Vinkovci, Croatia

Trip Start Jul 29, 2007
Trip End Sep 02, 2007

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Dear friends!
We have arrived in Croatia yesterday at around 11pm.
We left Constanta at around 6am Wednesday morning.  The drive to Bucharest was very good as they have a brand new freeway.  From there onwards the roads were not so good.  But all in all the way we took was ok and there were not too many vehicles on the roads.
Around 3pm we arrived at the Romanian border.  From then on that's where the drama started...
We had to cross the border by a ferry (Danube River) where we had to pay port fee and the ferry fee.  The view from the ferry was good.  After half an hour on the ferry we came to Bulgaria.  Here it took a while until everybody cleared but we got through ok.  Here we paid the road tax and a fee that we are passing through Bulgaria (that was pretty funny).  We had to drive for about 60km in Bulgaria until the Serbian border.  Bulgaria from what I saw from it was very similar to south Romania.
Serbian border (close to Zajecar) was ok - no troubles.  They had no road tax so we asked where do we pay for the freeway.  We got told that we'll just pay on the freeway.  So we went for about 50km and then entered the freeway which took us straight to Croatia.  The problem was that we were supposed to take a ticket at the entrance to the freeway (which 5 of the cars in front of us didn't take either) and we haven't seen any machine.  As a result we had to pay €56!!! For those of you who know me - you'll understand that I hate being charged more than I have to pay ;-)
Following this "little" incident we went past Beograd and towards the Croatian border (Sid).  It was finally my territory where I could talk and my wife and her parents would just listen. ;-)
At the Croatian border the guys were pretty friendly especially after I asked about a soccer game they were watching at the TV. :-)  After a little chat we were in Croatia and in about half an hour we were at my grandma's house in Vinkovci.
After the greetings and translations from Croatian to English to Romanian we went to bed at around 1am.  And me being me, I woke up at 7:30am and in the process I woke up Roxy too (not a good move :-) ).  Because everybody was asleep or half asleep I went out and started sorting 6m2 of fire wood in grandma's storage shed.  My father in law helped a lot too when he woke up.  Together we finished it quite quickly.  The only pause I had was breakfast (I think I earned it).
Following our "little job" we went to Vinkovci city centre (see photos).  It looked really nice and a lot of improvements to the city have been made.  We even saw a Quicksilver shop where there was a sale of 50% of all summer clothing and accessories (YEAH!!!). "My hubby forgot to add that he was again the "spoiled " one as only he bought a few t-shirts and a shirt".(Roxy insertion)  Among other things I also saw my old Music school when I used to play piano. 
In the afternoon we went to the village called Djeletovci - that's the village I grew up in.  We saw our house (or at least where it used to be before the war) but now everything is rebuilt.  I met my best friend from primary school and childhood, some relatives and we went to see my grandmother's grave (dads side).  She died a few months before I was born (1980). We also found plum trees nearby where we had a "snack". It was a "romantic" moment next to the cemetery.
After that we came back to grandma (mums side) had a good dinner and we are about to go to sleep. 
It was an interesting day today - bringing back many memories.  I even remembered how to get to my grandmas place in dark which I thought that was a pretty good effort. ;-) Apart for my wedding, I was not at my grandma's for about 16 years (I was 9 or 10 at the time)
Tomorrow we take our journey to Daruvar where we will meet my auntie, my cousins and their families.
Until then good bye.
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