Waiting in Slovakia for three weeks put a huge dent in our plans. We had to be in Bansko, Bulgaria to meet our friends from the UK for a skiing trip and were now well behind schedule. With a broken brake light, burnt bags and still overloaded we made a run for it.
We raced to Hungary, bombed round Budapest and dashed to a little farm in the middle of nowhere for a night with two cool Hungarians, their 2 horses, 2 dogs, 3 cats and 12 chickens. I felt right at home.
We made our way into Serbia, visiting Novi Sad, Belgrade and Nis - where we couchsurfed with a chap named Mirko. Mirko took us on a tour of his city; to his favourite breakfast place, sweet shops, thermal spas, epic views above the city and to the infamous and creepy Skull Tower.
Back in 1809, during the First Serbian Uprising against the Ottoman Empire, a huge battle took place where 3,000 Serbian rebels were attacked in the Battle of Cegar. The Serbs were outnumbered and the commander knew they would soon be overrun and impaled on stakes if captured (a typical Ottoman punishment for rebels). So he decided to blow everyone up (including himself) along with Ottoman soldiers by shooting at his gunpowder store. The opposing commander ordered that a tower be made from 952 soldiers’ skulls as a warning to potential future rebels.
But it wasn’t all about skulls, Mirko had very randomly arranged for Andy and Alissa to go on a Serbian Radio Station… classic Mirko. Sweaty, unwashed, knackered and with no preparation they were dropped in front of a microphone and asked questions about our trip that even I didn’t know the answers to. Luckily, I sneaked into the sound-booth and listened in instead.
From Serbia we made another dash to Sofia, Bulgaria before heading to the ski town of Bansko to meet up with our crew from the UK for a week of epic skiing and boarding. I was excited to see Tamsyn too, BOING’s Head of Manufacturing.
As soon as we saw the snow-capped mountains I felt the biggest buzz since leaving the UK. Once we reached the Todorka summit I knew I was home!
The two-legged lot were a bit wobbly on the steep stuff. There were plenty of crashes, tumbling down mountains, hot chocolates, games, food and more spectacular crashes, but we loved it. And I even got a ride on a snowboard! Tamsyn progressed fast and by the end of the trip was so quick down the mountain that even I struggled to keep up.
We had only been gone for five weeks, but skiing with good friends was so good that it left a lump in our throats when they boarded the bus for a flight back home. Now, once again we’re left in the snow, wondering which way to go…