After a late night talking with Lukas, I woke early, but went back to sleep. I didn’t have far to go, and plenty of time to get there. I chatted with Lukas, ate breakfast, and checked the weather. Which called for heavy rain and thunderstorms in Banja Luka at 1:00 pm. I scrambled.
I left at 9:00 am, pushing hard to beat the rain. Choosing the most straight-line meant major highway (my intended path anyway). I encountered heavy traffic all day, although with shoulder, sidewalk, or rudimentary cycle path. My last few days have spoiled me, and the traffic frazzled me. It took a while for me to internalize that the path I was on wasn’t bad; indeed, I’ve merrily followed similar conditions across the countryside. It was the traffic six feet away that frazzled me. I arrived in Banja Luka by 12:30 pm and checked in at the hostel.
By the time I emerged from the shower, heavy rain literally thundered down. I pulled out a book.
By 2:30 pm the rain stopped and I wandered forth. The heavy rain resumed before I made it to the castle. The castle as an attraction is closed, although clearly renovations are underway. I hunkered down in the castle restaurant (the first thing completed of course) to wait out the rain. After that I explored the inner city.
As happens almost every trip around this point, I felt a bit discombobulated. In Bosnia and Herzegovina the signs are Cyrillic (and unusually rarely in English). Few people speak English. I hate cycling on sidewalks. Everything feels dirty and run-down. Only cycling part of the day, I also stopped eating and crashed (my “hungry” indicator tends to get confused). I recollected that I’m always down when leaving good company, especially in this case for a solitary hostel. I grabbed something to eat; they were friendly and worked with me to help me figure out lunch. I eventually found my center again.
Tomorrow is another (well the same) big road. After 10 km I’m stuck with it for 50+ km unless I backtrack-there’s not an alternate path from there, just steep mountain gorge. Even then variation will mean climbing over the valley ridge. More rain in the forecast tomorrow as well. I’m not thrilled.