May 1, 2006

KRAPINA, Croatia – We keep blundering into Slovenia. All we want is the castle, but no .... we're looping endlessly in a strudel bowl of roads, marked only with signs for "Krapina Man".

The world's largest Neanderthal finding site is no laughing matter. Except when – a la Hotel California – you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

Between us, Ed and I tally 73 years. Nonetheless, like second-graders, we can't stop sniggering at the words "Krapina" and "Krapinske" – no doubt perfectly innocuous in Serbo-Croatian.

The laughter does not improve our navigational ability. Wired, respectively, on espresso and Pepsi, we've reached the comedy stage of the twelve-day Balkan road trip.

Small wonder. Everything is funny, after a night of accordion hymns backed by car-horn percussion.

"Rough Guide mentions hills," I finally sputter. "Up. Let's drive up."


And so we finally find the castle. But not the castle we hoped to find.

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