a land mine!
So, I’m showered for the first time in four days.. I have wifi.. A beer in my hand.. and I’m blogging. I feel human again and am looking forward to the next four weeks of Dumball.
Sorry for the lack of pictures. I’ll figure something out..