Tuesday, September 05, 2006

5th September 2006

Well, another blog, another country. This one comes to you from Zagreb, in Croatia, where we are enjoying another of our none-too-frequent days off. The sun is shining and the sky is blue, and all would be well if Andy and I hadn't just discovered, thanks to RAC Routeplanner, that there's still a ridiculous 1,600kms between us and Asia.

The satisfaction of reaching Croatia two days ago was countered by our disappointment at having to leave Slovenia. The week or so that we spent walking through it was nicely finished off by an early morning border crossing (with our first passport-check since Dover), following our descent through the hills seen photographed in fetching Sepia tones below.

On we raced into Croatia, where for some reason summer was back in full swing after our Slovenian autumn. As yet we have no real feel for the country as our experience has been restricted to the suburbs of Zagreb, which seem to stretch almost all the way to the border. But apart from the mildly worring Italian driving ethic, the people have all been friendly and curious (see photograph below, of a passing consultation from the Zagrebi Cartographic Society), and we've a good fortnight or so of countryside coming up in which to get a proper feel of the country before we're spat out at the other end into Serbia (oooooh- Serbia! Landmines!)

It's now less than 2 months until we aim to cross the bridge in Istanbul between Europe and Asia. Andy has now booked his flight to New York for the marathon on the 5th of November, so a definite end is in sight. A very curious feeling, he assures me. This means, importantly, that A DATE IS SET! On the 31st of october we will be hosting a bridge-side reception (BYOBoc*, dress code: rambling) with an open invitation to one and all (conditional on reciept of sponsorship by that date, dear friends). We already have a whole host of exciting people with flights booked, but as with all these things, the more the merrier.

*- of champagne please. No Cava.

And that concludes the news for today. We'll leave you with our fond farewells, and this current travel advice from our friends at the Foreign Office...

"...be careful not to stray from roads and paved areas without an experienced guide. If you are planning to travel outside the normal tourist resorts you should be aware that there are areas affected by the war, which ended in 1995, where unexploded mines remain. Areas include the Danube region (Eastern Slavonia) [which means, of course, the main walking route from London to Istanbul]. You should be wary about leaving cultivated land or marked paths."

Perhaps we should consider replacing our walking sticks with metal detectors??

Regards and thanks, as usual,

Paddy and Andy

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A 5,000km walk from London to Asia for the Red Cross www.andyward.me