On our first morning in Bosnia we scoffed the most amazing chocolate croissants, sitting in the sunshine, before filling our panniers with more croissants, donuts and bread from a very lovely and very cheap bakery. This set the tone for our whole stay in Bosnia.
We set off along a picturesque river through alpine mountains and hills, before turning off onto a gravel track and climbing into the hills. It was a tough, technical climb, but the views were fantastic. After lunch and a descent the hills were covered with limestone, quite like at Selside, and we had another gravel climb. That night we camped right next to the road in a meadow, and didn’t see anyone all evening.
The next morning was cold and frosty, and we had a steep gravel climb up 500m first thing. At the top we were rewarded with donuts and the road turning to asphalt, for a long and windy descent into a beautiful alpine valley. Two more climbs, luckily not gravel but very steep, took us into Konjic.
We stayed two nights in Konjic at Orhan’s (WS) hostel. Orhan was awsome, he had agreed for us to get some new zips posted to him, and they arrived as we did, and he showed us round the town, told us alot about Bosnia and Konjic, helped us finally get out Albanian Lek changed and we had some nice long chats at the coffee shop. We had a nice day off the bikes fixing stuff and relaxing.
After saying goodbye to Orhan we headed to Sarajevo on the main road. It was a bit busy, but after an easy climb, it was all downhill. We arrived into Sarajevo just after lunch, and went to fulfill a dream of Jim’s. We climbed up into the hills south of Sarajevo, up some incredibly steep (20%!!) hills, into the woods, to find the abandoned Bob sleigh track which has been seen by Jim in many a mountain biking video. We found it, we rode down it, and it was pretty awsome. Less awsome was the long, steep, descent back into Sarajevo with our constantly squealing brakes.
Dream fulfilled, we left Sarajevo early, and had an easy day’s ride along a valley towards Croatia. It was very scenic and we managed quite a few bakery stops. After seeing the castle at Vranduk we found a field above a village to camp in, and the Easter bunny came so Jim could do an Easter egg hunt.
That morning was freezing, and we hadn’t managed to find a tent spot which got the morning sun, so we had another cold start. Another long and flat day gave us achey bums, but by the time we reached the hills near Derventa it was hot enough for an ice cream stop. We have realised the most cost effective way to have ice-cream is to share a tub, and enjoyed a jaffa cake tub of chocolate, chocolate-orange, biscuit and orange ice cream. We managed to find a much better camp spot, which got the morning sun, luckily as the condensation on the tent was frozen when we woke up.
In the morning we cycled into Brod for our last Bosnian bakery before crossing into Croatia. There was a long, busy que at the border as we re-entered the EU. We cycled into Slavenski Brod, and crossed our own path from 10 months ago. Croatia seemed nicer this time round, we were on quieter roads through the hills.
We had one nice big climb before reaching Orahovica, where we rewarded ourselves with very yummy ice cream before going to find Zdenko, our WS host. He was really nice, and had a Dutch couch surfing guest as well. We spent a great evening together eating and drinking and exchanging travel stories. Zdenko’s friends came over too, and brought local wine and delicious cakes.
Moral is much higher this week now the terrible weather has stopped and I have stuffed myself with baked goods. We really enjoyed Bosnia, but are getting a bit worried about how few countries left we have to cycle through. Home is on the horizon!
Jim’s words – Track, Squirrel, Repairs, Bobsleigh, Pain, Jaffa and Feast.