Category: Southeastern Europe

I head to Romania to watch a football match. My team, the VfB Stuttgart, plays Unirea Urziceni. The stadium in Urziceni isn’t suited for international games so they play in the Steaua Stadium in Bucharest. The ticket is 6€ and the flight costs me 88€ which brings the total to 94€, the same as I end up paying for ticket (54€) and train to see the home game. We play badly and give away victory too easily. […]

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Dubrovnik is a cultural shock. A city of immense beauty but it is full of tourists. We wish ourselves back to Montenegro and Albania. But the tourists know why they are here, and they are right. We stay, for the first time on this trip, on an official campsite. It is dreadful. Yes, having toilets and showers is nice but everything else is a lot worse than pitching our tent somewhere in the beautiful nature. And it is pricey. […]

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Montenegro’s Coastline is short so I tell the story quickly. A nasty landfill on a slope leading right into the Mediterranean, unbelievable. The glamorous and beautiful island resort hotel of Sveti Stefan, unfortunately not open to casual visitors. Kotor fjord, the sea has cut deep into the land and the mountains rise high. A wonderful landscape you would rather expect in Norway than in Montenegro. Kotor is a beautiful city, we ride out the whole fjord with our bicycles. Moneywise it is convenient, Montenegro has piggy-backed on the Euro.

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You notice the bunkers immediately. Still in Macedonia, you peak over the border fence and you see the first follies in concrete. Enver Hoxha ruled Albania from 1944 to 1985 in a backward form of communism. The bunkers are the most visible symptom of his paranoia. In the first years after World War II relations with Yugoslavia were very close until a total break, mirroring the break between Tito and Stalin, occurred in 1948. This cut-off included closing Albania’s border to the west, north and east. That lasted until 1990. With Greece in the south Albania was technically still in a state of war anyway. […]

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The trip started in Greece (Thessaloniki) but about the only thing we did there was heading straight to Macedonia. No, wait a second, we also rode on something that resembled a highway more than anything else for about two kilometres and we were hit by a heat-wave. Temperatures are above 40°C and I pay for it with total exhaustion on the first day. We basically go from supermarket to supermarket; they are always cool and they have cool drinks. […]

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Mad Dash Home: Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary In the autumn of 2003, I took a three-month trip travelling back to Germany from Hong Kong overland via mainland China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Azerbaijan and Georgia. In mid-December, I had only reached Georgia and had to make a decision how to get back in […]

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