180513-Crossing Over (Croatia > Bosnia)

Camping at Eco Eto Selo Strug left me unimpressed. They’re still under construction, and intended more for people renting cabins. The staff were quite friendly abd accommodating however. The shower was cold (an immediate two thumbs down). 4 km north today I found a great place for wild camping.

I planned a short day today, providing plenty of time for problems at the border between Croatia and Bosnia.

I find that much of Europe looks like the rest of Europe, only varying by degree of repair. There’s a particular style of house in Croatia that I kept encountering, noteworthy because of their wooden construction, and that at least half of them are abandoned. Indeed, the closer I cycled to Bosnia, the more abandoned buildings I encountered, even in the more densely populated areas. Sometimes more often than every other house.

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Except for my initial confusion from entering the lane for trucks, the border guards on the Croatia and Serbia sides looked at my passport and stamped it. Quite anticlimactic.

I’d booked the hostel through booking.com (my backup when I can’t find something in hostelworld.com). I followed the GPS coordinates directly to the hostel. And no hostel. I double checked everything, and cycled in a half-block radius, but the street numbers and names didn’t line up.

Well, that’s the reason I’m paying for the international phone plan. I called the hostel, and although the response to the question of whether she spoke English was, “Yes, I speak English,” she clearly didn’t. Two tries later I gave that up. I asked a couple of people nearby before finding two cyclists who brought me directly to the hostel, about a half-block farther than I had ranged.

Checking in she used the “dial a friend” option, and I worked out the accommodation over a phone, passing the phone back and forth. I still needed money, so after leaving my gear, I cycled to an ATM for money to pay for my bed.

Checking in soon after me was a German cyclist, Lukas. Lukas is on day 37, starting in Germany, and is headed towards China over the next couple of years, which made the evening more interesting than expected. We ate dinner in the room at the hostel, then went out to dinner, then back to the room for a snack. All the while we talked about cycling. His planned route into Istsnbul via Bulgaria overlaps mine from my Istanbul to Ireland trip.

I looked at the route for tomorrow, and noticed multiple hostels in Banja Luka. Further investigation shows a large fortress and cathedral. Hostel reservation made, and only 50 km tomorrow. Excited about the new day.

I’m concerned about the upcoming mountains; I suspect in the upcoming days very short or very long days (which could be the same days).

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