Click on the pics to see the whole picture gallery (Behind each picture you will find another gallery!!!) Zuric h - Vienna - Brno-Liberec-Praha - Bratislava - Budape st - Maribor - Croatia - Bos nia - Roma nia - Brasov-Bran-Pitesti - Buc uresti - Constanta -Varna-Plovdiv - Sofia - Skopje - The ssaloniki-Kavala - Istanbul Switzerland: Streetphilosophy Party Zuric h Slow down in Austria Austria: Salzburg - Amstetten - Vienna After a seven hour drive and the first night in the bus in Salzburg, we arrived at our first destination Amstetten. We were pleased that the bus was still running (many predicted it will not make it to the border). Amstetten is a little cute town between Salzburg and Vienna, where our former college-mate is working as a consultant for department stores. We found out that Roli is already talking austrian dialect which sounds quite stra nge. After exhausting days quiting the job, moving the apartment and so on, we needed some time to slow the pulse down and get acquainted with our new lifestyle. We found a lot of new friends there like Klara, Monique & Bart (from Ho lland), Greg, Ingrid and Joe `the barman`. It was at joe's bar, where we partied Roli`s 28th birthday with plenty of shots as you can see on the pictures. Klara (with us on the photo) told us, that Joe even put one photo outside in the bar window. Apart from night life, we visited an old castle above the Donau, saw still a lot of damage from the flooding along the river and had traditional meal at the `Heurigen`. On the way to the first eastern country Cze ch Republik: Brno-Liberec-Praha Moving out of Austria, we stopped at a very small village with only one re staurant where we had a good experience with an old grandpa, Hans Sturm, who we talked to for a couple of beers. He told us everything about his life as soldier in war, his familiy troubles when his brother had sex with his wife and his daughter and his experience with the police when they blamed him for burning down his house which he didn't. When we drove him home after, he became very emotional and cried asking us when we will meet again and saying that we are good friends for him. After crossing the czech border without problems, some things obviously changed. The drinks became cheaper, the women even more beautiful (not only because of the drinx) and we had to increased our safety rules in the bus using a special lock and carrying the things of value with us. After a party-night in Brno and an easy day at the campground nearby, we moved on to Liberec and experienced an amazing and misterious sunset. Partymood in Liberec After one and a half weeks on the road, we visited Andrea in Liberec, the north of Czech Republic. We met her in Munich two years ago on one of our short trips. It wasn't our first time in liberec but there were still a lot of good party places to explore like the Shake Club. Andrea was so nice that we even got a key of her apartment and felt at home for almost a week. There is a new Squash-Center next to Andreas place, so we sma shed the little hard rubber ball every day after we got up. Every day we had about the same rhythm: sleeping, breakfast, Squash -Session, cooking, partying and sleeping again… And Roger knows now how to make a good paprika sauce out of pure paprika. He bought a refill pack of paprika in stead of a paprika-sauce…may be some language problems. Hangin` out in Praha For more than a week we stayed in Prague. We slept at Lindnerova, Prague 8. Place of the second Andrea we know in Czech Republic. At that time the damages of the flooding in Prague are still well visible. Gro undfloors empty and destroyed, lots of streets still closed. One metro station totally damaged. Simply a disaster. Apart from the party at Andreas place and the Pub downstairs, the visit at Andreas cottage was the highlight. The rocks in Prachov are so huge and nice. Every rock has a certain meaning or shows a symbol. Passing throught Bratislava…and a new country We have never been there…Slovak Republic a new country, separated 1993 from Czech Republic again. After the first World War the two Republics came together. About 5.5 Million habitants live in Slovak Republic and the capital is Bratislava. We stayed there for one night. And as it was Saturday we had a great party at a students disco. We met Marianna and her younger sister. They study medicine and their smiles will a lways stay in our minds…. Hungary "K ösönöm" and a flat land …. While driving through this country one can think that there is either flat la nd, Budape st or Ballaton lake and nothing else. On the way to Budapest we studied the history of Hungary and it seems that the country is very popular. Tartares, Romans, Turks, Austrains, Germans and Russians were occupying Hungary during the past. Since the 23rd of October 1989 Hungary is an indepandant Rebublic. The influence of these occupations is quite big. Lot of people still speak German, lot of words in Hungarian language sounds like turkish. We lived in Üröm n ext to Budapest and "Kösönöm" (thank you) became our favourite word. The language is so difficult and strange. Budapest is a wonderfull city. Donau separates the two parts Buda (part with hills) and Pest. The city is massive and at the same time elegant and romantic. After few days we went ahead to the the huge Ballatone lake. Very popular summer resort and as it was fall not much was going on. What we can highly recommend are the thermal baths in Hungary. We had visit in the bath in Lind. Samuels pain in the back and neck disapeared after three weeks of suffering. Checking in in Maribor… Slovenia again a new country for us with just 2 Million habitans. Economicly the best developed country in the balcan area. To get in this country was not so easy for us: We were really in problems at the boarder (Special thanks to Rogy- Baby), they stripped us for two hours, they took everything out of the bus…wow what a mess…were searching with infrared and eager for certain stuff. But as we are no drug dealers, they did not find anything to get us in prison. We really felt like in a film called Blow. At least we know now that our bus is totally clean. We had just one, but an unforgetable night in Maribor. We checked into the best Pub in town and met few people there. When the Pub closed we had an after hour in the park in front of the university. With Any Lovejoy and Ron, two artists from Bristol, who had an exibition in Maribor, we were philosophing all night… Croatia or Hvratska …Winnatoue and the beautifull coast line Zagreb - Split - Dubrovnik - Zedar We had a wonderfull time in Croatia. We have been to Zagreb (capitol) one night and then we drove along the endless beautiful coastline where the Winnatoue movies were made. The old towns in Split, Trogir, Primosten, Dubrovnik etc. look still original, the goss are tight and ro mantic. It is really worth to visit Croatia. We stayed there for 2,5 weeks and enjoyed the summer end at the seaside. Three ethnic groups in one country - and great new friends Bos nia and Herzegovina : Katolique Croats, bosnian Muslims and ortodox Serbs all live in one country. Unfortunately not always peacefully as everyone remembers from the terrible news of the war 10 years ago. Bosnia is situated between Croatia and Serbia/Jugoslavia.The wounds of the war are still more than visible quite everywere in the country although its quite a while now. Ruines, new houses, houses under construction or houses with plenty bullet wholes. On the way to Sarajevo we passed through Mostar, where we made some ghosty pics of war ruines. It was a very srange feeling to walk on the street next to all these damaged houses and imagine that people were shooting there, where you walk right now. we became quite emotionally involved seeing that. War d id not change a lot in terms of the mixture of groups in the center of the country like in Sarajevo. Croats, Muslims and Serbs now live in peace together and we believe that they are on a good way for the future although the bosnian Croats want to join Croatia and the Serbs want to join Jugoslavia, which makes it very difficult for the development towards the european union. After all we just had good experiences in Bosnia. It is about time to change our perception of it. People are very friendly and they laugh a lot. And Sarajevo is probably saver than any big city western Europe or America. We had contacts with Miro from McCann-Ericksso n in Sarajevo and thanks to him, we met Alis, Mohammed, Aida and more friends from McCann in the new Orange bar in the middle of the city. Alis, who became a very good friend of ours, straight invited us to stay at his and his girlfriend Selma's place. We were able to enjoy his hospitality for one week. Thanks again to him at this point. Won't forget! Since Alis also was soldier in the war and hit by a bullet, we talked a lot about that the first nights. His open stories left a deep impression for guys like us, who go to army service every year and see it more like a stupid game. It is not. We managed to move our bodies a bit playing football in a gym. We were quite successfull also due to the fact, that we had Alishamidzic in the team (based on Salihamidzic from Bayern Munich). Unfortunately, Roger twisted his ancle in the last game. Shit happens. But victory was ours. On friday evening, we visited a football game between Bosnia and Germany (1:1) where, plenty of german SFOR Tro ups were cheering for their team. After the game we had an enourmous night at the Futura 2002, an electronic music festival. Due to the lack of in telligence and plenty of alcohol, Roger lost his mobile at that Party. But because Samuel already threw his mobile in a bosnian toilet by accident, this wasn't a real problem at that moment. Apart from the mobile experience, we changed our opion a lot and had a very exciting time in Bosnia. Even though people from Bosnia have quite a hard time to travel (Except for business reasons, it is not easy to get visa s) we really hope that Alis will visit us once too and we see him again.... A selfmade-man in Roma nia From Bosnia we passed again through Hungary before we crossed the Romanian boarder in Arad. At the boarder we changed 30 Euros. We were totally overwhelmed to get nearly 1 Million Lei for that. What a crazy currency - suddenly we were millionairs. The day after we drove up to Cluj -Napoca. Streets are quite dangerous in Romania. The have just 100 km of highway, so they like to drive fast and risky o n the normal roads. Truck driver overtake without any respect. The country side of romania seems like 100 years ago. Basic farming with horse and carriage driving along the road. Old and poor, but still smiling people on the carriage, suddenly taken over by black large BMWs. Felt quite stra nge to see these to worlds so close toeach other. In Cluj we visited Paul for one week. Our Swiss friend who married a Romanian woman. He has been living in Cluj for 3 years now, owns a second hand shop and has his own little cottage in the countryside. A real self- made man: food, wine, house renovation he does everything himself like many Romnanian people in the countryside do. We found a favorite place to go out, The Diesel Club, and had two unforgetable parties there. Brasov -Bran-Pitesti - About Earl Dracula and the Rumanian Carpates After one week in Cluj, it was time to go back on the street. We drove southwards through the Rumanian carpates where the beautiful rivers, hills and green meadows reminded us of good old Switzerland. In Brasov, we took the cableway and had a nice view over the town. Paying 3000 lei for the toilet up there felt kind of strange. Well - after counting back, that was just 0.05 cents. Along the winding roads, we found some lovely little market stands run by farmers who sold their products like cheese, sausages, sirup and palinka (strong localll liiqquoorrs..hix). Further on the way to Bucuresti, we visited the Castle of Bran, where also Vlad Zepesch stayed for a while. He is better known under the name Earl Dracula and the myth of the vampires was based on him. He was a cruel la ndlord in the early middle age and famous for killing people by sticking them naked on 3 meter lances, where they sometimes lived on under incredible pain, sometimes for days. Worse than that, he used to enjoy his breakfast in a field full of the dying corpses on the sticks. It was delivered that he drank their blood although it was probably just wine. These brutal methods scared the hell out of his opponents and were an effective psychological weapon in the defeat over the turks who tried to enter the country. Buc uresti - New homebase in the rough beauty of Eastern Europe Mamu lari Street Nr. 4, Bloc C2, Apt. 40, Sector 3, Bucuresti: Our new adress for the following 5 weeks! After 2.5 months sleeping on the camping ground, at friends places, hotel rooms and on the street we were very glad to rent our own apartment and have a new homebase. We already decided early on our trip to stay in Romanians capital (2.4 million habitants) for a couple of weeks. Why Bucharest? Basically cause of two reasons: First of all, we haven't heard a lot about it (we mean like "who has ever been to Bucharest?"). And secondly, we felt very attracted by the city's name. It sounded rough, massive, exciting and with a touch of underground. And that feeling was proofed to be true: Huge boulevards and squares, massive buildings and lots of good clubs mainly in underground cellars. The city looks rough and at the same time like Paris of the East. It was obvious that Ceausescu wanted to copy Paris. The Unirii Boulevard for example looks like Champs d'Elisee. It is even 6 meters longer (very important for the ruler) and leeds to the second biggest building in the world (after the Pentagon): the parliament, also known as Casa Poporului. Ceausescu built it during the darkest days of the communism regime. There is also an Arc de Triumph and Piata Charles de Gaulles and a river through the city which looks like the artificial Seine. Bucuresti has its name from a shepherd called Bucur. Well, there aren't any sheep in the city anymore. Experiencing the city (honestly mostly) during the night, we got to know a lot of good people (Greets to Gusti, Livio, Mihai, Mirela, Melania, Irina, Valentina and everybody else), had tasty food for very cheap prices, strolled through the clubs and pubs, even played tennis and - like always - took our time to sleep (honestly mainly during the day). The regular time-feeling got completely lost so that we sometimes had breakfast at 6 am one day, and at 6 pm or even at midnight the next day. After 5 weeks in town, we almost felt like locals. We met people we already knew while walking through parcs and streets and didn't have to use the city map anymore. And one is for certain: we will definitly return to this ro ugh beauty by the name Bucuresti again. Constanta -Varna-Plovdiv - Th e 'black' Black Sea and the scruffy mainland Before moving on to Bulgaria, we didn't want to miss the black sea. And we were really surprised how black the black sea is. But maybe it was ju st because we arrived there during the night. : We drove along the cost line from Constanta to Varna. The boarder from Romania to Bulgaria was a bureaucratical nightmare. It took us 4 hours to cross the boarder although there were just 3 cars and one bus waiting in front of us. On top of it, changing 100 Swiss francs was a one hour task involving 4 people to check if the banknote was not faked. Luckily, the others were watching tv in the back of the border building. Well, It wasn't the best start into this new country and caused a strange feeling towards the further happenings in Bulgaria. We arrived in Varna the same night and it was a nice surprise after the first expierences in this country. A nice and cute little city at the Black Sea - and a wonderfull beach! We were quite impressed when we saw it and it was a shame that it happened to be December. The live Hip Hop session the night after in a club by the name Tytyteka was great fun. Just check our favourite group picture and you know what we are trying to say After negotiating for an hour with the parking security, who tried to rip us off with tourist prices (we parked there for 2 nights), we escaped from Varna at 6 in the morning, driving for 9 hours directly to Plovdiv in the middle of Bulgaria. Countryside, villages and cities on the way looked very grey and poor and that not only because of the bad rainy weather. Plovdiv wasn't very nice as well. A rusty and scruffy city. Hardly anybody spoke English. So we went ahead to Sofia the next day. Sofia - Bus -ru bbery and 'Tool Timers' at work Sofia, 7 o'clock in the morning, cloudy sky, -5 degrees, Sam cant sleep after watching TV all night, goes for breakfast, then picks up something in the bus. SHOCK: The small side window of the bus is broken, the car open....the thieves stole 70 percent of all our clothes, the getthoblaster, ra dio, cd -changer etc. and left a real mess in the bus. After two coffees and four cigarettes, we had - how we used to say - a new task of the day. 3 policemen came for the protocol but communication still wasn't easy because of the language and the cyrilic letters. But after visiting the police station another two times, the papers for the insurance were ready with (very important) - the official stamp! ...but the troubles at that day weren't over yet: We still had to get a new window for our old lady. When we wanted to drive away, we realised that handbreak was frozen. Maybe it was our luck that the bus was stuck cause of the frozen handbreak. Maybe therefore the thieves couldn't move the bus and steal the whole thing. Not to mention that we also forgot to put our special lock for the stearing wheel that night...after we managed to release the handbreak with a few liters of hot water, we began the search for a good garage. Let's say we tried. All we found were kind of shabby mafia-style garages and no window was available anywhere. That was the moment when we realized that Bulgaria was the only country in Europe where nodding the head means NO and shaking the head means YES. Still don't have a clue why. So what to do? Since we watched the series 'TOOL TIME' quite a lot during the past two months, we decided to create the new window ourselfs. So Al and Tim went to a 'do it yourself' market, bought a binford 3000 saw, plexiglas plus some glow and managed to produce a perfect new window in the hotel room. We were quite proud of that! Any handwork to do in your home? Call us. Although we had some troubles that day, it turned out to be a very exciting and funny day. Skopje (Ma cedonia) - Artists must be beautiful Curiosity, that was our main feeling crossing the Macedonian border. We received some disoriented looks at the customs and during the three police controls (in a one hour drive!) on our way to Skopje. "What the heck are these two guys doing with this old hippy wrack in December in Macedonia? After all, it's snowing." Luckily we didn't have to go into detail with this question since it wasn't easy to answer for ourselves too. But when Gordana, a friend of Roger who works for Mccann, gave us a very warm welcome on that cold winter evening, we already knew it. Just after two hours in Skopje, she gave us her apartment keys, told us to feel like at home and went away to sleep at her boyfriends place. Hmm, how do we deserve this? The only possible answer that came to our minds: we must have collected some very good karma in our former lives. What happened the next few days was one of our best experiences so far. It was all about the great people and the great music. We spent a lot of time with Gordana, her boyfriend Boris, and her friends Danijela and Biljana. When Sam got sick having Angina, we had to go to the doctor and pick up plenty of medicine at the drug store. But since Gordana took care of him almost like a mama, he felt much better after a couple of days. With Gordana and Boris being both artists, we received an interesting insight in art. We were also quite attired in a Yugoslavian performance artist by the name Marina Abramovic, who did some crazy stuff in the 70's and 80's. Hard to explain, you might just have to check out the pics. Apart from that, Roger had a lesson in fashion design from Danijela, we both learned the Cyrillic letters, tried to cook "Roeschti" for them and bought ourselves some 70 cd's since Skopje definitely has the best radio stations for electronic music. During the week there, we had many deep and philosophical discussions about the spiritual life. In Bulgaria, both of us started to practice self-hypnosis and in Skopje, believe it or not, we were already able to go into deep trance and start age regression to our childhood. It was both exciting and scary at the same time. Finally, we want to thank Gordana, Boris, Danijela and Bibi again for the incredible week and all the good vibes we received! We and your karma won't forget. The ssaloniki-Kavala - Me rry Christma s in Greece Although crossing the border to Greece, we were still in the area of Macedonia. After the First World War, Macedonia was split apart based on a treaty. One part became Yugoslavia (now former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia), the other part Greece. Thessaloniki looks like a city in Western Europe and the prices are high. We really weren't used to pay 3 Euros for a coffee anymore. In Rumania, we had 4 coffees, 2 coke and 2 croissants for the same amount. The sea promenade isn't that nice, but has dozens of stylish bars and cafes playing chillout moods. We stayed in a hotel for 3 nights over Christmas. Instead of having a traditional family Christmas Eve, we were drinking plenty of Smirnoff Ice in our hotel room and had stuffed sandwiches and sweet crepes at a fast food stand . At least we had an artificial Christmas tree, which we got as a present in Skopje. Home sweet home. Calling Mama was not a must, but a desire. On the 26th, we had a great night in a Pub meeting about 10 Greek guys. One of them invited us all for an after hour party. As he lived with his parents we had to be quiet he said. This wasn't that easy with 10 people in the ro om, but it worked until he began to play us a private concert with his Greek Bazuka Sirtaki guitar (excuse us if this isn't the original name). It was that loud that his parents and neighbours must have been standing in their beds. But nothing like that happened. Unfortunately we left the cam at home that evening. But hope to keep in touch anyway. Athanasios, drop us a line when you read this. Gre ece was the end for our old laptop. In front of an internet cafe, the hard disk fell on the floor because the bag and the rack were open at the same time. And as Sam didn't realize that it was the hard disk on the floor, he mistook it as a football and played some Brazilian style with it...perfect. And just to make some things clear, Hercules was not gay and the tale about the women's noses is true. Istanbul - At the edge of the European plate, just in front of Asia Alre ady when we drove into Istanbul by night, we were impressed and surprised how big this city is. Over 12 millions of habitants live in Istanbul! The city is situated on 7 hills around the golden horn. The Bosphorus divides Istanbul in the European part and the Asian part. We were quite overwhelmed sitting at the edge of the European plate having a coffee and the first glance over the Bosphorus to the next continent on our trip: Asia. On the 3rd day in Istanbul we were lucky to move to Seda's place. Our very good friend Seda had just moved in to a new flat. It was an honor to be her first guests. Just before we wanted to leave our hotel the police was about to remove our bus with a large towing truck! Good action in front of our hotel. Everybody on the street was watching the happening. After negotiating with the policeman, he let the bus down again and we paid our biggest fine ever: 30 millions of Turkish Liras! Shit happens - and after all, it's not as much as it sounds (about 20 Euros). And the policeman got some extra pocket money for the new year. We took it quite easy on New Years Eve and left the apartment not until 11 pm, but equipped with two bottles of Vodka Lemon. Luckily, we quickly caught a cab next to our house and drove on the main road towards the city center, the Taksim Square. What a traffic jam at that time! We already thought that we have to celebrate the new years countdown in the taxi when the driver suggested an insider route to Taksim, but at higher price. We said ok and experienced the craziest and still most relaxed cab drive ever. We were driving 130km/h on the motorway through the city, and went on to pass twisting, narrow and very cliffy alleys drinking our Vodkas on the back seats. It felt like in a movie and we arrived directly next to the Taksim square 20 minutes before midnight. There was quite a energy in the air and we celebrated there till 2 am meeting 5 Turkish fellows and drinking a lot of Efes, the famous Turkish beer. After that we went to a bar with Seda and her friends and partied on till the morning. It was a drop-dead gorgeous evening. And we were drop-dead the next day, too. Turkish food is really delicious. Next to Dueruem (one of our daily meals), Doener, Koefte and Boerek the Turkish food offers a lot more. We had excellent dinners from Seda, her mother and in several restaurants. On our last day, we had dinner with about 15 people (cheers, Wayne) and had at least that many different plates on the table, too. We enjoyed raki (Turkish Schnaps), belly dancing, live music. After all the brilliant food, we had a belly, too. But as Seda uses to say: "An apartment needs a balcony, a man needs a belly!" On the same day, we visited a hand and energy reader with our new friend Alev. It was amazing to hear all the things she knew about our character and our past, although she had met us just a couple of minutes before. Not to forget about her predictions for the future. We are definitely curious if any of this will become true. It was an unforgettable session. We began to question ourselves about ourselves not knowing ourselfs and had a lot of in teresting discussions about these topics afterwards. Concerning the next steps ahead on our journey, there were some things to be considered, too. Our first idea was to drive on through Syria, Jordania to Saudi Arabia. But since the situation is rather delicate and it would have been quite a hassle with the visa. We decided to ship our baby from Istanbul to India and fly there. The shipping process turned out to be a hell of a job too (thanks to Turkish bureaucracy). It was a big story with notary, translators, costumes, embassy and shipping company we never could have managed without Sedas and Alevs help Seda and Alev, thanks again very much for your help and your very friendly and lovely hospitality, we hope that we can give some of this back to you when you come for a visit to Switzerland!
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