So much can happen in a weeks time, Especially now that the countries that we are riding through are greatly reduced in size.
We started the week off wild camping inside of Bear Country Slovenia (no worries, we never saw, heard, or smelled any bear), riding up 18% grades in Croatia (and if that wasn’t bad enough also getting food poisoning, who gets food poisoning in Croatia? India yes but Croatia?) and as of late we are taking it easy pedaling through Bosnia (a truly beautiful and underrated place.)
There wasn’t much actual time spent in Croatia, we opted for the less traveled route (like normal) away from the coastal town and instead into the countryside. It only took us 2 riding days to cross a small portion of the country, but we spent about 4 days total there. Most of it was in recovery mode in Plitvice Lakes, where there is said to be a wonderful National Park with it’s very unique habitat. Well we never got to see it, a little bit because of the food poisoning I had received and a bit because in every country we travel to we must be rained upon at some point. Those days we spent in Plitvice Lakes were the opportune time.
Crossing into Bosnia, make sure to ask for a stamp in your passport, with all the electronic paperwork making it easier for countries to keep track of your movements it sure is taking all the fun out of border crossings. We had to go back to Border Control and ask to be stamped in.
If it wasn’t for the memories of recent wars in and around Bosnia and the remnants that unrest leaves behind, (mostly the land mines) this place would be overrun with tourists. Bosnia really does have the feel of an undiscovered tourist destination. If only outdoor activities were a bit less dangerous to do. (rafting seems pretty popular here) That is the main reason why we wont be wild camping here. We have been informed that land mine areas are clearly marked, that accidents are extremely rare, and that detonators have an expiration date that is about up. Even with all that reassurance there will be no pushing our bikes into the trees and setting up camp. It’s very sad because there are such innocent looking places that seem to be just perfect for camping. And I’m sure they are, but would you chance it? No way! We’ll stick to Autocamp sites, cheap hotels, and of course Couchsurfing / Warmshowers / AirBnB.
What I have enjoyed so much about Eastern Europe thus far has really been the people we encounter. In Croatia we had old women blowing us kisses as we slogged up those 10 and 12 percent grades, we were given 2 crunchy apples during our lunch time break, and one woman even stored our bicycles over night in her garage to keep them extra safe. The people have been exceedingly nice. In Bosnia we had a group of teenagers clap for us as we entered town and at a hotel that was full up when we came into town one night a man got in his car an drove to an unmarked hotel so that we might have a place to rest for the evening. Simple things like this do a great service to me, by restoring my faith in humanity. It really doesn’t take much, just a simple good deed every once in a while and you can really make someone’s day. I know it does mine.