Yesterday I took a little drive with Reini to the border of Croatia. We had planned to drive at least 3 hours, and weren't very excited about that. The weather was really hot and humid, and Reini's air conditioner decided to poop out on us a week ago. Oh well, we said, for we needed to take the trip in order for me to be allowed to stay in Europe for another 3 months. The stamp in my passport from Croatia would be proof that I would be there for touristic reasons. I don't know if you'd call me a tourist of Austria, but if that's the way things must work here, well, then I guess I am, legally speaking.
We packed a bag full of sandwiches and brought a bottle of sparkling water with us. We didn't want to starve or die of thirst along the way. We filled the gas tank up to the brim (which most people here don't do because of the ridiculous prices for gas) and off we were, over the border to Slovenia from Austria, and further through the former Yugoslavian country until we passed the border from Slovenia to Croatia, also a
Reini looking really excited about everything
It was really fun for him to stick to the seats with sweat.
former Yugoslavian country but the difference being that it is not yet a part of the European Union.
From Spielfeld in southern Styria we passed into Slovenia, and because Slovenia has now been fully admitted into the EU, we didn't need to show identification. From the border town of Sentilj (over the 's' there is a hacek) we made our way on a Landstrasse to Maribor, and continuing on this road we passed through idyllic rural landscapes of farms and vinyards. Agriculturally speaking, this part of Slovenia isn't much different from Styria, but you noticed differences in road quality and upkeep of houses and buildings, not to mention road signs written in Slovenian.
About an hour and a half later we were pleasantly and genuinely suprised to find that we were at the border of Slovenia and Croatia. As soon as we crossed into Croatia we turned around, unlike the many Germans and Austrians who were also crossing the border for vacation. A German girl with a really big smile passed by us and waved to everyone she could.
On our way back we started feeling the pangs of hunger and decided to stop off in a
place called Ptuj. It was my idea because from a distance you could see a castle atop a hill and some red rooves nestled around it. Ptuj turned out to be really cute, and if you took away the signs in Slovenian, you might think you were in Austria or maybe even in Italy. The streets were narrow and the houses rustic but well kempt. Reini ate 500 grams of cow, and I ate a pretty darn good Quesadilla. We burped, and were on our way again to Maribor where we had planned to stay the night. Why not make a little vacation out of this necessary roadtrip?
Maribor was very nice. We found a hotel and were soon on our way to the city center, where we heard Slovenian folk music (apart from the language you would think you were at some kind of traditional Stadtfest in KÃ¶flach) and had a beer. After 15 minutes of being at this festival, we wondered why we were by far the youngest patrons. Looking around all you could see were people who were at least 60 years old. All of the sudden the band switched from folk music to the Beatles, and then to the Rolling Stones, and all of the sudden tipsy old ladies started shaking it and letting loose. Apart from this being a little strange, me and Reini enjoyed ourselves and another Pivo.
We talked to some old people there and they told us that this was a "Treffen" (many people there are multilingual) or "meeting up" of people who 40 years ago came to this very same spot to hang out and meet other people from the area. Maybe it's because Slovenia is pretty rural, but apparently all of these people were from around Maribor, farmers and country people alike. I thought it was a really cool idea. A day to commemorate the good old days and see all the people from your youth, only because this was the one place where people could meet other people.
The next day we were off and an hour later back home in Maria Lankowitz. It was a nice little trip and now I have a Croatian stamp in my passport.
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