Rafting in Croatia

2nd/3rd September – Camp Slapic – Turanj
After our lovely cosy fire on Monday night and an epic feed of ridiculousy tasty pork stroganoff, we went to bed optimistic that tomorrow would be a brighter day. Seems the west of Ireland weather might be following me round! The sound of rain had persisted against our tent all night. Harbouring the theory that it always sounds louder than it is, I poked my head out of the tent on Tusesday morning and was sorely disappointed. It’s next to impissible to haul out of bed in these conditions but especially when we dont quite have a concrete plan of how we’re getting where we’re going….. mode of transport is a given, but slap dash planning can leave us facing a caurantohill sized climb with no mental preparation.  And that sucks. So after a little humming and hawing, we decided to put the day aside for planning, a little writing and maybe even some laundry! We headed into Duga Sela and stopped at a small Pekarna and filled up on Burek and Pizza, then taking ourselves to a local cafe to avail of the wifi and sip some good coffee. Two cups of coffee later, we twitched around the supermarket picking up the necessary ingredients to put together a tasty keema for dinner. We also had a nose around for a map but weren’t successful, apparently everyone aound here knows where everything is already!!

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All this time, there had been no let up in the rain, so we headed back to the campsite to do some writing, wash and dry some clothes and sort out our bags. A plan to try and get some firewood to repeat last nights roaring, toasty fire saw me standing in a local bar trying to mime out what it was I wanted. Turns out the boss wasn’t in so it was a waste of my finest charades skills.
I returned to the campsite and we both got on with a few little jobs. We now have some clean, dry clothes which is always a bonus. It does tend to feel a bit like pissing in the wind though when you know that as soon as you put them on, you will be mucky and wet. This weather really needs to cop on to itself soon! As the evening closed in, we showered and took ourselves to the little bar on site to enjoy a beer, but more importantly, give us a break from looking at the four sides of the tent.
Afterwards, Sam made us a lovely Keema which we wolfed down. At that stage, the rain only seemed to be getting heavier. I made a decision to move our bags to the covered BBQ area as I was afraid of rain seeping into the tent overnight. At least that way we wouldn’t have to be dealing with damp bags in the morning. Oh if I had only known, I’d have moved the whole tent there too. I suppose hind sight is a great thing.

Taken on a rare sunny evening, probably a month ago...

Taken on a rare sunny evening, probably a month ago…

This morning when the alarm went off, I hit snooze. I love my sleep, so I hit it twice more. When I eventually decided it was time to make a move and face he day, I sat up. I believe the words out of my mouth were “Öh Bollocks!”.Our tent was sitting in several inches of water, our mats were pretty much lilos now and Sam’s shoes had gone submarine. Our tent however had managed to keep the water out. It’s worth it’s weight in gold! The river at the campsite had burst it’s banks overnight. Unfortunately, no one had seen the benefit of informing us that we had become part of the river’s ecological system and the only thing that was stopping us floating away downstream was ou tent pegs. On approaching the campsite owner, he informed me that he didn’t wake us when the river began to flood as he thought we might be angry at having our sleep interrupted. Fair enough!
Anyways, we hopped out of the tent and began to ferry anything we had had in the tent to dry land. The water was knee deep at this stage and freezing cold. You’d be amazed by the number of people who thought it was great craic to take picures of us and our misfotune without offering any words of encouragement and help! A kind couple from New Zealand who are touring in their camper kindly offered us coffee and we gladly accepted. We spent a while with them hearing about their trip, diverting us from our current worries which was welcome. Once we had packed our very wet belongings we hit the road without much enthusiasm. Panniers full of wet clothes, tents and sleeping bags are not fun to haul around, and always in your mind is the realisation that you will be sleeping in/wearing all that damp stuff later.
As we headed into Duga Resa, we stopped at the Pekarna again, had a quick coffee and headed to Turanj where there is an outdoor museum which has several tanks, aircraft and artillery leftover from the war here in the early 90’s. Surounding the collection is the remains of the barracks and several other bullet hole ridden buildings. The barracks, known as Hotel California throughout he war, is currently being renovated to become a museum and will permanently house an exhibition deidicated to the war fom 1990-1994. As we left the town we saw quite a few more war scarred buildings. These are the first signs we are seeing of the conflict that took place here 20 years ago.
It became apparent very fast to us that we were on a busy road. That, coupled with the fact that we were hauling around some disgustingly wet gear quicky sapped our will to carry on much further today. Seeing a sign outside a coffee shop for rooms available, we decided to see how much they were charging. At 22 euro, they didn’t need to say it twice. We have a little studio apatment all for ourselves complete with a kitchenette. Everything is drying and by he time tomorrow comes around we’ll be ready to hope on our bikes, fresh as daisies!!

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