Last summer, Jared and I left for the trip of a lifetime. We had a goal to drive through most of the countries in Europe. It was a great adventure. Day #1 as Mr. & Mrs. Whiting, we started off with a huge wedding, gathering our family and friends from all over the world. It was amazing and we were blessed with the warmest day in England. It was glorious! Day #2 as Mr. and Mrs. Whiting we started our trip in England, left for France where we the next day met some bikers from Germany that needed some help. They treated us with breakfast! Our adventure had definately begun.
Day #3 as Mr. & Mrs. Whiting. We changed our plans as the tunnel in Austria was closed and decided to give Switzerland another chance. A scenic route was chosen and off we went. Up the hills went quite slow and without a navigation system there was no warning of any speed cameras when Jared wanted to go a little quicker on the flats…ups Jared.. I guess you need to do a lot of housework the next couple of months :p Well, up and down the hills we went.. then..wait for it… We broke down!! No brakes!! Luckily we were alright and amazingly we found a nice man who fixed the car for free and we continued our journey 3 hours later. An angry hotel receptionist waited for us when we arrived in Venice 40 min passed his bedtime. Sweaty and tired.
Day #4 as Mr. & Mrs. Whiting. Waking up in romantic Venice, more tired than anything after a long day yesterday. Going outside was almost unbearable as the temperature was between 30-40 degrees. We decided to go touring three islands as the boat had air conditioning. We decided against the gondola as it was €100 for a trip, €80 special price for you… No thank you. We ate next to the grand canal and decided that if we come back it must be in winter… Ending the evening with eating ice cream …twice in Jareds case. Day #5 as Mr. & Mrs. Whiting. We woke up early to escape the heat. We got out of Venice heading towards Slovenia, a country neither of us had been before. The car has started to get lots of stickers in the car from all the toll vidgets we have to put in the car. We spent today at Predjama castle which is the biggest cave castle in the world. It was sunny and beautiful! We have checked in at a lovely guesthouse with a couple from Wales and Finland so Jared could speak English and I could speak Swedish.
Day #6 as Mr. & Mrs. Whiting. We had a slow start this morning, but we only had 3 hours of driving. As we came into Croatia, we got a proper English “Cheers” from the toll guy. Over the boarder, we could see forest everywhere, and the further into Croatia we went, off the motorway, we could see scars from the war. We could see houses with bullet holes and destroyed. We saw farmers that is still living in camping wagons and half build houses abandoned.
Still, in all this, we saw beauty. We have had a good relaxing day in Croatia. Day #7 as Mr. & Mrs. Whiting. We woke up in Plitvicka national park in Croatia. We decided for the scenic route down the Croatian coastline. The scenery was amazing. Jared tried to teach me a few new English words that I have already forgotten… :p We ate the best omelette I have had in a long time and Jared went for a swim in the freezing ocean (I believe only because I bet him £5 that he wouldn’t). We entered Bosnia after a little miss on the boarder. The brilliant new motorway boarder did not sell us car insurance, and was in a right mood, and they sent us country road to find it (at a different boarder).. we got a bit lost but we found it in the end and there was no que and the people there were nice! 🙂 We got to Mostar only to discover that we missed the world series of the Red Bull cliff diving from the old Mostar bridge by 6 hours. Jared was most gutted about this. But at least we got free water and air conditioning at the hotel. We ended the day with a walk up to the illuminated old bridge which was very beautiful.
Day #8 as Mr. & Mrs. Whiting. I could sum up the day with 3 words though; thunder, lighting and rain. When we woke up in Mostar, the rain was already pouring down. We had a quick walk over to the bridge and got some ice cream on the way back. As the weather was that horrible we decided to drive to the Montenegro boarder to get car insurance. We went to see some old town walls on the top of a mountain and a monastery in the middle of nowhere on the way there. It said the monastery was from the 9th century on the signs, however when we got there it turned out to be from the 1500s. Still quite unique. We drove further in thunder and lighting and past an accident. Jared is an excellent driver and I’m glad that he is driving as people here are nuts at times. We waited over one hour to cross the boarder (100m with cars) as the men were chatting with each other and didn’t really care about the cars, but in the end we managed to enter Montenegro. 20 min later we crossed the boarder back to Bosnia Herzegovina from another boarder as we could not face going back with the same slow speed. This was an excellent choice as only one car was crossing at this point. We headed off to Dubrovnik, crossing yet another boarder, still raining, lighting and thunder, but we achieved what we wanted.
Day #9 as Mr. & Mrs. Whiting. Rain!! How horrible! Well, Jared said; we are going to see Dubrovnik as we are here, and off we went. It was not just rain, it was elephant drops of rain! We almost ran to the old town, bought two umbrellas and found a place to eat lunch. Luckily the weather got better and we then walked along the old walls. Great views and not too many tourists as it had been raining quite a bit. In the end of the walk suddenly a stream of people appeared together with the sun. We headed off, but of course not without an ice cream, and I got myself some nice sunglasses. Montenegro here we come! And ohh how amazing Montenegro is!! We drove over a mountain pass which was absolutely stunning!! We have now checked in for the night in the town Niksic where we stand out a bit… Outside is a selection of nice cars and we feel we should dress up for dinner…
Day #10 as Mr. & Mrs. Whiting. Today we drove to Ostrog monastery. It was a spectacular sight on the mountain side. We debated wether or not to go in as the que was very long, but we were there and would probably regret it if not, so we went in. We were quite disappointed as the whole experience was more kissing doors and statues, but as said, we wouldn’t know if we didn’t go in and regret later. We continued our journey towards Albania and made sure we filled up the tank with petrol as we will try to avoid filling in Albania. As we came closer to the boarder we got even more amazed by the nature around us. At the boarder we met some goats, a dog walking across the road and men who wanted to sell car insurance. We had to show the guard police our route in Albania before he sent us on our way. 5 minutes later the police pulled us over. Oh no, we thought, what have we done wrong? Luckily Jared had just forgotten to turn his lights on, the policeman was very nice and we got no fine, just a smile and a wave. People cannot drive in this country.. or what they do is to drive and not look where they are going. We have gotten to our very nice hotel room, safe and sound and we have eaten so much food that we cannot bother to go out and look around…
Day #11 as Mr. & Mrs. Whiting. Where should I start? Albania, Albania, Albania… People driving like crazy. Why not park in the middle of the road, go around the roundabouts the wrong direction or cycle any direction in the road.
We had decided to go over the Albanian alps in the north. The scenery was amazing, and the views where great and Jared had a lot of fun when we went out of tarmac and the road was bumpety bump, bump!! We went out of Albania and into Montenegro, buuut before that at the boarder we noticed that we had punctured. So the Montenegro police at the boarder helped out and then one of them asked for a lift… Haha! So we had the police with us for a while all gunned up and with no seatbelt.. I did not feel I could tell him off.. We went a short route into Serbia but ended up detouring through Kosovo and Macedonia. 5 countries in a day is a record for us.. Now we are exhausted after a 11 hours drive.
Day #12 as Mr. & Mrs. Whiting. We started off in Macedonia quite early today as we had to get to the top of Bulgaria. The Macedonian boarder wanted to research our car and asked a lot of questions about Albania. In the end we found out that what they wanted to know was if we had any marihuana with us.
Our passports have quite a few unusual stamps with Albania and Kosovo now so they seemed to look twice at the car and take a little longer. A Norwegian and an English traveling together with different last names (in the passport).. could seem suspicious I admit, but we explained as much as we could and they let us go on. Unfortunately it was raining in Bulgaria, but we headed to Belogradchick to the fortress there before we headed towards the hotel in Vidin. When we got there we looked around… Did not feel comfortable to leave our car in that area and left for Romania. Our question is ; whyyyy is there NO HOTELS close to the Bulgarian boarder??? Well… We drove to the closest city and we got ourselves a hotel room. Yey!! Looking forward to explore Romania further tomorrow.
Day #14 as Mr. & Mrs. Whiting. Lets say it’s been the worst one yet… Nothing today went as planned, just the visit to one of the castles we planned for, Peles Castle. What we have thought about today is how funny it is that in England we walk our dogs, but in Romania they walk their cows. We have seen so many on the road today. Also we drove in rain, fog and completely darkness over a mountain pass that apparently is lovely. We tried to help two Swiss guys that were stuck in the middle of it, but without luck. I guess they were worse off than us as they are camping in the rainy mountains in the middle of the night. We just arrived at the hotel, which luckily was happy to have us at 01.30 in the morning… And the hotel is the best one yet!! Hint; Dracula teamed. It’s time to say goodnight, a new long day tomorrow.
Day #15 as Mr. & Mrs. Whiting. We have loved being in Romania. We hope to come back when the weather is better. Today the sun smiled to us again , but we headed into Hungary. We have had a late start today and we arrived in Holloko, which seems to be a closed museum at the moment. We are a little worried that we cannot lock the front door in this traditional little town (museum) but luckily we can lock the bedroom. Interesting to see if we wake up to people watching us or what… Right now we are parked outside someone’s house to get some internet and its not awkward at all…. We have mostly been driving and eating today but here’s a picture of the little town.
Day #16 as Mr. & Mrs. Whiting. We woke up early today to head for Spis Castle in Slovakia, but before we left, we went for a walk up the little hill in Holloko to see the castle there.
Holloko was improving in daylight, but we had to head off as Spis Castle closed at 4. We spent a couple of hours at the castle which is also on the UNESCO World Heritage List, before we headed to the hotel and it was only 15 minutes away! We are very excited to have a short day today and we will now have a nice rest and maybe walk in the town Levoca, which is also on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Day #17 as Mr. & Mrs. Whiting. The day started with Jared having problems with the shower. He could not manage to turn the taps off or down and he said we had to go down to reception to let them know it’s broken and go for breakfast. While we were eating breakfast the lady in the reception said nothing was wrong with the tap, he just had to turn it right to close it. Back to the room we went and Jareds second try to take a shower.
Jared came out again, laughing and saying he could not turn it on now. I went in myself to try but it was completely stuck. Back we went to the reception and she then brought a man up to help us… it was an easy fix for him to turn the tabs around….Haha!! Well.. it’s never been this hard to take a shower before. The third attempt was successful and finally we were ready to go. On route we found a place called Lucky and there was a beautiful waterfall. We also went to visit an old wooden church on the UNESCO World Heritage List and we saw a castle, but we did not go in as we had to wait for 1 hour til the next group was going in. It has been raining and miserable again, but we have arrived in Poland. We saw a pizzeria we definitely will visit later tonight.
Day #18 as Mr. & Mrs. Whiting. We had a really early start this morning waking up at 06.45. Jared had the wish to go to Auschwitz as we were so close. I tried to say no as it is our honeymoon, but then again, we have been traveling for 18 days and we have seen traces of war, bombed houses, empty villages, signs that indicates land mines, poverty, we have entered countries with tension as there is still conflicts going on. Seeing Auschwitz today was also emotional and upsetting, but we all need to see it and never forget. With the early start in the morning, we managed to avoid the big crowds and we were happy with that. It was good to walk by yourself and reflect in your own timeframe. We have also arrived safely in Cesky Krumlov in Czech Republic, and tomorrow we will spend the whole day here.
Day #19 as Mr. & Mrs. Whiting. Today we spent the whole day in Cesky Krumlov.
It’s an amazing little town south in the Czech Republic. We woke up to sunshine and we had probably around 30-35 degrees today. As we went for a stroll down the streets and over the bridges, Jared noticed people where rafting on the river that goes through the town. This was quite tempting as it was quite warm so we went to find this place, rented a rafting canoe and had an hour trip down the river. We are trying to rest too as the trip is soon coming to an end and we do not want to be completely exhausted.
Day #20 as Mr. & Mrs. Whiting. Today we had a short 3 hour drive to the northern Czech Republic, but before we left Jared managed to help two ladies to back up their car from a narrow-ish space. They seemed forever grateful and Jared had done his good deed of the day. On the road I gently told Jared the car in front had stopped and we were getting dangerously close. Jared hit the breaks, but figured the car would not stop in time and manoeuvred the car quickly around on the right side of it, and we could continue our journey after a bit of an adrenaline rush. We visited Radyne castle after that and just drove to the hotel. We have watched a movie and we are enjoying having a bit more luxurious 2 nights. A visit to the hotel spa tomorrow maybe??
Day #21 as Mr. & Mrs. Whiting. Jared ended up in hospital. If it’s heat stroke or food poisoning, we don’t know.
The hospital is keeping him here til tomorrow. I’m happy that they found a room for us to stay together. We might come home a day or two later, depending on what the doctors say tomorrow.
Day #22 as Mr. & Mrs. Whiting. We have spent the whole day in hospital. I went to check us out of the hotel but other than that just slept and eaten a little. He is looking better, but we are waiting for the results of the blood tests tomorrow to know if we can leave and head towards Germany. Thank you to everyone for all the love and support! I got a little smile of him today.
Day #23 as Mr. & Mrs. Whiting. Finally out of hospital!! Before 08.30 in the morning. Efficiency is not an unknown word in this country. We love Google Translate which saved us on more then a few occasions. Today we have driven from Cheb in Czech Republic to Mons in Belgium. Quite a long day and I’m very proud of Jared driving this long way.
As there were no towels in the hospital we have smelled horribly the whole way, so now we feel amazingly clean and ready for a rest before England tomorrow.
Day #24 as Mr. & Mrs. Whiting. We are finally home!! Weird and surreal! The everyday of Mr. & Mrs. Whiting starts tomorrow… We are both exhausted, but we agreed that we have had an amazing adventure and we have enjoyed the trip a lot!! Actually so much that we planned something amazing for next year already, but we will let you know more about that later. Ohh, and of course it was nice to see Blake 😉 He knows exactly how we feel now. We need a decent nights sleep. Goodnight world!!