Two blogs from the same spot! I"m getting lazy. Time came to check out yesterday and I decided to stay another day in Sarajevo and relax. Moving on every day gets a bit tiring after a few weeks. Even though I didn"t go far a few interesting things still happened to make it a good day.
In the morning I attended to some housekeeping items including a trim in one of the many "Frizerski" (hairdressing) salons in the city. I was amazed that the 30 year old hairdresser in very broken English, was so concerned that I would be missing my family - on a 10 week holiday compared to what this country endured 14 years ago!
My wife will be glad to hear I also picked up some antihistamines and adrenalin injections from the local Apotheke (chemist) just in case I get stung by one or more of the huge bees getting around the country. I had been worried about bee stings for several days and as I am not much use within 25 minutes of being stung, I thought some drugs to self administer would be a good idea.
After washing that riding shirt that is now in almost every photo of me, I went looking for the Tunnel of Life out near the airport. Although I found the sign easily enough, I never did find the actual entrance even though I asked three different locals to show me. Maybe it was designed that way.
I rode through the 1960s residential areas - reminded me of Canberra - then into some new construction suburbs - see the colourful pic. I then followed some local instructions (always difficult due to language constraints towards the old 1984 winter Olympic site, ačong the road which was the front line in the war. I have avoided making this a story to show devastation, preferring to concentrate on the (many) positive aspects of Bosnia, but have included several sober shots for you. Suffice to say after 14 years you can still see there has been some trouble. I was struck by the ease with which one could lob missiles down onto the city from the mountain and wreak so much havoc on the humanity therein. Imagine sitting on top of Mt Melville and lobbing shells down onto Albany"s CBD, it"s that close.
The road itself is in reasonable repair and made for a nice cruisy afternoon ride through the forrest area known as " Trebenič". I found myself really enjoying being out in the countryside again - check out the pics. A man in one of those ubiquitous 20 year old VW Golfs saw me taking off from a photo stop and stopped me for a chat. He seemed very glad to see me and claimed in broken English, to be Canadian!
I rode on past the horses in the photo and was in need of some fuel as the trip had gone for longer than expected. I turned into a driveway of a small, steep farm where four men were stacking hay by hand (oh, and one woman but nobody seemed to notice her). I wanted to photograph the man on top of the stack but they all rushed over to the bike to greet me so I missed that chance. The youngest man told me I was only 6km from fuel and I chatted for a while with him and another, older man who proudly told me that in the time of Tito"s rule, he learned three languages, including German, ut his English was scant. The man from the top of the stack wanted to know how much money the bike had cost - I converted the amount as best I could and thought about how impossible my journey seems to these people. Although they live so close to all that Europe offers, they appear trapped by relative poverty and language and cultural barriers and remain on their farms which they run very inneficiently but traditionally. I bade them farewell and rode away thinking that while I really enjoy taking a quick look at their quaint lifestyle, I am glad to be a visitor and not actually living there.
The pertroč town was "Pače" and again, people looked at the bike as if it was a spaceship, although I passed another fairly large, modern Jap bike as I left town.
Back in Sarajevo i was searching for another restaurant that didn"t offer a Turkish bread based menu when I said G"day to six men sitting at a table, obviously wearing bike gear. Turns out they are from Croatia and one spoke good English, so I accepted their invitation to join them for dinner. Again I was greatful for the hospitality and enjoyed the interraction with people from a different world to my own.
Today is my birthday Kent, it"s an easy date to remember - 24/7! Sandi called me last night claiming I was already 49 but I said I would hang on to 48ness for another couple of hours! In a few minutes i will head out to Tuzla, armed with the free map I picked up at the tourist centre - they told me the 120km would take at least two hours to travel - so sounds like a good road! I am nearly ready to head home though, it"s been over 7 weeks I think. My friends last night told me I will need a green card in Serbia as well, so I don"t know how I"ll go without one - maybe I"ll get sent home early - or maybe some Euros will fix it.
As usual enjoy the pics - I"m off to take some more.