This week has been pretty extreme. We went from summer to winter and from nice quiet sleeping spots, even in an Airbnb to being surrounded by the military and police. And then there was also this ‘impossible to pay’ parking ticket. But, let’s start from the beginning!
On Monday we decided that it was time to do our laundry, have a warm shower and have some decent internet, so we had booked an Airbnb in a city called Zlatibor. This turned out to be a very good decision, because after a nice, summery Sunday, it started to rain and the temperature dropped to around 5 degrees at night. Besides this, the city turned out to be pretty nice too. In winter, this is a skiresort, which we had no idea of.
So when we found out the gondola up the mountain was right next to our parking spot, we decided to hop in and take a ride up the mountain. It took about 30 minutes and then we were at this small, but cute ski slope where we had coffee and pancakes. When we got back to Sparta and Tiny, we found out that we had received a parking ticket. We tried to pay for it and some locals told us to find some ‘parking officers in yellow sweaters’, but of course they were nowhere to be found. So we left anyway and decided to come back the next day to try again.
On Tuesday, it was time to fix Tiny’s tire. By now we were pumping air in it every day, so it was definitely leaking. Unfortunately, we had picked a national holiday to get our tire fixed, thus we drove on to a wooden village that we still wanted to visit. It was nice, but not really worth the long drive. Then, we drove back to Zlatibor to pay our parking ticket, but we really couldn’t find any officers. We were about to just leave it and hope they would let us exit the country (and enter again, one day) when eventually, we found a police station and they showed us where to go.
We had a great day on Wednesday. That day, we drove to the Uvac canyon. For those of you who have been to the USA, it’s just like the Horseshoe bend! We walked along the canyon for about an hour and a half and the views and nature were really spectacular! Mountains surrounding us, a beautiful canyon that had these very cool turns everywhere and fall colors. The only downside was that it was so cold, I even had to wear a hat to keep my ears from freezing off! On the hike, we were accompanied by some very sweet dogs, one even tagged along the whole way to the viewpoint and back.
Then Thursday came, I guess our most extreme day of this trip so far. After visiting a nice monastery in the morning, and getting Tiny’s tire fixed for only 350 dinar (a little over 3 euro) we decided to drive to another national park. Apparently, there was another ski resort there. We swerved up the mountain, all the way up to Kopaonik, where we were at 1750 meters above sea level. And it had snowed! Only a little, but the trees still had this nice white snow coating on them. It looked amazing. But this meant that it had been freezing then and when we got out of the car, the winter temperatures definitely hit us! So cold!
We walked around the city and ski area. It’s a little strange in this season, but we can imagine it being a fantastic place to go skiing. There were a lot of lifts and slopes and they are really creating a whole ski village here with shops, restaurants, cafes etc. Right now, they were getting ready for the season, so there was a lot of construction, but we’d love to come back here in winter! There was a great park4night on the mountain, but it was just too cold. We didn’t want to loose our water (Tiny lets go of all its water when it’s below 5 degrees), so we decided to drive on. After 4 hours of driving, we decided that it was time to find a place to park, but this time we struggled a bit.
Eventually, we just ended up in the outskirts of a big city, a little up in the hills. We parked Tiny next to a few cars and played some games, had dinner and relaxed a little. When we came back from walking Sparta, he started barking really loudly. There were 4 people surrounding our car and they were military. It turned out, that we had parked on forbidden military property and that we were not allowed to leave anymore…. We won’t go into all the details, but let’s say we made it out! After 2 and a half hours of waiting, explaining, talking and drinking tea (they treated us really nice), a police escort took us back into the city. In the end, there were 9 men with us, two dumb tourists, who had parked the car 50 meters too far… but to our defense, the only sign we could have seen was one that said ‘forbidden to take pictures’! Nothing mentioned a military area. So now we know, when you see a sign like that, turn around!
Sparta’s diary (3)
Wow, I really like this country! I meet friends to play with all the time! When we were in the mountains, we went for a hike through the forest. Before we left, there was a really nice puppy that wanted to play with me. He joined us for a little part of the walk, but then stayed behind. At the viewpoint, a female stray came to sit with us during lunch. She got some bread too and although I had rather eaten it myself, I didn’t mind her having it. I was really tired when we returned from the walk, but I still had some energy left to play with the puppy. I love to bite necks and paws!
Another day, when we were hiking along a canyon, we had to pass some houses. At first it was scary, because all the dogs started barking and they tried to chase me away, but eventually they were nice. One of them, a mommy, followed us the whole way to the viewpoint. She didn’t want to play with me, so we ignored each other most of the time. On the way back, we encountered the rest of the pack; they were joining two other tourists. When they saw us, they turned around and walked back with us. One of them was really fun to play with!
When we came to a big city a couple days ago, we found a place where I could play. At first, there weren’t so many friends to play with, but a lot of them arrived later. I guess they already knew each other, because they all started to run after me. It was fun, but I suddenly got a bit scared with all these big dogs around me. I got angry and tried to get away, but I couldn’t! This friendly man in the park helped my bosses to walk away, so I could follow them and the dogs would leave me alone. In the end, we all got along again and I wasn’t afraid anymore.
After we had walked through the city, which was very hot, we returned to the playground. There were some new friends now, so my bosses let me play with them. They were so much fun! I really wanted to stay a bit longer, but I had to go with my bosses.
Now, we are inside. I actually don’t mind that we don’t go for long walks these days, because it is very hot again. I just lay on my pillow and wait for my food!