Oh, what a horrible way to start my Balkans Road trip. The trip began the day after my birthday, but what a miserable birthday it was.
Read more from my classic trip report through the Balkans
Introduction: Road Trip Through The Balkans
Review: US Airways A330-300 Business Class Philadelphia To Munich
Balkans Day 1: Sick In Belgrade
Balkans Day 2: Belgrade – Sarajevo
Balkans Day 3: Sarajevo – Dubrovnik
Balkans Day 4: Beauitful Dubrovnik
Balkans Day 5: Accused Of Espionage In Montenegro
Balkans Day 6: The Diverse Architecture Of Tirana, Albania
Balkans Day 7: Refreshment In Kosovo
Balkans Day 8: Racism In Skopje + A Pirated Hollywood Premiere
Balkans Day 9: Timeless Thessaloniki
Review: Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki
Review: Aegean Business Lounge Thessaloniki (SKG)
Review: US Airways A330 Business Class Frankfurt To Philadelphia
I have this skin condition called erythropoietic protoporphyria (EEP)…it’s absolutely handicapping and is triggered by sun exposure. Well, I spent my birthday driving from Frankfurt to the Black Forest to meet Heidi’s parents, stopping to cut flowers in a field, and then sitting outside in their beautiful garden.
Oh, did I have a skin reaction…
These skin reactions generally last 24-48 hours and are marked by unrelenting, intense pain…it feels like my hands are on fire. Literally.
When this happens…and this has been a struggle all my life…I take antihistamines and sleep it off. Sleep is the process by which the body corrects itself.
And I have a mild version of this genetic defect…
For any dermatologists out there, if you ever hear of any treatment options for EEP, please do let me know. People ask me why I don’t like beaches and I usually just say the sun doesn’t agree with me. That’s quite an understatement…
And of course here I was heading to the Balkans for a week in the height of August heat.
Life cannot just be lived indoors, though I have seriously considered re-locating to a region that offers far more clouds and rain than direct sunlight.
Anyway, what made this trip difficult was that when I have a reaction, I must take myself out of the sun. Fully. While it takes extended exposure to the sun to trigger my reaction, once a reaction occurs even one minute in the sun can greatly exacerbate it.
So you can appreciate the dilemma. Had this happened today, I’d just cancel the trip. Simple. Done.
But in the indiscretion of my youth, I decided to proceed anyway. Now it ended up working out okay, but it was a foolish risk in retrospect.
From Frankfurt I flew to Belgrade in Lufthansa Business Class. Want to know how bad I was feeling? My flight was oversold and Lufthansa was offering 400EUR cash to fly JAT (the precursor to Air Serbia) a few hours later. Cash plus the chance to review a new airline? That’s usually a no-brainer for me, but I declined it. I just wanted to get Belgrade, get to the Hyatt, and sleep this off.
Lunch was served on the flight, though I did not touch it…you don’t really think about eating when your hands are on fire.
We landed in Belgrade. I did not even argue with one of the crooked taxi touts inside the terminal because I didn’t want to deal with it and he only wanted $10 to take me to my hotel.
I checked into the Hyatt Regency Belgrade, took a few pictures of my room, and loaded up on Benadryl. It was the middle of the afternoon and I soon fell asleep and did not awake until morning…16 hours later.
And a lovely view outside…
Yes, talk about a great first day of a trip.
But things would start looking up from there.
Love the view from the room LOL. I am wondering if one day the soviet-esque architecture will one day be looked upon fondly.
FYI, that is so called ‘international’ style…. nothing to do w your prejudice.
Tagamet or Zantac . I know they’re supposed to be anti-heartburn. But they’re also histamine 2 blockers. Combined withe a reg antihistamine they can be extremely effective.
Tagamet = cimetidine, btw.
That is fascinating. Are you a doctor? Do you think it would be safe for adults to take?
Not an MD. But Tagamet is an over the counter Med, that many people take every day. I’d be more concerned about Benadryl side effects than Tagamet.
An ER doc once had me combine tagamet with Benadryl to combat a bee sting reaction. Of course you need epinephrine for actual anaphylaxis, but Benadryl + Tagamet works wonders for the longer term swelling and itching. I mean it’s frickin magical. I’ve used it for all sorts of reactions since then.
What about hydroxychloroquine?
Ken M, you joke about that, but it has been absolutely absurd the emotionalism around that issue, which has been proven over and over again to be a legitimate treatment for the current virus…despite what you hear from the emotional and inaccurate American hate-filled media.
Not totally off-base. Hydroxychloroquine is used for Porphyria cutanea tarda.
But it is not OTC and has serious potential side effects.
It’s nice hearing that I’m not the only one dealing with a skin condition (not that I would wish anyone to have skins that burns and becomes blood red when irritated), who is able to do many things! I, myself have very severe eczema that flairs up due to the sun as well as other things. I just wonder though, how do you cover it? Especially since you live in California, a state known for being sunny, and travel a lot to sunny places. Do you wear gloves? Long sleeves?
I wear trousers and long sleeve shirts most days, workout indoors or go running at dusk, wear gloves when I drive, and wear gloves and walk around with an umbrella if I have to be outside in the sun.
You hands weren’t literally on fire unless you had flames shooting out of them. If that were true, you have bigger problems than EEP 😉
It looks like you’ll never have a good time in Belgrade. That tells much more about you then this town.
Avoiding the extremes of the sun makes sense for everyone, not only those with diagnosed conditions such as this. Frequent flyers already get a mega load of radiation, but some then choose to get burned to a crisp on a beach.
You’ll never catch me laying on a beach!
I knew a girl who was struggling with bad skin condition for years. She tried everything, she went to a clinic called CEA in Belgrade and they did some sort of ‘resonant medicine’ on her, after the exam they told her not to eat certain foods, and luckily she is fine now, she is cured. I am sorry you had bad time in my hometown. Wish you all the best.
It is unfair criticism of Serbia Belgrad and Serbs people. Do you now that you the monsters from apparently democratic West bombarded these people, killed them poisoned them with deplited Uranium. You destroyed in Serbia schools, hospitals infrastructure, chemical plants as additional spread of chemicals add to the deplited uranium from bombs. Now days, many Serbs are daying1 from cancer as result of your bestal and inhuman attacks.That was outraged bombing and destruction in 1999 . It has done over the Serbs when the Serbs said they are not going to side with globalists, Satanist and peadofiles of the West. They have shown that they were in the right side of the History. You, democratic monsters should be shame off whit you did to them. You did it, that MMF and other financial monsters organisations can make money. It was not done by USA or EU people. It was done by 5-10% of you who did not care for anybody but for your own pocket money. Don’t you know that you can note take that money to your graves? You can only end up with Satana to hell what I wish to Satanistic globalists Bill Clinton Hyllary,Clark, Olbrite, Blair, Shorosh, Bush and on the list is so long that can not be displayed. Cheers guys
My post was not at all a critism of Belgrade or Serbia. Sadly, I never got to walk though the beautiful streets of Belgrade because I was too sick. Serbia had nothing to do with my genetic defect…
Oh Sophie, you’re not supposed to drink the disinfectant…