Crossing into Croatia

We have just realised that there was a compete absence of place names in the previous post! We ended up on Baja (a city in southern Hungary – not the peninsula in Mexico!) having spent Thursday night in Dunafoldvar  But then you already know this don’t you because you have been looking at the map (here) and the list of places we have been (here)!!!

The campsite in Baja had a restaurant/bar but it was not available to campers on Friday evening because it was the venue for a large party that went on long into the night. There was a band playing dodgy cover versions after midnight and the music was still going at 3.30. Our tent was about 100 metres from the festivities and two layers of canvas do not provide much sound insulation.  So needless to say we had a disturbed night, particularly Christine.

On Saturday morning we stocked up with food partly to use up some of our remaining forints and partly because we are now comfortable with buying food in Hungary and Croatia is unknown territory. Having eaten our breakfast in front of the very impressive town hall in Baja we set off but stopped almost immediately as we spotted a bike shop where we could get the tyre pressures checked. The pump we have is fine for the first bit of inflating from flat but soon becomes very hard work getting the relatively high pressures needed with our heavy loads. It is far easier to use the professionals!

Still heading south, we took quiet country roads and a paved path along the dyke to the ferry to Mohacs, the last town of any size in Hungary. Seeing two or three hotels, Christine mused on staying the night – not least because we still had about £40 worth of forints and no Croatian money and the next day was Sunday. However, Stephen had it fixed in his mind that we were going to Croatia today and so she didn’t push the idea. This was to turn out to be a Big Mistake!

In view of the money situation we looked around for somewhere to exchange but Mohacs appeared to be a very sleepy place on a Saturday afternoon. We had see lots of little booths at the two places where we had gone between Hungary and Slovakia but this was clearly a much quieter crossing point.

We quickly covered the last 5 km to the border.  Still no currency dealers! This was starting to look a bit worrying as the map showed only small villages on the other side.

The crossing itself was easy although we did have to show our passports to leave Hungary (but not to enter Croatia) for the first time since leaving the UK. The signs welcoming us to Croatia were a surprise as they indicated that we were still on the EU. We had missed that Croatia had been admitted to membership in July 2013.

Increasingly concerned about the lack of local money, we set off to look for somewhere to stay the night. The guidebook showed nothing for the first two villages but that the third had accommodation.

Christine had been perky up to now but after the second village the broken night’s sleep started to catch up with her in a big way and she could feel that a migraine was just about to hit. The third village, Gajič, came into sight with signs showing accommodation.

By this stage Christine just wanted to lie down at the side of the road and sleep. There was “no room at the inn” at the house indicated by the signs but the lady pointed us towards the unsigned house next door where we were given the choice of two rooms. In his schoolboy German, Stephen told the lady that we had no “money for Croatia”. A glint came into her eye as she indicated that Euros would be more than acceptable! The exchange rate applied was in the realms of usury but as the cost was only €20 we were not talking about a large absolute amount so a deal was done.

Christine immediately went to bed but we agreed that Stephen would wake her just before dinner to see hoe she felt. An hour and a half later she was feeling infinitely better and more than ready for the simple but delicious meal.

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