Nottingham

Cousins complete Croatia hitchhike

Sam and Chris Ogrizovic Image copyright Papa's Journey
Image caption Sam and Chris Ogrizovic managed to find their way to Brlog, Croatia, in five days

Two cousins who set off on a 1,100-mile (1,770km) trek in honour of their late grandfather who fled Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia have reached Croatia.

Sam and Chris Ogrizovic's grandfather Nicola escaped Brlog when he was 14 years old.

He was kept prisoner in Italy for five years and later moved to Ravenshead, Nottinghamshire, for mining work.

Now his grandsons have hitchhiked the journey in reverse in five days without consulting a map or spending money.

The pair set off on on 1 May. Along the way they spent a night at a service station in the Austrian Alps and hitchhiked to Zagreb with a lorry driver who spoke no English.

As they walked through rural Croatia they met a couple who took them in for the night.

"We explained our story and they took us to their home in Ogulin and we started on the raki [alcoholic drink]," the pair wrote on their Facebook page.

Image copyright Papa's Journey
Image caption Sam and Chris met up with their grandfather's relatives who had been trying to make contact with them in the UK

"The hospitality shown has gone beyond kindness.

"Sounds gushy, but a truly life changing night!"

The couple, Toni and Goga, drove the cousins to Brlog and acted as translators as they discovered relatives they had not previously known about.

"We went to the cemetery and found the graves of my Papa's father, mother and sister, then we got taken to someone that knew my Papa and as we were sat talking through the translator they mentioned we were sat in his old house!" they said.

"After that we were told we had family in the village who had been trying to contact us but failed.

"So emotional.....celebrating with family we never knew we had and Papa has returned home!"

Nicola Ogrizovic, known as Nick, died from Alzheimer's disease last year, aged 86.

Sam, 30, from Nottinghamshire and cousin Chris, 31, son of former Coventry City goalkeeper Steve Ogrizovic, decided to take on the challenge at their grandfather's funeral.

The pair have so far raised more than £5,300 for the Alzheimer's Society.

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