Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Escaped from Sarajevo.......

…......but currently stuck in a hostel in Dubrovnik with some very loud and annoying north American youths. Not bad kids but all terribly impressed with themselves and their travels.

Didn't leave Sarajevo until 12 noon and it had warmed up to 5 degrees, with most of the snow melted. It was still cold and low cloud though, so the ride down towards Mostar was horrible – cold, wet and a bit miserable – but once we reached the top of the mountains, it got warmer and drier.

There was a big traffic jam getting out of the city ;they had the road up just past the flower market and there was no contraflow. So we sat there, talking to passers by who wanted to know where we'd come from, where we were going, what the bikes were, and how fast they went.We're getting used to this sort of thing now, and its quite a laugh.

 The flower market was the scene of a particularly senseless bombing during the war, when civilians queueing for bread were shelled by Serbian troops and many were killed. The memorial is at the rear of the market. ( can't find the pics for this but will post when I do)

Also drove past several Sarajevo Roses - places where shells landed and marked the ground. Rather than repair them and leave no trace, they filled them in and painted them read as a permanent marker.
Stopped in Mostar for a quick look around. Rode right past Sniper Tower, infamous from the war, and also the bridge at Mostar which was totally trashed in 1993 for no apparent reason other than to destroy morale. I can clearly remember seeing the bridge battle on the TV news at the time, so it was weird to see it today, rebuilt, and all peaceful, albeit infested with tourists. I'd forgotten that the Croats teamed up with the Serbs and fought the Bosnians, despite the Croats and Serbs being bitter enemies until then, and the Croats having started the battle ( and the war) in the first place. 

Then carried on down the coast road into Croatia, then back into Bosnia and then Croatia again. Did three border crossings today but no trouble at all. Decided to stop in Dubrovnik because Nadine didn't feel that great, not ill but just a bit crap, so an earlier stop was a good call. Going to do Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia tomorrow, so another long day is on the cards.

The rattle is back on my bike, so I need to doctor it before we ride tomorrow. Also, we have to do the 2500km oil change and there is a handy bit of scrub land just down the road just made for the job. The hostel is in a nice residential road, so a bit of bike farkling on their street probably wouldn'tgo down too well with the neighbours.