June 5 – Monday

Another very early morning – skipped to the loo just after 5, and found little blackie heading for my tent. Fed him most of the canned food, then he came inside the tent and snuggled next to my left knee for over an hour. Fed him the rest of the canned food when I got up and left the rest of the crunchies in several piles on the rock wall for whichever cat wants them. Packed up my stuff and hung the tent and ground cover on my clothesline to air a bit.

Ate breakfast on a picnic table and went to say goodbye to Pascal, Tauli, Heike and Chris. Got all of their email add’s and took a couple of pic’s. Heike repeated that they have an extra bedroom in their apartment in Augsburg, Bavaria, and would love for Tauli or myself to visit. I will keep in touch – you never know.
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The showers and dish/laundry sinks here seem to all have different handles – they look the same but you have to turn them this way or that for the hot water, and some are upside down. Plumber must have been drunk when he put them together.

Left the campsite just after 9 – awful ride to Split, but I expected that. Almost got sideswiped by a bus, so ended up pushing my bike through the weeds at the side of the road for awhile. Got back to riding, and witnessed a car crash on the main road into the centre of town. I heard the initial crash up ahead, and saw a small car pushed into oncoming traffic – it caught the back-end of a van that was going thru the intersection. Folks rushed to help an elderly couple out of the one car – I don’t think they were wearing their seatbelts as the old man that was driving was bleeding profusely from his forehead and the woman seemed to be in complete shock, although not visibly bleeding.

Made it to the bus station without too much trouble, but was told by the ticket agent that I’d have to ask the driver if he could take my bike. Waited for the 10:55 bus that ended up being 50 minutes late. A very nice girl (from NZ, judging by the accent) made sure I’d heard the announcement as she knew I couldn’t just leave the bike to go inside to find out where the bus was.

Bus finally arrived, and not that many people got on. The driver agreed that there was room for the bike and told me how much extra it’d. be – 40 kune (about $8), so I rushed to the ATM then inside to get my ticket. There was a lady at the window discussing something with the agent, and I told them ‘my bus is about to leave – it’s waiting for me’ and they were kind enough to get me my ticket before concluding their business. Ran back to the bus – driver was getting impatient (actually had left my bike, fully loaded, leaned against the bus while I rushed for the cash and ticket). He demanded the cash for the bike and the bags and motioned for me to hurry while he opened a door at the back of the bus for my bike. I ripped all the bags off and threw the bike in (no help from mister impatience) and hopped on.

Drove on the road that goes past the campground – much different trip on a bus than a bike! Followed the coast most of the way then turned inland.
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Passed a wide valley just before the border that looks very fertile, with canals everywhere.
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At the border they collected everyone’s passports, not just non-European’s. Took almost 1/2 an hour, and when I got mine back there weren’t even any stamps. After about 5-10 minutes of driving we stopped at what look like a very small strip mall or something and quite a few people got off. One lady said ‘if you are going to Mostar you have to change to the other bus here’ – driver didn’t bother saying anything! Me, the Swedish guy in front of me, and the NZ couple in the back made a mad dash to get off, collect our stuff and get to the other bus. Once again no help from the driver with anything. The driver of the other bus, however, was even worse. He looked at me like I was crazy. The open holding bays had one large area and two smaller ones. The large one was full of all the passenger’s luggage, and I had to squish the bike somehow into the two smaller areas, with bars between. The very kind NZ couple helped me out again – together we managed to twist the handlebars and slide the front wheel through the bars so the back wheel wasn’t sticking out. The driver wasn’t impressed, but I was.

Didn’t take that long to arrive in Mostar – got more assistance from NZ couple to get the bike out, and threw my gear together. Got a bit of cash from an ATM, bot a bottle of water from a very nice kiosk lady that spoke English, and also got directions to the town of Blagaj that I’d chosen to check out – 12 km away on very flat road.

Made it out of Mostar ok – road to Blagaj not too bad, although a little narrow. Found the campsite no problem – decent signage for a change. It’s right on the river Buna, and I think it’s just the fellow’s yard that he’s turned into a campsite. Could not be more different than the one in Stobrec, which was huge. This place would hold about 3 or 4 campervans, and maybe 2-3 tents. Across the river from us is a cafe and restaurant – we’re really right in the town (only 3000 people live here).

We have a little kitchen we get to use with a gas stove and fridge. Bot some real food at the store across the bridge, and had hot soup for dinner. Also get to use a small table and chair – no more sitting cross-legged on a mat, at least for now.

It’s Ramadan here (Bosnia Herzegovina is Muslim) and they aren’t supposed to eat between sunrise and sunset. To let everyone know when it’s ok to eat again they let a gun (or fireworks) off at sunset. Luckily there’s a notice about that in the kitchen, so when the blast went off I didn’t panic.

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