Fortunately this was pre-internet and cheap international phone calls so our parents didn't know till much later where we had been. (Although if we had the internet we probably would have been better informed and might have thought better of doing it!)

Photos all taken surreptiously and in dreadful pollution.


Yugoslavia at the time was still a Communist dictatorship but the tensions which would later lead to its violent break-up and the Serbo-Croatian war were starting to build. In 1989 the conflict was centered on the Kosovo region, which we drove through to get to Greece. In March (a month before we arrived) a state of emergency was declared in the region after strikes, rallies and riots after Serbian nationalist Slobodan Miloševic overthrew and replaced the largely Muslim (ethnic Albanian) local officials. At the time we didn’t know much about the background, just that it was not the safest place to be travelling through. Nor the most pleasant, as the towns were dire and the air constantly smoky and yellow with pollution. Driving through the mountains on a narrow road we overtook a truck, only to turn a corner and realise we had accidentally planted ourselves in the middle of a military convoy on its way to suppress the uprising. In front of us was an army truck full of laughing young soldiers waving and pointing to their Russian machine guns and rifles. They were amused but we were not too happy at making ourselves a target for any roadside rebels. It was a relief to make it to Skopje, where we bought a rug at the bazaar then quickly pressed on to a lakeside hotel and campground near the border with Greece.

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