We reached the border between Slovenia and Croatia in the dead of night. Long lines of European tourists wishing to lounge on the Croatian coast of the Adriatic Sea stood at this checkpoint mere weeks ago. Today we have passed customs in a few minutes.
Mostly natives who left the country to seek better life in Germany or France come to Croatia now. Families travel together on old cars with European license plates. The scene is the same on all parking lots along the highway: tired tourists picnic right there on the roadside between daily waste and joyfully have breakfast in the open air.
Aside from that, Croatia is quite similar to most agrarian republics. Fields change into small woods that give way to more fields.
Croatia flew past us soon, and we came to the Serbian border by noon. We had to lose some time here: a large number of cars created quite a waiting line at the checkpoint. To do them justice, the customs officials do everything they can for the line not to grow but to shorten.
The local police stopped us as soon as we were in Serbia. But don’t worry, we weren’t breaking any traffic rules: they just saw Russian plates on our Volkswagen Tiguan 150 h.p. TSI and wanted to talk with Russian travelers. The officers were astonished to learn that our heading for Shanghai was not a joke. But they wished us a good trip and let us take a photo.
All in all we crossed Serbia without any particular adventures. Well, if you don’t count an elderly couple who were very displeased with us flying a drone near their house. We never managed to explain that we were filming the car, not their private property. We had no choice but to gather our things and relocate so as not to disturb these respectable people.
We reached the Bulgarian border towards the afternoon to see heavy traffic at the checkpoint that cost us another hour. We came to the capital when it was almost midnight. Despite it was already that late, representatives of VW Club Bulgaria, good friends of Rainer Zietlow, met us at the entrance to Sofia. We crossed the city accompanied by a procession of Volkswagen cars and, having said goodbye to them, started for the Turkish capital.
Author: Rodin Baranov