Into Bosnia and Herzegovina

We ate bread, mustard, cucumber, cheese, and cured meat as we watched the  rusty an old white Mercedes pull up next to the basketball court where we were sitting.  We continued sipping our white wine as we watched a man get out and disappear in the bushes.  We heard livestock bells ringing.  Within a few minutes, the man returned out of the woods following his two cows.  He got into his car and continued to herd them down the street, back into town, applying liberal use of the car horn.  The man had glanced at us when he first pulled up but I thought nothing of it.  We planned to sleep right here, next to the basketball court and soccer field outside of a small town.

About 30 minutes later the car returned, this time with a passenger, and the car drove out onto the basketball court and parked next to us. The passenger got out and started talking to us in a langue we did not understand.  Nic got up and tried to communicate back with some English and some Ukrainian.  We couldn’t tell when he was saying.  He wasn’t over aggressive and seemed to just be trying to communicate his point. He confirmed that we spoke english before getting back in the car as they departing.

I gathered two things from the encounter. The first was that there was a problem, that word sounds familiar enough. whether or not he thought we had a problem that needed fixing, or we were the problem was unclear.  The second thing I understood was “police”, something to do with the police.  So there we were, still snacking and drinking wine, confused as to what had just happened.  We finished eating and pushed our bikes to set up the tents in the soft grass behind the court.

Just as we slipped into the tents I hear Nic say, “There is a flashing blue light over there.” Sure enough, as I look out my tent door I can see a flashing light coming down the street. I turn off my music and watch as it pulls into the basketball court and drive away slowly. We are obscured from view behind some bushes and a limestone wall.  We are not hiding, this is just a nice place to sleep. Ten minutes later another car slow-rolls the road.  Not much to do but try and sleep. I read some and eventually fall asleep.

I am awakened by a bright light shinning through my open tent door and someone saying “police”.  They walk to Nic and give him a similar treatment. Nic talks to them as I pull on my shorts and a jacket.  The two men Mercedes-men have returned with an older police officer and a local 18 year old kid.  Ante is his name and he is here to translate.  He almost immediately tells Nic that we are not in trouble, but this is not normal and so someone called the police.  Safe to say we know who that was.

Over the next 30 minutes the police officer takes down mine and Nic’s information including our occupations, and parents first names.  The original Mercedes cow-wrangler stays off in the shadows the whole time, odd enough.  Perhaps he is embarrassed for calling the cops on two dirty dude on mountain bikes.  We talk and joke with the other three.

It becomes clear that they are worried for us.  It is too cold to sleep here (mid 50s), and there were once wolves that came out of the mountains to town, and there is no light where you are camped, and theres a perfectly nice church over there you can go sleep by…  We tell them, no it’s alright, we like to sleep outside, and this is plenty warm.  We shake hands as our Bosnian greeting party departs.

Nic and I return to the tents laughing at what has just taken place and drink our last two beers that we were saving for the next day.  And so ended our first night in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –

Since my last post we continued to dodge rain and thunder. We made our way south through Croatia, eventually reaching the end of the Adriatic Crest Route in Split.

Nic helping with the herding

You have to make sure that you stay up on your fig intake.

Hayduke – Hajduk

We arrived here near dark, soaked to the bone. A huge open room awaited with small soccer goals for hanging wet clothing and gear.

Grapes on grapes on grapes

Nic says “Hey, maybe we climb that road over there,” I hope not because it looks really steep.

It’s really steep.

The view from the top is pretty top notch.

Getting Figgy With It. I can not eat enough of these things.

Figs drying outside of a small shop in the mountains

“Nic, they must make some kind of liquor out of figs, right?” “They have to, we will find it.” Found it. Fig Brandy.

Sweet sweet chunky decent.

The final step of the Adriatic Crest Route is a ferry ride to Split.

Camping across from Split may be our best campsite thus far.

Split.

We slowed down around Split, spending a couple days in the city to recharge and get some laundry done.  Then we headed towards Mostar on a route we had concocted with the help of Komoot.  Komoot is a piece of German software that helps to create travel routes using a large database of roads, trails, highways, etc.  We tell it we are mountain biking and want to go from A to B.  Check out the route, move a couple points, follow the magenta line on the GPS.

 

Lunch time, snack time. It is here that we formed our Croatian bike gang. The two of us and tree local boys.

The bike gang rides into the burn. The boys decided they would would rather ride downhill than up shortly after this shot.

Another day, Another fig (or 50).

So far Komoot has been doing us pretty good.  Since entering Bosnia, there have been a couple of overgrown sections that we went around, but the routing in general has been very enjoyable, keeping us off of pavement and big roads where possible.

Always carry a litter of beer, some bitters, and a pound of waffers. This will ensure victory.

Hayduke – Hajduk

We wanted to cross this. We did not.

Running from the clouds in Bosnia.

The decent into Mostar.

We are holed up for an afternoon in Mostar.  We decided to grab a room as we were gearing up for a 5,000 foot climb out of the city and noted that the weather was calling for 38mm of rain in the afternoon. That’s a lot of rain to be climbing a big mountain.  Checking out Mostar is a nice byproduct of that decision.

If you want some more eye candy and insightful writing head over to Nic’s site at https://gypsybytrade.wordpress.com/.

We can also be found on Instagram @akschmidtshow and @nicholascarman

6 Comments

  1. Reply
    Abe's awesome friend Julia September 19, 2017

    Abraham!!! I can’t wait to pick your brain about these amazing places! You guys are so cool, duh. I love reading your blog entries. Please keep them coming. And keep having fun. Love you

  2. Reply
    Barb Johnson September 19, 2017

    Thanks for posting! Quite an adventure for sure. Appreciate the updates.

  3. Reply
    Grandma September 20, 2017

    Love reading about your adventure. Carry on …

  4. Reply
    Joe Cruz September 20, 2017

    So psyched to see your photos and read your words.

    Joe

  5. Reply
    Laura Vogel September 22, 2017

    Abe! This is so amazing! Thank you so much for posting. I look forward to reading more. The photos are beautiful. I hope you are truly enjoying yourself!

  6. Reply
    Jim Quinlan September 24, 2017

    Quite an adventure. Thanks for sharing. Safe travels.

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