Day 8: Big Balls in Bosnia

Enjoyed a bosnian breakfast (with chocolate cereal) in the hotel, made the most of the free wifi and then set off through Sarajevo. Our sat nav doesn’t like bosnia very much and only has major roads marked so navigating the city was a bit of a pain.

Tom was driving first in an attempt to ensure his “detours” from the route didn’t slow us down too much or prevent us from getting camped up. So much for that plan, within half hour is became clear we’d been driving off-route for some time, albeit it along some very beautiful roads with amazing views of the Bosnian countryside. The road quality was interesting though, crossing a bridge made of railway sleepers and passing through our first sections of gravel road.  We stopped to enjoy the views at one of the peaks and met a friendly Bosnian local who gave us some reassurance we were goiing the right way and suggested we join him at a local spring for a drink.

We followed the local couple down a gravel track and into a beautiful vally where there was a small cafe and a water bottling plant. We had Bosnian coffee (very tasty, “like turkish coffe, but different”) and a long chat with the couple about out trip and about life in Bosnia. We tried to carefully broach the subject of our expectations of Sarajevo and how we’d been really pleasantly surprised, they were obviously uncomfortable talking about the conflict so we left it alone.

After coffee and a free bottle of fresh spring water we followed the couple down the road, they were going to guide us into the nearest town. After a while they pulled us in as they wanted to show us something.... We’d stopped on the old Bosnia-Serbia frontline, where a memorial now stood and a number of decomissioned gun platforms and a tank. He showed us the view over the peak and into the town below, explaining that the town was bombarded from this position with these guns.

The now abandonded gun positions, coupled with the landmine warning signs at the sides of the road were a stark reminder that this was a part of the world still healing from a very recent conflict.

 

Bosnia Serbia FrontlineBosnia Serbia Frontline

Back on the main roads we’d lost a lot of time but it was worth it. We continued to push towards the Serbian border, entered with no problem, having only to pay a 1€ “ecotax”. The border guard told us we had “big balls” driving to Mongolia!

The roads were a lot worse in Serbia which slowed us down even more, altough at least they started to flatten out. The SatNav is starting to struggle with some of the routes here, which involved us making a 3-point turn on the ‘M5’..

We stopped late, deciding to “wild” camp for the first time (as will probably become our norm from now on, just stopping and camping in a secluded area not on a proper campsite). This is completely legal here and apparently very well accepted. We found a nice spot right on a small river, and alhough a little worried about bears or wild dogs, had a heaty BBQ and a good nights sleep..

 

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