Today has been a very good day considering some of the weather I faced. It rained for most of the first 4 hours which wasn’t great and I still had a headwind – although it wasn’t quite as bad as yesterday, plus it died off even more in the last third. The main difference was not having a deadline. Yesterday it was looming over me all day and really weighed me down. Today, I had another very good breakfast and set off deliberately slowly. It helped a lot; I spent most of today fighting the wind but somehow it just didn’t get to me. It felt good to see the hours tick by without frustration.
Today was still slow (as you can see below), there were quite a lot of hills and very little flat but I managed to stay positive so that’s all I’ll say about the riding. Compared to the last week or so, it’s actually been a fairly eventful day; I met the craziest man on the planet, I managed to cross a country in under an hour and I’ve had dinner with people other than my Dad for the first time.
The crazy man I met whilst buying some food around Ploče. He looked about as mental as he sounded and he’d obviously had his fair share of drink. Despite this, he was completely harmless and once he realised I was from Britain, he simply started naming random places around England and Scotland. I think his favourite was Glasgow – he burst out laughing when he mentioned that.
Another thing that helped today was the prospect of a border crossing. It was just nice to have a milestone to aim for. Bosnia was – from what I saw – very similar to Croatia. Even the language is pretty much identical. I can’t exactly say I saw much of it though, I did cross it in under 40 minutes and (unless you include Monaco) that will be my shortest visit to a country. One of the border police took particular interest in my passport and my trip when he noticed the visas in it. I’ve discovered that it’s quite enjoyable surprising people with my plan. Whilst more than a bit self-centred, it did a lot to boost my ego and carry me through the final 20kms.
Tonight has also been interesting. I’ve got into a habit of writing this blog (at least part of it) whilst having or waiting for dinner. That wasn’t possible tonight, hence why it’s a bit later. I’m staying in a B&B in Slano and the couple who own it told me that I could have dinner with them. As it turns out, there are no restaurants open in town so maybe they felt obligated to do so. It was actually very convenient, the dinner – whilst simple – was perfect and it meant I didn’t have to go out to get it. The husband and wife are also extremely friendly, and although she doesn’t speak any English, conversation was easy and I’ve come to realise that it’s the first time I’ve properly interacted with anyone for a long period of time on this trip. They too were extremely surprised with the distances I was covering and I only mentioned as far as Istanbul.
Now when it comes to alcohol – apart from New Year – I’ve managed to avoid it for the last couple of months as I’ve realised it does nothing to aid my cycling. That has changed tonight. It felt rude to refuse an offer of their local brandy (that’s what he called it anyway) so I’ve ended up drinking that and wine this evening. It’s not really a big deal – I just thought I’d let you all know I’m not being a complete dick about restricting myself and that I do realise this trip isn’t just about the cycling… I’m also hoping to return with some very impressive tan lines.
Tomorrow I leave Croatia (for good this time) and hit Montenegro. It looks to be a pretty hard day so I guess I’ll see how it goes… I haven’t checked the weather yet… I’m anticipating blue skies and a tailwind…
Distance: 96.40miles / 155.1km
Riding Time: 7:43:43
Av. Speed: 12.5mph / 20.1kph