08-May-2004 -- After achieving confluence 43/21 in the UN administered province of Kosovo on 30 April 2004, the three experienced confluence explorers decided to find 43/22 in Serbia-Montenegro on Saturday 8 May 2004. We engaged another colleague, Patrick Morrison (since he has a vehicle) to take us there. Working in the United Nations in Kosovo has certain rules that preclude using certain vehicles in certain areas and we had to go through Kosovo, to the border at Macedonia, through Macedonia to the Serbian crossing north of Kumanova (to get an authentic Serbian Entry Stamp) and then north to Leskovac. A lovely spring day at 7am remained lovely even though Patrick forgot his insurance papers and we had a 2-hour delay returning to Kosovo for the papers.
We eventually drove north to Serbia, stopping at the hot mineral baths in Vranjska Banja where unfortunately, time and decay has hidden the beauty of a once prosperous and active sanatorium. We headed farther north, off the highway to the town/city of Leskovac, following our GPS, hoping to drive as close as possible.
The confluence was clearly designed for direct approach. Down a dirt main street, right onto to a dirt track, deep into the farmed and agricultural area of the village, following goat paths through the fields – all paths magically lead directly to where we were going. We parked beside some low greenhouses and with a few surprised Serbian farmhand faces, placed our heavily laden packs of survival gear onto our backs, prepared for the rigours of “confluence hiking”; and walked 50 metres to our point. Patrick was scolded for parking so far away since we could have drove right onto the spot except for the hay-wagon that trundled by. A short celebration, some photos and we headed for a late lunch in Lebane.
We decided to try to cross at the Serbia/Kosovo boundary line (not an active border) using our UN credentials. A beautiful winding road for an hour took us to the boundary crossing back to Kosovo. We arrived safely in Pristina in the early evening, having been through three province/countries and now have two confluences to our credit. This one was easy – the next one will probably be the stuff of legends. Marian, Robert and Simon (Patrick the Chauffeur too!)