May 27, 2012 GMT

I hadn't expected to have enjoyed Hungary so much. People in general seemed very relaxed and friendly despite being the porest country I had so far visited. Or, possiably, it was the other way around.

I would often come across horse and carts which appeared to be the usual form of transport,Trabants were still alive and well, and most cars were at least 15 years old. Skoda, Yugos, FSOs, Ladas and those Zlathy things were the order of the day.

Hungary Bird nest.jpg
Huge crane like birds made their massive nests on telegraph poles...

On the road again, poor road conditions and poor standards of living rose as we left the touristy Lake Balaton area. I had to stop and stare at a huge crane like bird building an improbably large nest on top of a power line pole. It looked really funny.

Betty bounced her way through the rest of Hungary and we arrived at the border with Croatia. I stopped at a toilet just before leaving Hu and when I got to the exit the border guard told me those toilets were for someone else (I think). 'Sorry dude but I flushed it away' was only going to get me locked up in the Goulag, so I left Hungary with my tail between my legs.

Croatia was delighted to see me and I got my first passport stamp. 80kms of Croatia would see me into Bosnia. This part of Croatia seemed much more affluent than Hungary but I soon noticed some houses were abandoned.

More abandoned houses became apparent, some semi demolished. Some occupied houses had piles of bricks stacked up outside them.

Soon bullet marks were seen on some of the houses and others looked like they had been hit by much bigger ordnance. None of these houses were for sale. The owners were either dead or would never come back.

Cro house blown away.jpg
One of the many bombed/shot or burnt out houses in Lipik.

The whole thing was a bit creepy but as I rode through the oppulent town of Lipik, I was stunned by seeing large buildings shot to bits, next to beautifully ordered houses. It seems these reminders of a shameful past are to be ignored.

I was happy to get out of that part of Croatia. I qued up at Bosanska Gradiska and was soon pointed at by a border guard and told to overtake the entire half hour que. Privileges!!!

As soon as I told the Passport control dude that I had no Insurance, he consficated it and pointed to a booth where I could get it. OK... I left Betty with two cards of Policemen and went over to the booth. The booth was a storage area for fresh air and in the end I was dragged down a side street, by a really scary Serbian Arthur Daly, to a really dodgy looking place. I was exploring my options for doing a runner when I was taken into another horrid little room.

In the end, everything was cool, I got my 'lnsurance' document, but I wouldn,t call it a watertight deal! It was a little bit like Compare the Meerkat but with no free toy! Simples.

Bosnia developed some stunning mountains and gourges. Some quiet breathtaking scenery. Out of town speed limit is only 80kms, roads are awful and there is a policeman with a speed gun every 20km or so, so it was not fun riding.

It was beginning to rain heavily and after an hour of getting wet, I arrived at Jajce. I opted for Luxury and booked in to the finest hotel in town. 20 Euros was nothing compared to warmth, quiet and a few bevvies.

The incredible town of Jajce...

After a fantastic meal, I headed upstairs to read. Suddenly outside, there were cars reving, horns blaring, people screaming and shouting and in the hills, I'm sure I could hear gunfire. Fill the bath, its a revolution! Actually Bosnia and Hercegovina had won at football!

Posted by David Bailey at May 27, 2012 05:24 PM GMT

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