The Build Up

It’s Sunday evening. 15 May. My first holiday of the year starts on Saturday. Early. The plane leaves at 6.05am…

Not my choice, but JAT changed the timings of their Amsterdam-Belgrade service with their summer timetable, so KLM had to change my connecting flights. 8.20am was going to be quite civilised, but now I’ll have to get up about 4am.

Belgrade is 1 hour ahead, so maybe I just switch to Belgrade time a few days early.

I haven’t flown with KLM for several years, but I bet they’ve gone downmarket and I’ll be disappointed. JAT will be something completely new. So will Serbia and Macedonia.

The hotels are all fixed up. 4 nights in Belgrade and 1 in Niš on the way to Macedonia. Then 2 nights each in Bitola and Ohrid. Another night in Belgrade before the flight home.

The hotel in Niš was offering suites at €70 per night, which gives an idea of the value for money in this part of Europe.

The car is booked, but I have to get an international driving permit before I go. I haven’t needed one of those for decades. Required for Serbia.

I have my meetings fixed up for the embassies in Belgrade and Skopje.

What’s still to be decided?

Well, I’m tempted to pass through Priština in Kosovo when driving between Belgrade and Macedonia. It’s a bit of a detour, but would be interesting. Maybe I’ll talk to the locals about it before I decide.

I’m also pondering a drive all the way around Lake Ohrid. It doesn’t seem to be too long, and it would probably be spectacular, but half the trip would be through Albania. I’m not sure if Sixt will let me take their car over that border!

© iain taylor 2011


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