Leaving Maribor this morning in the mist and rain - which then turned into thick, thick rain all the way through the rest of Slovenia, and through Croatia, and intoSerbia, where at last it rather sulkily cleared up. The excitements involved various border crossings, large brown hawks perched on fence posts, herons, cranes (of the feathered variety), tall thin churches with onion domes - not big ones, but more like spring onions - and the occasional rest stops, with coarse pink toilet paper - the sort one used to get in Italian trains three decades ago.
Arriving in Belgrade made me remember, instantly, coming here on a Magic Bus from England to Greece in 1982 - one of the last years that Magic Bus was in business, I suspect, for it certainly didn't deserve to be then. The big apartment blocks are still there, and the hideous long grey concrete Hotel Yugoslavia (almost impossible to imagine what Queen Elizabeth thought when she found she was staying there; indeed, impossible to imagine it having any status whatsoever as a luxury hotel). Our own hotel, just outside New Belgrade, is rather rickety, if hew, with perennially bubbling water moving along the pipes.