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Fat-Bike Van Life – Balkan Holiday by – Stephan Spruyt (Part 2 of 3)

Road Trip The Balkans

(Part 2 of 3)

(from part one) – We continued exploring the city a bit more and then left to visit my new Serbian friends…

 

Having no idea what to expect, I was pleased to see a house with a little garage next to it and a Type 3 fastback on the drive. As soon as I arrived I was welcomed by Bojana who stood on the balcony and greeted me with the words “Welcome, you’ve come to the right place”.

We were greeted by the whole family, Dika, Bojana’s Husband Pedrag, her children and her mum. The hospitality of these people was enormous, drinks were flowing and I soon started learning lots of the Serbian country, history and it’s people.. A bit later the garage was free’d up and I drove Stella on to the ramp which proved interesting .. We went through some of the issues and it was decided to leave it until the next day. We got offered a bed by Bojana’s lovely mum and after a dinner out in town we hit bed early. The next morning welcomed us with coffee and breakfast ready at the table .. wow these people are incredibly nice and it just showed how amazing the VW community really is!

Skopje

Dika had started his day very early – 6am! – just to start working on Stella and by the time I came into the garage he’s sorted most of the little niggles.. He also found out that the hose attached to my DTM cooling system was partly shredded by the cooling fan and this must’ve been why it was running a couple of degree’s warmer than usual. The starter motor had also been playing up during the trip and Pedrag had called a supplier in Belgrade who said they have one in stock by lunch time. So we jumped in the car and drove to Belgrade. This was such a great experience as Pedrag explained a lot about the war some 18 years ago and how this still has an effect on the country and it’s people today.. We drove past the Police station that got bombed and the remains from the war were still very visible.. wow 😳. We continued our drive to a little place that makes any cable you want.. We found the clutch cable had started fraying and would’ve been the cause of not being able to adjust the clutch properly. I was amazed that this company made me a brand new cable within minutes.. top job, looked better than what came out of the bus and it was cheap as chips.

Our next trip was to New Belgrade where we arrived at a huge flea market, I couldn’t get my head around the amount of stuff you can buy here – I’m sure you’d be able to build a house or a car or whatever you wanted.. In no time we found a suitable hose that was of thicker quality than the one that got sliced. On the way back we popped into a car supplier to pick up the starter solenoid. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the wrong one.. A couple of hours later – Stella was all ready to go.. we said goodbye to the lovely family who looked after us so well.. we were touched by their hospitality, they didn’t charge us for anything.. Of course we made sure we left them a couple of gifts… We drove a couple of hours further South and by midnight we found ourselves right at the border with Macedonia. We parked up at a service station and hit bed.

Skopje

After brekkie and a decent cup of coffee we drove through the border and about an hour later we arrived in Skopje.. We had no idea what to expect but this city was by far the most interesting out of our whole holiday.. everything was just .. wowsers .. 😲 It has such a Roman feel and it’s so monumental and historical that I could not compare it to anything else.. The city suffered from a catastrophic earthquake in ’63 and has since been rebuilt. Regardless of architectures history, it’s stunning!!

Skopje

By lunch time we decided to move further, we’d brought the fat bikes and felt the urge to go for a ride. Before we left the city I wanted to get a couple of pictures in front of the Macedonian Port. Just as I drive through it I lose all gears (again).

Macedonia

Jacking the bus up, I find that one of the screw’s on the shift rod coupler had unwind itself.. a quick fix and a couple of minutes later we were off to the ‘Stone dolls’.

Stone Dolls

When we arrived on site I was surprised as I was expecting lots of people but there was no one around.

We took the bikes and went for a little adventure.. Some of these ‘stone dolls’ on the side of the rocky hills were mesmerising, we kept exploring and also found tortoise living in the wild here.

In the early evening we set course towards Greece .. driving until the early hours..

Sithonia Greece

The next day in the afternoon we arrived in Sithonia and decided on a campsite where we made our little den.. As much as I love cruising I was really relieved for Stella to be parked up and there was total rest for me. Of course the BBQ came out and was followed by many a drink.

The next day we went to explore the coastline, we eventually found a really nice secluded spot, parked up and set ourselves up at a somewhat private beach.

Music playing, a beer, some food and skinny dippin.. Yup this was too perfect.. The skinny dipping part was great until we both got stung by jelly fish.. and for those guys that want to know how it feels to get stung on your banana.. well it hurts.. and feels very uncomfortable 😂 for a looooong time!! We talking weeks here btw 😉. Anyway.. We had an amazing time and finished the day with yet another lovely BBQ.

The next day we went out the same way but decided to park the bus and go exploring on the bikes, we went up and over the hills past some very steep cliffs alongside the coastline.

The views were awesome.

Unfortunately only 40mins into our ride I noticed my front tire going down a little.

We didn’t pack any spares and with only 2 bottles of water we decided to get on the main road to travel back faster thinking we’d make it back before it was completely flat. However, Only a couple of minutes later my rear tire loses air too and to top it off also Sian’s bike had suffered a puncture.. haha 3 flat tires in under an hour well done..

The walk back on the smoking hot tarmac with 2 flat tires on a fatty climbing up and down was no pleasure.. About 2 hours later we fixed the tyres and decided to have a shower and start driving soon after. The shower session was quite hilarious as what first looked like an alright spot on the side of the road turned out to be a peepshow with ourselves playing the main characters haha 😆

A bit later we set off, the scenery was really lovely and the sunset just made it all perfect!

Continued in Part 3!

 

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2 Responses to Fat-Bike Van Life – Balkan Holiday by – Stephan Spruyt (Part 2 of 3)

  1. Allroy May 6, 2018 at 6:51 am #

    Love the pictures. I am on pins and needles waiting for the part where they actually go for a bike ride. I would have burned that van after the 2nd breakdown.

  2. Stephan May 8, 2018 at 10:30 am #

    Hahaha.. it’s all part of the journey..

    We didn’t use the bikes as much as we would’ve liked as we crammed too much into one trip but the trips we made were well worth it 😉