We headed west from Bulgaria via Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia towards Italy. We were pleasantly surprised how smoothly we were able to travel from one country to the next. At each border our passports were checked once on leaving the country and again on entering the next. Vehicle documents were examined and a customs officer often came on board to physically check the inside of the truck. No mention was made of Covid. Usually the whole procedure took no more than half an hour. We stopped overnight at fuel stations, restaurants were open but only serving coffee and snacks – we catered in the truck.
When we reached Slovenia we needed to stop for a day or two to relax and do the laundry. It looked such a beautiful country, it reminded us of Austria, clean and well-ordered with rolling green hills and prosperous looking farming communities. We looked for a camp site but it seemed nothing was open during the winter months.
We also had a problem with Slovenian road tolls. We were travelling in an elderly truck with no modern emission controls, thus contravening EU regulations. On entering Slovenia we had to purchase (€10) a digital toll responder and load it with €45 of credit. Every few miles the responder gave a single beep showing our credit was still good. An hour or so into our journey the responder started giving a double beep indicating our credit was being used up. The cost of one day’s drive had now reached €65 and the annoying double beep still persisted. We felt pressured to leave Slovenia before our bank balance was further plundered.
When we reached the border with Italy all vehicles were able to drive straight through without any checks at all. We planned to stay a few days at our regular camp site at Fusina, opposite Venice. We arrived just as it was getting dark but were refused entry to the camp site because we didn’t have a negative Covid test certificate. The huge site was almost empty of visitors but there was no offer to let us stay segregated from the other visitors in a quarantined area – nor did they have any information as to where we might get a Covid test. Camping Fusina had committed the ultimate sin of turning away a traveller just as it was getting dark.
We eventually found a deserted fuel station on a busy roundabout and spent a comfortable and undisturbed night there.
Driving into Fusina we had noticed a woman sitting in an old camper van parked under a bridge. On our way back when we were searching for somewhere to stop overnight we passed the van again and noticed this time there was a car parked next to the van. It was much later when we realised she was probably a working prostitute. Imagine our red faces if we had tried to park up beside her – would she have taken us for customers or the competition?