Saturday 10th July to Sunday 11th July
Saturday 10th July
Carried our journey onwards and upwards, sadly leaving behind cheap and interesting Bulgaria. The country had a last final showing for us though. We arrived in Belogradchik along a road with craggy red rock peaks of hills and headed off to find the fortress.
The Kaleto Fortress is propped up between the jagged peaks, the site itself and the views of the landscape around were stunning and well worth the visit.
We decided to have a look around for another spot to park in Bulgaria, to spend one last night here. But this wasn’t to be, as we couldn’t find anywhere suitable. We ended up deciding to head to a campsite over the border and into Serbia. The border guards in Serbia completely destroyed our happiness and brought us into Serbia with tainted views of how this country would span out! They seemed to take a disliking for us when we pulled up and they were just plain moody and authoritative! We handed over our papers and documents and waited. After a bit they came in and got us to systematically get all the bits out from the cupboards. Then when they were bored of that and the fact of not finding anything, they got me to empty out all my pockets. They then took Lorna outside for a female officer to give her a quick check over! As they were unhappy at not finding anything, we sat waiting around again! I suppose through all the borders we have been through, it was only a matter of time till we had a proper search! It’s just the way it was done, we felt like just turning around and heading away from the country! After we had put our things back away and waited some more, we finally got our documents back and stamped and abruptly told to go! They had put us in a right stinking mood, but the countryside seemed nice!
As soon as we were coming out of the first town, the police pulled us over to them! The officer’s took a while coming over and we were just thinking “what now!”, How bad is this country going to be?! He immediately started talking at us in Serbian, of course we had no clue what he was saying. So we asked in Serbian if he spoke English, his colleague then came over and asked us in broken English, where we were from and what the problem was?! Problem? We were fine you just pulled us over!?! We didn’t say that mind! We said “we were fine and just heading to the town of Bar”. So they eagerly and helpfully pointed us in the direction, we were already heading before being pulled over! And waved us off! We left feeling rather baffled by the encounter and Serbia so far. Nearer the campsite just leaving the town of Bar, we were pulled over again by the Police! This was either not turning out to be our day or this would happen throughout this country! A first Policeman came to the window demanding something! Again we asked if he spoke English, to which he turned around calling his colleague over and I’m sure laughing about us with someone else who was standing there! The other officer came over and with a lovely English accent said “Good afternoon, how can I help you?” Again we just wanted to say you pulled us over! Why? What did you want!? Not what do we want?? He very friendly then told us how to get to the campsite! This country is messing with our heads! Horrible Border officers and now police pulling us down to give us directions! Is the place friendly or unfriendly!?!
We headed off in search of the campsite, but ended up taking a wrong turn so drove for miles the wrong way! Eventually we found the campsite by the lake outside of Bar, but stupidly we didn’t actually have any money on us! The campsite was pretty basic and mostly just static caravans, but the staff were very friendly. They said we could sort the money out in the morning rather than us heading off now, as it was getting dark. So we settled down for the night with thoughts of mean border officers but so far nice friendly people, even the police who pull us over!
Sunday 11th July
We left the campsite in the morning with one of the staff, so he could go and register us at the Police station and we could get some Serbian currency out and pay them. Another thing about Serbia is the fact that we have to register with the Police when we move to a different location in the country! A lot of other countries have been the same, but the campsites register for you.
We carried on our journey in the direction of Belgrade, trying to find a campsite we had on a photocopied terrible tourist map! This proved very difficult and in fact took most of the day, as on the map all we had was a tent symbol in-between two towns. We searched around the one town and asked, but no one really knew of a campsite. We then headed off towards the other town and had to ask at a garage, they did know and wrote down rough directions. We set off and tried to follow them but ended up going miles and miles in the wrong direction. Eventually we turned back and found a small road we should have taken, so continued our search. We ended up driving through fields of marshland down a small road. We were about to turn around and head back, when we spotted the campsite.
The site was actually a place for private static motorhomes, but was on Serbia’s camping website! We got into a confusing conversation about the price though, as we didn’t speak Serbian and he didn’t speak English, turns out it was free! This knocked us back a little, as driving around trying to find the place we’d felt like giving up with the country altogether! Turns out the Serbian people are very friendly, we just weren’t getting on with the country itself. From the beautiful rolling hills we came into first of all, the countryside was now very flat, with field upon fields of crops. Not only that we were spending all of the time on the roads stuck behind tractors! Still we settled down in the campsite for the rest of the day and night.