Posts Tagged ‘Bosnia’


Man, what a day! Blue skies, climbs, mountain landscapes, wild boar hunts, amazing coastal roads, swimming in the turquoise water and an evening in Dubrovnik with the greatest group of cyclists ever. Life doesn’t get much better than this!

The cross at the Bosnian Herzegovinan - Croatian border

The cross at the Bosnian Herzegovinan – Croatian border

Yesterday was powered by Choco Lips. Today was powered by Bumm. We splashed out on this ice-cream treat spending our last Bosnian currency before returning back into Croatia.

Bumm

Bumm

Our last day through Bosnia Herzegovina was on a Sunday (today), which is hunting day. We passed lots of cars that had pulled over, with people with guns and bright fluorescent jackets. Cycling along, we heard the distant barking of dogs (and remembered the canine blur that jumped out at us from the bushes yesterday), but discovered that these dogs were hunting dogs. They were tracking down wild boar.

Wild boars

Wild boars

Just over the border, and we were back on the coast. What an amazing coast! Blue sky, turquoise water, and jugged mountains rising out of the water off the coast. We found our own little beach, and just a few days after driving through the snow, we swam in the sea, and had lunch on the beach.

Dalmation coast

Dalmation coast

Sunning on the Dalmation coast

Sunning on the Dalmation coast

And, yes, I went swimming again

And, yes, I went swimming again

In Dubrovnik we met 3 really cool cyclists, two cycling down to Croatia and then back up in Italy, and one who is cycling from France to New Zealand (http://afleurdeselle.wordpress.com). Our evening whizzed by sharing stories and dreams. It is so cool spending time with other cyclists en route and enjoying life.

The 5 cyclists

The 5 cyclists

Clèment told of dumster diving – eating from the masses of food that is thrown away each and every day. It was a real eye-opener. There is a lot of waste in our society!


Today was powered by Choco Lips. This scrumptious chocolate bar brought me through the hilly and beautiful landscape of southern Bosnia Herzegovina. Up glacial valleys and across beautiful plains, with an amazing cloudscape as backdrop.

Down to the plains in southern Bosnia Herzegovina

Down to the plains in southern Bosnia Herzegovina

The rain has left, to be replaced by partly cloudy skies, with lower temperatures perfect for cycling. I am glad to be alive, breathing in the fantastic vistas of wide open plains surrounded by beautiful jagged mountains. We didn’t make it to the coast, but rather to an old train station that has been turned into a lovely restaurant and apartments. Quite chic, but very acceptable for some tired cyclists.

Choco Lips

Choco Lips

On the plains in southern Bosnia Herzegovina

On the plains in southern Bosnia Herzegovina

On the plains in southern Bosnia Herzegovina

On the plains in southern Bosnia Herzegovina

The bullet-holed road to Neum

The bullet-holed road to Neum

10%

10%

Valley in southern Bosnia Herzegovina

Valley in southern Bosnia Herzegovina

Sunset at our valley in Zavala

Sunset at our valley in Zavala

We didn’t have any internet in Zavala. I am posting this entry from Day 44 in Dubrovnik. This lack of internet may happen more often now. Don’t get worried if I don’t post a blog every day. In all probability I will still be alive and enjoying life!


The last rest day. Local haircut, fortune telling and a hot bus ride through the cold mountain landscape. Tomorrow back on the bike towards Dubrovnik.

Muški frizer

Muški frizer

It has been raining now since we left Mostar. Ideal indoor weather, and ideal for getting a haircut. While I was waiting for James to have his hair cut, I did as the locals, and browsed through the available reading material.

Browsing the reading material at the barber

Browsing the reading material at the barber

We then had our coffee residues read to deduce our fortunes. I have a mountainous road ahead with obstacles that I will overcome. James has something to do with sheep.

Fortune telling

Fortune telling

It has been good having a break from cycling, but, I feel ready to jump back on the bike and cycle up some hills. The weather is clearing, and I think we will be cycling in the sun tomorrow. Yay!!

Day 41. 0km. Banja Luka

Posted: October 24, 2014 in Bosnia, Cycling
Tags: , ,

Alcohol, food, markets, alcohol, food, Banja Lukan hospitality, alcohol and food. A great mix to spend a rest day and to catch up with a friend. Banja Luka.

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Our day revolved around food and drink. We experienced wonderful Banja Lukan hospitality and cuisine at Aleksandra’s parent’s place. Nibbles followed by beautiful home-made Djuveč. Other culinary items during the day out on the town were various cakes and savoury items, pies, and alcohol. We considered at times sitting in the non-smoking cubicle, but, decided to sacrifice our clothes, hair, and an early death for the more pleasant surroundings. At the end of the day I couldn’t eat anything else, and feel I need to cycle over lots of mountain passes to repent my sins.

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Wash day has always been exciting. What will I wear? With a masterly stroke of genius, I only packed one pair of pants when I left. Up until now, I have worn cycling shorts, borrowed shorts with a belt to stop them falling down my legs, sports pants and various other items during the washing process. Unfortunately being naked is not an option, and it is too cold for that anyway. Today pants were on the shopping list. Some options were investigated, but, in the end, the purchases were restricted to food items.

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Today – the start of our rest days – the weather changed. Our cycling plans may have to as well. Looking out of the window of the bus on the way to Banja Luka, I see snow. Visiting my good friend Aleksandra in Banja Luka.

Snow in the Bosnian mountains

Snow in the Bosnian mountains

Drahtesel is parked in the garage in Mostar. A rest day or three mean I turn into a sloth. Sleep, internet, coffee with the hotel manager. The stories he tells of the war, how friends became enemies overnight, how everything was destroyed, it is so sad. As the rain pours down outside, we hear of the continuing ills of a nation trying to find it’s way forward. People rebuilding their lives while frustration and aggression, remembering the past, fester in the background.

Rain in Mostar

Rain in Mostar

The weather is grey, and the rain turns to snow as the bus winds it’s way round and round and up and up into the mountains in Bosnia. It is a beautiful landscape with deep valleys, beautiful gorges and little villages. We pass houses with ‘Warning, land mines’ signs just metres from the front door. A map of the mined areas (http://www.bosna.unas.cz/images/mapamin.jpg), sent by Aron, sends a shiver down my spine. It happened here, not long ago, and the legacy remains.

Snow in the Bosnian mountains

Snow in the Bosnian mountains

It’s great to see Aleksandra again – a friend and colleague from Philips, and to visit her home town. We will have a better chance to see Banja Luka in the day time tomorrow.

Me, James and Aleksandra

Me, James and Aleksandra


Isabella, persimmons and the search for the Snoopy snack bar. My first impressions of Bosnia – the country of happy, laid back people.

Buying persimmons in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Buying persimmons in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia always sounded adventurous – outside of the known, and into an unknown turbulent country on my doorstep. Leaving the Croatian coast – just 20km inland, and the feel of the place changed. This was no longer the main tourist drag, and it felt authentic and alive.

Bosnia is near

Bosnia is near

The border

The border

A stop on the side of the road to buy some persimmons introduced us to some lovely lovely people. A young girl, Isabella, was so very excited that we had stopped to buy some persimmons from her grandfather’s garden. She took some photos with us and sent them immediately to her friends. And, when we complimented her on her good english, she danced around in joy.

Me, Isabella and her grandfather

Me, Isabella and her grandfather

She loves her town, her country, and we had to taste the best kebabs in all of Bosnia Herzogevina in the next village – in the Snoopy Snack bar. Well, we had to try that. We left the (only vaguely) beaten track to find the snack bar – the source of nourishment of all the school kids from miles around.

The Snoopy Snack Bar

The Snoopy Snack Bar

Our points of contact with lovely, warm hearted people, Isabella and her grandparents, the guy serving us at Snoopy, and our hotel owner in Mostar, were separated by sprints along a busy main road plied by cars and trucks – all travelling fast, coughing out fumes, and creating a lot of noise pollution.

Mostar is a beautiful and eery place. Just opposite our hotel, the building is pocked with bullet holes from the war, just a decade ago. It is sad that such hatred and anger can ruin the lives and everything for the people here. Walking down the street in the old town, lit by yellow lights in the dark of the evening, we heard a mosque call for prayer, and saw 3 or 4 mosques lit up. On the top of the hill, high up, was a solitary cross, standing there silence in the distance. On the bridge was written ‘Do not forget, 1993’.

Mostar

Mostar

Mostar

Mostar

Aleksandra, my friend that we are visiting tomorrow in Banja Luka, advised that we should eat meat – ‘that is what they eat here’. Well, we did. It was massive. The cat (one of the many) was also interested.

Me and the cat

Me and the cat

Then back to our chaotic abode. Nourished and content.

Chaos

Chaos


My route through Europe, on the way from the Netherlands to Australia by bike is complete. Well, I have a draft route with lots of options. And I will definitely end up cycling something else. That’s part of the fun. Still, it’s nice to have a basic plan to make some timing estimates.

World Bike Trip 2014: Route through Europe

World Bike Trip 2014: Route through Europe

The starting date is 13 September 2014. Here are some expected dates (very approx):

  • Stelvio pass 28.09.2014
  • Trieste 05.10.2014 – then one week on the Istria peninsula
  • Thessaloniki 30.10.2014

I plan to arrive in Istanbul the start of December. Clearly I will have about one month extra up my sleeve, so, depending on how I feel, I will do detours on the way. One I have in mind is cycle to Athens, then take the boat to Chios, and then cycle up the Turkish coast to Istanbul. Let’s see.

Once arriving in Istanbul, I will take a break for about 3 months for the seasons to change. I will spend Christmas in Australia before returning to Istanbul to continue the trip.

Many thanks to lots of friends and people from the cycling forums for their tips and advice. A lot of it has been built into the route. In fact, in many countries, I have lots of different options for my route, which are visible in the links below. See how I feel when I get there. Here are the more detailed routes and notes on the different countries in Europe.