We leave our beautiful apartment and the car is quickly packed, we do not have much luggage left after the theft of the suitcase. We managed quite well with only a few clothes, in retrospect we just had too much with us. We have a coffee with Kiki and Michael and at 10 o'clock we hit the road, for the 2400 kilometers back home. Flying from Thessaloniki to Amsterdam is only 3 hours but with all the waiting and traveling to and form the airports, we would also be traveling for a whole day, at least 8 hours to get from here to Groningen. Now it takes us just one and a half day longer.We have been on the road for more than 5 weeks, but I still liked to stay longer, if only to practice my Greek. Until past the Macedonian border I have a Greek channel on the radio but then Greece is really behind us. Along the highway we refuel diesel for € 1.05 per liter, very cheap, but curiously our petrol tank seems to hold 10 more liters than normal. Surely a non-calibrated meter to earn some extra money.
We are unfortunate that we arrive at Belgrade at rush hour and after the traffic jams we had on our way to Greece, we now take the alternative ring road, a two-lane road where we see almost 40 Dutch cars going in the other direction within half an hour. So we are not the only ones who drive that far.
At the end of the day we stop just before the border with Hungary, at Dvinski Hor where we booked a room. It is a pleasant and inexpensive hotel that we have visited before. The food is good and the place is nice to be. The disadvantage is that the next morning, after 10 minutes of driving, we are standing still, at the border of Hungary. For the itinerary it is therefore better to cross the border, to Hungary, on the first day. Then we can start the next day immediately without having to cross the EU-border.
Now we are in a traffic jam before the border for 40 minutes before we can continue to slowly drive to the customs booths. And when we are there, we are quickly waved on. Have we been waiting for that for so long? And then we are still lucky, the line coming from Hungary going to Serbia is a lot longer. To get rid of these waiting times at borders we advice that Serbia and Macedonia should join the EU a quickly as possible.In Hungary we can drive on, although the tripo takes us through a rather boring environment. The navigation indicates that we can expect serious delays in Czechia but when the delay suddenly changes from 20 minutes to 2 hours, I think it's a mistake. The navigation advises a different route, but hey, I think, I drive a bit on and if the delay remains the same or even more then I take the next exit. But I should not have done that: less than a kilometer past the exit I should have taken, we are in a traffic jam and in total it takes us 4 hours before we reach the next exit, 30 kilometers further. The next time I just have to listen to the navigation, that life traffic control has a function and I should not ignore it!
Also the rest of the way through Czechia goes slowly, it is busy everywhere and now I often listen to the advice of the navigation. The last part we drive right against the low hanging sun and sometimes we have very poor visibility. It is almost dark when we leave the country and I hope we will not be stopped because I have 1 broken headlight and a highway vignette that is no longer valid. There is a Czech police car waiting at the last tunnel before we enter Germany but it does not follow us. Pff, we made it and soon we are at the hotel in Dresden where we also stayed our last night last year.
Sunday 15 July 2018, traffic jams on the last day
The next morning we leave early for the last bit to Groningen and what we now notice, is that it is still as warm as when we left Greece. Yummy! In retrospect, it turns out to be the first day of a long heat wave period in the Netherlands. We could not have wished for more. But also in Germany we are regularly stuck in traffic jams or have to drive around to avoid traffic jams. At Hanover we make a final stop, the traffic on the highway is standing still anyway.The journey that normally takes only 6 hours takes us now more than 10 hours and only in the beginning of the evening we are back where we started 39 days ago: at home! With a suitcase less but a lot of experiences richer, it was another wonderful trip and we can not wait until we go again next year!