Eastern European adventures galore

On July 11, 2017 by Saint Paul

The Saint’s first ever roadtrip begins where so many have stories have started before; right at the beginning. The beginning is among the idyllic canals of Amsterdam on a sunny Saturday. Saint Nic will be the designated driver since her driving skills had convinced the Romanian authorities to reward her with a driving license. Their first day goes smoothly and within a huff and a puff the German border is already crossed which means the foot can be put to the metal to cover some German ground a bit faster. Also the Czech Republic is reached without any signs of border control which means Prague is reached in the early Saturday evening.

20170709_202649After having visited the famous Prague Castle, seen Snow White in Chinese form promenading through the gardens, climbed the Petri Tower and found their way through the mirror maze, Saint Paul and his saintly companion prepare for the continuation of their roadtrip. And it promises to be an action packed day…

Highway E50 to Bratislava is a long road with half a dozen of Czech tanks preparing for the inevitable, whatever that might be. The E50 is slowly exchanged for the E65 but right before the Czech-Slovak border is crossed, a maniacal and suicidal Czech cop chick jumps onto the highway to stop the saintly couple from advancing. As it turns out, a special yet poorly indicated vignette has to be acquired to traverse over the black coloured Czech asphalt. Saint Nic is asked to – together with a fellow Norwegian partner in crime – to pay the CZK 1000 fine. This has a consequence that they are rerouted on a dodgy exit leading to an even dodgier looking toll booth parking lot. Saint Paul heightened senses tell him it is a dangerous place, a place where Cher might even have come up with her famous song Gypsies, tramps and thieves. When Saint Nic asks his Saintliness whether or not to bring her phone he replies with a resolute yes. As Saint Nic makes her way into the ladies room, the Saint keeps an eye at her trusty red Honda to make sure no hoodlums are doing something that God forbids. Once both bladders have been emptied they make their way back to the parking lot to pay the godforsaken vignet. It becomes apparent from the moment his Saintliness makes his way into the queue that time has stood still here and western efficiency and modernisation is still hidden behind a rock waiting to be discovered. This is proven by the fact that the printout is still done on an old fashioned on an dot matrix printer.

Once the Hungarian and Slovak are finally been acquired, the Saints head back to the car to get some food. However, to the shock and horror of the Saint he notices his blue Booking backpack is very conspicuous with its absence. Not alone does it carry his freshly purchased Mavic Pro drone and all his electronic equipment but more importantly his passport. Even though the car had been locked, the Slovak thieves have managed to remotely unlock the car and steal the two backpacks and call it a day. Saint Paul can do not much else to wish them a miserable life and an unhappy future in which the gods may not have any mercy on their souls.

The Saints quickly head over to the vignette station to have them call the Slovak police and then head back to safeguard the car. Saint Paul uses the waiting time to use his saintly phone that he kept safe and sound in his pocket to call the Netherlands’ embassy in Slovakia to find out his options. Much to his surprise the embassy has no Dutch speakers on hand and their menu is as consumer friendly as an obnoxious waiter in a seedy restaurant. It quickly becomes clear he needs to stay in Bratislava until he gets a so called Laissez-passer because he will need it to enter and leave Romania. Once he has finished his phone call, it is a waiting game for the slow Slovak police to make their highly anticipated appearance. Unfortunately for the Saints, the three police officers do not seem to have fallen off the tree of intelligence. They look at the car from different angles and come to the conclusion that they don’t really know what happened. They then shrug their shoulders and say it is a well known area for car thieves and they should not have stopped here. Saint Paul is not very satisfied with this pathetic police investigation and asks the magic words: “Well, what now?” This triggers the three Stooges to hop back in their squad car and order the Saints to follow them.

The route takes them along a C road that would not be misplaced in a gruesome horror movie with severed limbs covering the many shrubberies, but fortunately it quickly changes into a rather normal road leading to the sleepy town of Kúty. The local police station is not much more than a small building with bars in front of the windows and a doctor like waiting area. The three Stooges first need to create a congregation and drink some tea to recover from their suddenly very busy Monday afternoon. Then they fire up their old 56k modem to access that newfangled contraption that is called the ‘internet’. Via this ‘internet’ they have access to all kinds of information and thanks to their input device which is called a ‘keyboard’ the chief is able to type letters into a screen where like magic words appear. It truly is a remarkable world we live in. Once the 56k modem is purring like a strangled kitten, a police report can finally be drafted and after several attempts, a nice looking A4 paper is filled with almost incomprehensible Slovak text put on there with a device called a ‘printer’.

20170711_113050With this piece of paper the Saint makes his way to the embassy one day later together with two freshly made profile pictures made at the local Kodak Express thanks to the advice of a fellow Paulian Slovak colleague, and €46.80 to acquire the highly wanted Laissez-passer. The Saints do need to wait a while for the document to be created but luckily there is a nice terrace with a hanging swing sofa in the shade making the wait quite nice. And being a true orange Dutchman he is sufficiently insured to buy everything back later on in life while the poor Slovak thieves will be all alone and crying after accidentally guiding their drone into a military convoy and as a result being imprisoned until eternity.

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