Dubrovnik, and into Bosnia

28 May

The road to Dubrovnik was pretty flat and good riding until I got within 6km of the town. Then one hell of a hill visibly stretches up and away, growing exponentially at every corner. I got to the top, despite truck drivers’ continual attempts to make orange juice out of me. I ate a bar of chocolate and looked down on Dubrovnik’s famous old town. A town I couldn’t afford to sleep, eat or drink in, but a place I had to see. I rolled down into it. Curving down and following signs for ‘Stari Grad’ (old town), then you see the wall. Or the wall sees you. The massive, blocky, wierd fortress wall with a thousand lookouts and firing holes, squatting in it’s moat like a hippo squats in a paddling pool.

I cycled over the thin drawbridge wedged with tourists/photographers, one of only 3 gates with which to enter the city. After a quick shimmy through the grand old stone town I turned around and went out and into the new town to find the cheapest damn room I could find. Even camping, 10km away from Dubrovnik, is over €10 each per night.

Later, I found Axelle waiting for me in the old town outside the Troubador, a jazz bar, nursing a 25cl glass of local beer that cost her €6. We went to the little apartment (€28 p. night, not bad) about 1km away and got sorted, bought some mussels and cooked a pasta and had wine. We only ate what we cooked or bought from the minimarket. I only drank the beer or wine from the shops, never the bars, and still I managed to churn through €70 in 2 days just on food and drink.

But, incredible Dubrovnik. Giant yachts, tight alleys full of jewellery, almost invisible holes in the wall that take you out from the shade of the fortress to a bar perched on high rocks, where boys jump off. We sat down there and Axelle bought another €6 small bottle of beer, a Stella this time, so help me god. That’s all it took. I decided to jump. If I died, I would be leaving a world where a small bottle of Wife Beater costs €6. I clambered onto the rock and peered over the edge. Good. Just a little jump forwards and then a long way down safely into the deep blue. I stood up and my legs turned their back on me and I sat down again. I always get this wobbly, adrenaline rush of fear when I’m about to jump off something really high, but this was more intense than jumping off the world’s biggest bungee jump. It was because of the rocks, I’m sure. Anyway I jumped and it was fine, obviously. Huge rush though.

Now, after exploring the town a bit, we wanted to walk along the top of the ramparts. That cost 70 Kuna / €10 but we got free tickets easily, by waiting by the exits and asking tourists if we could have theirs.

Bosnia

A heavy thunder and lightning storm had set up camp directly over our apartment in Dubrovnik and much of the Balkans. But was time to get out of Croatia. Axelle opted for the bus to Mostar, I would meet her there in 2 days.

I rode the 105km through the rain from Dubrovnik into Bosnia , soaked and running low on fuel after a weak lunch of thin soup and a bar of chocolate, I set up my tent on the side of the road 25m from the Bosnian border next to a church. An old lady with a walking stick, a Boff on her head and a cross hung around her neck, came to visit me and blew me a kiss. Later I sat in the bar reading after another weak noodle soup and she came in and gave me a streetwise handshake and wordlessly massaged my shoulders for several minutes! I knew the Bosnian word for thanks ‘Hvala’. So I said thanks. It wasn’t a bad massage at all.

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One Response to “Dubrovnik, and into Bosnia”

  1. Roxanne December 3, 2012 at 4:46 am #

    I love what you guys are up too. Such clever work and reporting!
    Keep up the wonderful works guys I’ve you guys to our blogroll.

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