Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mighty Hellas (24. - 28.07.2014)

After all this daily driving we stopped for two nights in Thessaloniki. Here they serve you always and immediately free water once your seated. We guessed this is so you don't die of thirst, as the service was always super slow. Waiting to order and to settle the bill seems to be common here. Who would have thought they don't employ enough waiters in a country with 25% unemployment rate...
After some party and snapping pictures we continued on to the island Thassos. In the tiny village of Pefkari was our first proper camping. Firing up the gasoline stove for the first time (without loosing eyebrows ^^), lying on our inflatable mattress (thanks to our east coast connections! ^^) and just chilling at the beach was our schedule. Most of the visitors where from Romania, Bulgaria or Serbia. We also didn't fit in age wise, old couples and families ;)
On the second night we discovered the neighbor town of Patos for some party. The locals we talked to didn't even know about Switzerland!?! O_o No not Sweden!
Hung over we took the ferry the day after back to the mainland and continued on to Istanbul.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Ohrid & Skopje, Macedonia (22. -23.07.2014)

Last Yugoslavian country on our list was Macedonia. We stayed for one night in Ohrid next to lake Ohrid, supposedly one of the oldest lakes in the world. A speciality of the region is baked eel. Sadly you have to order it in advance as it takes two to thee hours to prepare. The eels used to migrate from the lake to the Saragossa sea (next to the Caribbean), 6500km away! Nowadays there are too many hydroelectric dams blocking the river and they are stuck =/
We snapped pictures from the town and the castle overlooking the lake. They proudly fly their flag from every tower...
Next was the capital Skopje, where we had an entire hostel for ourselves :). Skopje is littered with statues, on every corner or plaza is a lion or dude on a podium. "Highlight" is a monstrous mix of a fountain, pillar and statue, including light and sound! o_O
The following day we left for Greece and where reminded that they do not approve of the name Macedonia. A big part of the antic Macedonia lies in Greece, they also have a region with the same name. At the border they had a sign "The sign MK is not recognized by Greece". Because of this opposition some maps have FYROM written next to Macedonia: Former Yugoslavian Republic Of Macedonia.

Status Update (July 28, 2014 at 04:45PM)

4 border huts later and we are in Turkey, country number 12! Propably gonna reach Istanbul tomorrow ;) @ 40.905438,26.376042

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Status Update (July 24, 2014 at 03:25PM)

We passed the 3000km mark before even reaching Greece :D @ 41.241252,22.489671

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Durrës & Tirana, Albania (20.-22.07.2014)

We left Montenegro by little overland streets and crossed into Albania. Once on the other side of the border the streets improved and we could cruise along. For lunch we stopped at a tiny restaurant where the owner was super delighted to have us as guests ;). He spoke Italian and we answered in Spanish ;) A big meal later we continued on.
A lot of people here seem to have worked just across the Adriatic sea, Durrës having a direct ferry connection to Italy. Also mostly they thought we were Italians on holidays...
Whereas the car of choice in Bosnia was the VW Golf it is Mercedes Benz limousines in Albania. All in all I would say one third of the cars we encountered on the street were Mercedes. And the rest other German manufacturers. We propably drive one of the shittiest car here o_O
Because of a lack of alternatives we decided to spend a night in Durrës before heading on to Tirana.
This beach town consists of a big port, some crappy beaches and ugly concrete buildings. On the other hand we visited the ancient Roman amphitheater in the middle of the city and had a drink on top of the old Venetian tower.
We stayed at Nais Hotel, at least that was where Rainer made the reservation. Guided by the Bing Map on my phone we ended up at the Nais Beach Hotel, which we didn't realize. When Rainer asked if they had a reservation for us the guy at the reception answered eagerly in broken English: Yes Yes! A trip to the beach and a shower later we got told they had no reservation for us and we were in the wrong hotel ;). We visited the proper Hotel Nais and tried to resolve the issue, but the reception girl spoke so badly English she couldn't grasp our problem and kept asking if we wanted to see the room ;D. A lot of talk later we managed to split the costs off one night over both hotels, as they belong to the same family... ;)
Next stop was the capital Tirana. We arrived in the middle of the day, the heat was ruthless... In the evening the temperatures dropped enough to explore the city. We visited the main square, saw the Albanian Fried Chicken and strolled through the party & bar district. 
The following day Genti & I continued on to Mazedonia whereas Rainer stayed for one more night before flying home.

Fun facts: 
  • Seeing 151'000€ cars in a country with an average monthly income of 380€
  • On our entire way through Albania we counted at least 12 abandoned gas stations... O_o. 
  • We saw six weddings in one day
  • Some times they add an additional zero to the numbers/bill (has to do with the old currency...)

Monday, July 21, 2014

SeaDance (15.-20.07.2014)

This year the Exit came in form of the Exit Adventure, including the SeaDance festival near Budva, Montenegro. The line-up was mediocre at best and the organization totally unprepared. When we arrived most of the drink stalls weren't opened and the area not entirely fenced in. The film stage had to use a delivery van as canvas o_O. We managed to walk out of the festival and were told at the entrance we're only allowed one admission a day (but they let us in anyway).
Headliner of the first night was Jamiroquai: some dude jumping around on the main stage in the local outfit, a track suit ;). We visited the Dance and the Latino stage situated at the beach, but the atmosphere wasn't really the best. Genti blames this on the served Tuborg beer ;)
The following day we went into town and visited the old part of Budva. The little alleys and plazas were a nice contrast to the ugly concrete buildings lining the beach. We visited the local dive shop and made an appointment for the following Friday (afternoon ^^).
On the second night Example should have been the highlight, but delivered a boring performance. Luckily Eddy Temple-Morrison saved the night!
A relaxing day pool side later we headed for the third and final night to Jaz beach. We emptied our debit-drinking-cards and left, without seeing the main act Underworld ;)
On Friday Genti visited Budva while the rest went for a dive. As expected of the Mediterranean sea there wasn't much to see. Also our guide caught an octopus and squeezed him to make it blow ink and cracked some sea urchins to attract and feed fish. Not so nice...
As Winston was flying home from Podgorica (formerly known as Titograd) we drove to the capital of Montenegro for a night. After visiting the Millenium bridge and Mall of Montenegro we had seen all the attractions of the city ;). Some cheap wine, drinks, beers and a short night later we drove to the tiny airport where we dropped off Winston and the remaining three continued on to Albania.

PS: Fun fact: Montenegro uses the €uro unilaterally (without having an agreement with EU ^^)

Lo-Fi Cruising in Bosnia

A little teaser of our trip through former Yugoslavia.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Through Bosnia-Herzegovina (14.-15.07.2014)

The second part of The Exit Adventure, SeaDance, took place near Budva in Montenegro. To get there we needed to cross through Bosnia-Herzegovina. We did split this almost ten hours journey into two by staying a night in Sarajevo. But to reach the city you have to drive into this country which seems to be all hills, mountains and no motor ways.
Ah, we had our first lovely encounter with the police at the border leaving Serbia. They stopped us and made empty the car. Then they searched my entire bag, opening every little zipper. The guy searching our car even smelled at the construction glue, with which we glue gadgets to our car... Obbviously they didn't find anything and we could leave, without even looking into our cooler... O_o
Finally out of Serbia the amount of abandoned gas station increased even more. (Why? Don't they need gasoline here?) Also other neglected buildings lined the streets. We even found a destroyed skiing lift...
The night in Sarajevo was uneventfull as all of us where quite tired after the long ride following four days of party.
The second day continued as the first had ended: forested hills followed by wide empty spaces. At an abandoned hotel we stopped for a photo shoot, finally using the party fireworks we had bought way back in Austria. For the video you will have to wait till I'm back at my Mac.
When we reached the coast in Montenegro we were glad this long ride was over. Four people in our tiny car is a bit cramped...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

State of Exit

After a healthy breakfast of bacon and eggs we continued on to Slovenia. In Maribor we stayed at the same place like last time on our Vespa trip through former Yugoslavia.
Next country on the list was Croatia. Which we reached early in the afternoon and could go for a swim in the nearby Jarun lake. A stroll through the old part including some pivos (beers) and a meal later we returned to our hostel in a former office building.
To reach Belgrade in time to pick up Rainer we took the autoput (motor way) all the way to the Serbian capital. Here we stayed for two nights: Pasquals 4th, my 3rd and Rainers 2nd time here ;)
On thursday morning we packed our bags and headed to Novi Sad for the Exit festival. 
A bit later Aed and Patrick joined us and the Exit crew was complete. The following days all blend together: Mojito in town, music at the fortress, party till the wee hours of the morning and directly to the breakfast buffet before sleeping till the afternoon. 
This festival in the old Petrovaradin fortress attracts all kind of people from over 60 nations. Playing electronic, rock, raegge, salsa, punk, karaoke, folklore, world music and more. Sadly the festival wasn't what it used to be. A large part of the fortress was closed, they served Tuborg beer, had less stages and it rained! =\ Nevertheless we made the best of it ;) 
Worth mentioning was Pretty Ligths, We Love Machines, Yus Yus, Jaguar Skills and of course Skrillex. 
After four days it was over for Aed, we said goodbye to each other during breakfast and went to sleep. Around noon the four remaining squeezed into our mighty Opel and headed on to Sarajevo.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Patchy - 53

Another video from Patchy. Check them out on iTunes!

Monday, July 7, 2014

To the Urban Art Forms, Graz

We left Switzerland on the first of July and drove north to Konstanz to pick up the ship horn I ordered online ;) I will tell you more about it once we have it installed... 
From there we took the long and scenic route along the lake Constance all the way past Munich to Salzburg. There we checked out the old city and had some beers, no shortage of places to go out on a Tuesday, impressive! ;)
The following day we visited the fortress, including the Rainer Museum, overlooking the city. Even walked up instead of taking the funicular! ^^
Next stop was Steinach, which turned out to be wrong as we needed to go to Stainach. Luckily they were only 50km apart on our way to Graz. Once at the right place I bought a multi fuel stove and we kept on trucking. In Graz we stumbled across the old town and by accident bumped into the local CouchSurfing meeting! We exchanged phone numbers to meet at the Urban Art Forms festival and then headed on to a party for some Erasmus students till well past midnight, on a Wednesday. Nobody seems to work here... ;)
The next day we picked up some Candy and drove to the festival. We had a reservation for the TentHotel, rows and rows of installed tents where you only have to bring a sleeping bag. Looked a bit like a refugee camp but the location was immediately at the entrance to the main stage. Can definitely recommend this!
The next three days went by way to fast as we passed the nights with some awesome acts on stage and the days at the lovely Schwarzelsee. The lake was right at the campsite and you could borrow stand up paddling boards (free of charge) or just sit in the water and enjoy the sun.
On Sunday afternoon we met again with Lisa from Couchsurfing for a breakfast of bacon and eggs before dropping off Candy in Graz and continuing on to Maribor.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Patchy - Medicine

Patchy is Steff and his buddy making nice music! Check out the video to Medicine using the Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical Fantasy movie from 1976. All explicit scenes removed though ;)

Check them out on iTunes!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Status Update (July 02, 2014 at 07:00PM)

After a nigth and some beers in Salzburg we made it to Graz. On the way we bougth a stove in Stainach after stopping in Steinach first ;) @ 47.071201,15.441116