Edit Blog Post
Published: June 25th 2017
Geo: 48.45, 22.7167
Status: We wake early in our 1950's Soviet bedroom. Our hosts could not be more hospitable. They are from Russia and have lived here since 1970. It is effectively a semi-self-sufficient small holding but has all the creature comforts as well as pigs and chickens. (Sounds like home!).
We are treated to another hearty breakfast of omelette with pork crackling and some sort of goulash style egg fry up and gherkins. They seemed surprised I did not want any Vodka!
Mission: To venture further into "BORAT" territory and see various local food production including cheese making.
Viktor alert: Our room was separated from his by an unlocked door and curtain which I had reinforced with my suitcase. As soon as I saw him he looked tense and we had a convoluted discussion about the use of the bathroom.... only another day to go....
Problems start early: We set off at 0915 and immediately hit poblems. POTHOLES.....and I mean Helman Province IED style varieties made worse by total lack of repair for several years. It did not help that this minor rural road seemed to be a cut through for massive Serbian trucks taking a short cut to the Hungarian border.
Procedures for tackling
potholes - Viktor style: Huff, puff and tut frequently. In moments of confusion hum "Bbumm bbbummmm Bummm" repeatedly.
Clench and unclench hands on steering wheel, slow down, huff a bit then stop. Review the back wheel. Get back in "bbumm bbummmm bbbummm" reverse, go to the other side of the road as the "wrong side has 6" more smooth tarmac, drive another two or three feet, shake head and embark on a 3 or 4 or 5 or even 6 point turn. Get out map - repeat procedure as often as necessary - possibility of going into another country - ie Hungary or Slovakia or even Romania as this is border country.
Decision Time: By 1200hrs we had gone nowhere, seen only potholes and it was raining!! Viktor by this stage was unhelpful and uncommunicative about anything. I HAD HAD ENOUGH....On questioning it appeared that our home stay was in the mountains about 3 hours away. This would involve worse roads with far worse potholes, fog and dangerous un-protected mountain bends. NO THANKS so I instructed him to turn round and drive back to civilisation. This would involve a 6 hr drive but meant we would get rid of him and have 2 nights in a decent hotel before our 24 hour train journey to The Crimea. At once Viktor turned from a slightly scary extra from the "SHINING" into a dictatorial madman who had left his medication at home. No toilet stops seemed to be allowed and "lunch"was to be at 1700hrs. As a result, we had a major shouting match en route as Cathy put her foot down with him. All I can say is beware of an angry Cathy. Several calls to our Travel Agent en route eventually ensured we had accommodation for the night and Viktor deposited us outside the main entrance. Strangely enough he seemed his old self by this stage offering us personal sightseeing tour of the Old Town the next day. NO THANKS and we beat a thankful retreat into the lobby. We ain't finished with him yet....
We ate a thankful and joyous meal of pigs cheek and fried brains in the company of a young "Mafia Boss" who had just proposed to his girlfriend who looked like a bride on "Gypsy Wedding"!!! Lights out 2230. It had been a very long day........
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