It should have actually been shorter but dog gone it if the Croatians didn't call our bluff and make constructions detours two times! And these weren't turn off the highway for a few miles! It was full off roading! We didn't even have detour signs most of the way so we were guessing and then we hit heavy duty starihr up mountains and tons of cars... And needless to say - it took us almost 12 hours again:(. But it would have been 10 if the M highways were in tact!:)
It was such an interesting drive! Croatia is definitely a beautiful country! The shore line along the Adriatic Sea is gorgeous! And then you get in country and its monstrous mountains that look somewhat like Utah or Wyoming but with these red tile roofed houses dotted all over. One section we drove through I was looking in the distance and thinking how crazy the clouds looked - and then I realized it was clouds and mountains underneath!
The inside going towards Zagreb was just massive Rocky Mountains and windy roads.
We got to the Hungarian border about 4 pm, again after going through the Craotian and Bosnian borders 3 or 4 times. We're driving up to the border and its on the other side of a bridge that's high up from a rushing river. As we drive up we see police cars parked along the sides of the bridge and police looking down at the water and then we realize there's huge amounts of sharp barbed wire bunched up between the opening of the bridge. We couldn't help being disgusted at the sight. These poor people are trying to escape death in their country and now they have to at some point go through a country that is trying everything possible to make their crossing hellish. So sad! And at the border the border guard here (it was a large border crossing) was anything but pleasant and wanted to go through the back of our car .... Crazy - it was an open station wagon so he could see everything - no hidden refugees.
Ioana was not impressed with Hungarians at the crossing:). But - we stopped at a gas station not long after and you have to have them fill it up so the attendant came out and we told him to fil it up, and when we were going to pay for our gas - ok it sounds weird but it was actually sweet - he gave us all ice cream cones from the gas station ice cream freezer and basically told us welcome to Hungary! He made up for that not nice border guard...:)
We drove the the city - during rush hour night I add - dropped our car off and then caught a taxi to the Marriott hotel for our last night together!
Dinner by the windows overlooking the Danube - then a stop up at the concierge club for a coffee! My favorite view in the city is out on the balcony there!
Carlene and I finished packing up our suitcases while Ioana went to the gym to work out. We got everything in the bags and then we all fell into the fluffy, comfy Marriott beds and slept like we had taken sleeping pills!!! But we hadn't because Carlene and I had to get up and be on he road to the aiport by 4 a.m.
What a great two weeks! I got to come and love on people who are working for Jesus in Hungary and Romania! Give them some of the love and attention that they give the students and the wormen they work with! It was exhausting for a good portion of the trip, but at the end of the day I sank into bed knowing that I was where I was supposed to be and that God was using me to just be there for people that he's using in awesome ways! I couldn't be happier!
Bye countries I love! Bye friends that are family! Bye students that I've known and loved for 8 years now! So much to be thankful for as I land back in Chicago on this Friday afternoon! Can't wait to be back in Eastern Europe again though!