Monday, August 27, 2007

I made it to Novi Sad and I am settled in a cozy communist apartment with two old ladies and another American student. I still suck at Serbian, that hasn't changed, but hopefully it will.

Friday, August 24, 2007


I still have a cough, which gets really bad at night. Going to make taking a night bus to Beograd reaaaaally fun. Not. Apparently there is no such thing as good cough syrup in Eastern Europe. I havetried two different ones and niether does anything to either help me sleep or stop coughing. I really miss the stuff wth codine I got at the student health center. I would even settle for some Robitussin.


Here I am, at least for today. Trying to figure out how to get to Novi Sad on Sunday morning, it seems pretty complicated. Anyway. The bridge is nice. I hope my points won't be so succienct from Novi Sad.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Quick update

In Sarajevo... it happens to be film festival time, which makes things interesting. More later. Just a few more days till I settle in Novi Sad.

Monday, August 20, 2007

I survived and made it to Sighisoara... about to embark on a crazy tour for my last few days of travelling... no exactly sure where I will go, but first we are heading to Sarajevo via Belgrade.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I do not cough for my own amusement

Today I went to the hospital. I know that sounds rather drastic but when I asked the lady at the hotel desk about a doctor she sent me there. I was pretty nervous about going to urgent care because it was always a disaster when i went there with mom, but it wasn't bad at all. Mostly just a few old ladies with nosebleeds. There were very kind and saw me right away, shuffling me back and forth listening to me and taking x-rays to make sure I didn't have pneumonia, then the doctor wrote out pages long list of prescriptions. It cost about $60 to get them all but one that the pharmacy didn't have, but I can't really complain because the visit didn't cost anything. I suppose I might get sent a bill later, a Brit told me that happened to him once after a hospital stay in France ( he never paid it) but it seems unlikely, they didn't take my address or anything, just where was I from and did I have insurance. When I expressed concern about this to the hotel lady she said it was free of charge. I know that most EU countries have reciprocal health care agreements but I explained I wasn't from an EU country. "So what?" she said. "It's urgent care." As easy as that, even in one of the poorest countries in Europe. I didn't even have to bribe the doctor with coffee like Susie did. The hospital was old-fashioned, with a few concessions to modernity, but not too many. The x-ray machine was almost like an amusement park ride. I had to stand on it and it moved around. I kept thinking it was what one of my war hospitals might look like, minus all the casualties of course.

I have read a ton of books. I finished a chick lit and The Professor, and today devoured the whole of The History of Love, which was great. But I am tired of laying in bed reading and I am ready to be better! I am going to Sighisoara tomorrow if it kills me!

10 points to the first person to place the title quote. No cheating.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Bitten by a vampire?

Anyone who has been feeling jealous of me can stop now and start feeling pity! I'm come down with an awful bug and I am stuck in Bucharest paying my daily budget for a cheap hotel room so I can rest in peace and quiet and not spend my germs to a hostel full of people. Plus Bucharest is surprisingly overbooked, go figure. I'll tell the whole story (its not very exciting but it does involve getting a ride from policemen) some other time when I am not feeling so sick from spending half an hour in an internet cafe trying to sort out my bank accounts. Who know so many things could go wrong at once! Probably my own fault for being so unprepared.

It is no fun being sick on holiday. There are no such things as make being sick bearable and even somewhat pleasant: no big comfy bed, no kitties, no new Nora Roberts books, no friends to coerce into bringing me jamba juice--in face, no jamba juice. True, Ben did bring me juice and water and crackers last night, but he's gone on to Brasov today, sick of expensive Bucharest and no place to stay anyway. I'm hoping to feel well enough to join him there tomorrow but I'm not holding my breath. I suppose its my own fault for not eating enough veggies, drinking enough water, taking my vitamins more regularly. No one could eve accuse me of not sleeping enough but I have had my share of long nights. It looks like I'll be taking it pretty easy for the rest of my trip. So much for a frantic vampire hunt!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bulgaria photos

Romanian holiday

Playing it by ear does not necessarily mean being disorganized and unprepared, but unfortunately, when you're me, it often does. I woke up this morning in Bucharest thinking, "what was the name of the hostel I booked at?" There were some brits on the train who were heading to one that sounded vaguely like it might be where I am meeting my friend Ben, but I couldn't be sure. I had no idea where the train station was in relation to the town, or even what train station I was at, or what Bucharest had to offer. Thank goodness for lonely planet. I settled down for a muffin in the train station, after finding the only working bankomat, and had a read, deciding to head to an internet cafe in the center and hopefully be able to walk to the hostel. I'm a bit farther than I thought I would be but I think it will be a nice walk.

The train journey was the most comfortable I've been on all trip. I had my own compartment (empty except for me) and a sleeper, and my friends from the hostel a few doors down to chat with before we went to sleep and while we were all waiting at the border. It's nice to be American in a way, because even though they looked at your passport with jaundiced eyes, scan it and write down your number and ask you lots of questions and look at you suspicously as though you might be coming to Romania to live off the state!, at least you always get a stamp whereas those with EU passports have to ask if they are trying to collect them, and sometimes are denied. I am actually running out of room in my passport and will have to get more pages before another big trip. The guy at the Bulgarian side stamped over my (very faint) Croatian stamp which I wasn't too happy about. I only have one because for some reason passport control in Istria was very lax and I went through 5 borders without my passport really being looked at. I only have one at all because I ended up in Zagreb unexpectedly when I didn't know which route my train from Ljubljana was taking.

I haven't decided about Bucharest yet. It seems nice in the center but you can never tell with first impressions. After 2 hours in Sofia I was ready to leave that day but it turned out to be all right. That's the curse of capital cities, I think, and Bucharest more than any other I have noticed. Most people say its total crap and not to bother, but one or two have loved it so much they say to stay for 5 days. Well, I'm not going to stay for 5 days but I wanted to decide for myself. In this I think it is a matter of personal taste. I could have done without Sofia; but on the other hand I have never heaard a good word spoken about Skopje and it was one of my favorite places I visited last summer, I think I was there for 3 or 4 days when most would say it isn't worth 2 hours.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Traveler's lament

I arrived in Varna and managed to survive my first two days here against all odds, not least my own stupidity. I was literally no where near internet so I hope no one was worried. I am staying in Varna for two more days, relaxing on the beach gobbling up novels and catching up on my journaling, then I am heading off to Bucharest to meet an old traveling buddy. We have vaguely formed plans of a vampire hunting trip but who knows where we will end up.

In about two weeks I am due in Novi Sad. I will be happy to be there but its disappointing how quickly these months have gone and my traveling time has dwindled down... plus I am terrified of immersing myself in the difficult Serbian langauge again. Hopefully I will better prepared to deal with it this time. So in about 6 or 7 weeks I will be back in London with my nose to the grind. How quickly this summer is going!

It occurs to me how dull my weblog is vis-a-vis the exciting things I am actually doing. Only because if I had more time for exciting weblog entries I would have less time for doing exciting things. So I've decided to use downtime in Novi Sad to put up a more complete narrative of my exciting travels, based on journal entries. Hopefully I will actually do this.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Ode to a small balkan nation

Finally I have found the cheap, easy, interesting holiday I have been looking for. I love Bulgaria. The land is beautiful, the people are friendly, the prices are cheaper than one could possibly hope for. Thank goodness. I may stay here a while.

Pictures update

I hope these liunks work better than the last ones. I am in a place callled Veliko Tarnovo in the middle of Bulgaria. It's very beautiful and I am staying a few days to relax and catch up on my sleep.


Tuesday, August 7, 2007


I made it save to Sofia. Actually the train ride was not so bad; I slept through most of it. We ended up going through the whole of Serbia, which explains why it was 2 hours later.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Hello, sorry for dropping of the face of the earth, I realised yesterday that I hadn't posted in a while which is bound to make the worriers worry. Unfortunatley an irrespressable wave of laziness overcame me here in Budapest... I have done little but sleep half the day, go to the thermal baths, and yesterday I stirred myself enough to take a cheesy hop on hop off tour bus and visit the Terror Museum. Tonight I am leaving on a train at midnight for Sofia (Bulgaria) and I arrive at 6 PM tomorrow. That should be fun!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Funicular funicula funiculi!!

I feel like anything I can say about Slovenia will never really describe it as well as pictures can, so I will put some up as soon as possible. The cave was really amazing, and yesterday I spent the day at Bled, which is at the foot of the alps, and it was just perfect. I went with a girl from the hostel and we rode bikes around the lake, rowed in a boat to the little island on the lake and got out to ring the church bell for a wish. I wont say what I wished but it was rather a lot to ask! A girl in my dorm asked if it has come true yet but I said I thought I had better give it longer than a day! WE ate lunch in the boat on the way back. While riding the bikes I spied something on the opposite hill that looked like a great deal of fun. Upon further inquiry we learned that it was a track upon which one could descend the hill in a very rapid manner, contained in a bobsled-like contracption. That seemed like a good idea to me so off we went to the 'funbob'. It was soo cool! Then it was nap and sunbathing time on the lakes beach, and then up to a cool antional park gorge type place where we walked along the side of the river through the gorge for a few miles. All in all in was a pretty perfect day.

Today is the first day I have spent the whole time in Ljubljana... Its a reallly lovely city, cafes everwhere, the embankment is particularily charming. I have been up to the castle in a funicular (which I have never heard of until Slovenia, much less ridden in, but here I have done two, one also at the cave--my lazyness declares it an excellent invention.) and shopping for postcards. Anyhow, time to go, I hate being a computer hog at the free internet. Onto Budapest on the night train.