Bridge over Troubled Waters 08/09

We woke up this morning, departed the company of the friendliest hotel owner to have ever graced the face of the earth. Oh wait, no, I must have been thinking of somebody else….
We ventured towards the pekara to ensure happy bellies before we set off and encountered some of the worst Burek we have eaten so far. Sam’s seemed to be some sort of convoluted cheese sauce and ham mix, it was not pleasant. Mine was a potato involved affair and didn’t fare much better but was at least edible! To alleviate ourselves of the bitter taste of inadequate  brekfast, we headed to the poetically named Caffe Rim for a quick caffeine hit.
And then it was time to go. We passed through towns and villages still within the Republic of Sprbska wih many turreted orthodox churches. The route ran parallel to a mainroad and produced little of note for quite a while. Eventually as the road came to a bridge over the River Bosna, we saw that gravel was piled high to prevent any vehicles from crossing. A quick inspection showed that many people had ignored this and had crossed regardless and so we proceeded cautiously. The opposite end of the bridge showed extensive damage from the recent flooding experienced here in the spring, with one bridge support holding on by a hair’s breadth. No one’s gotten around to repairing it, and sure God only knows when they will!
Stopping in Doboj for a Sandwichey lunch in a park, we basked in the sunshine. After the weather we’ve experienced over the last few weeks, this seems almost surreal. I keep expecting the clouds to gather and always feel compelled to put a reassuring hand on my waterproofs each morning so that I know that they will be in reach if I need them.
As we cycle on, we always make sure to smile and nod at he people we come across. Reactions vary, sometimes people wave and smile, older gentlemen give us a friendly nod and sometimes people seem so surpised by us that al they seem to be able to do is stand and stare. Then there’s the others, you might pass someone on a road, they blatantly see you smile and nod and they completely blank you! It’s pretty comical, it’s not as if we want anything off them, we are merely acknowledging the crossing of paths. But each to their own I suppose!
On our way, we pass a sign for a dam, with picnic spots, swimming, fishing and we stock up on provisions excited at the thought of wild camping without the threat of mines. It’s signposted up a hill 3km, we don’t mind though and we psuh on up hoping it will be worth it. We push on 4km and see no sign of what we were hoping for. As we have deviated from our route, we decide to throw in the towel and stick with the plan. Off to Maglaj then!
As the roads passes behind us, we arrive into Maglaj. There’s a beautiful old town on the east side of the river wih small cafes, a rebuilt moue and an old fort keeping watch over it all from a hill. We cycle to the west side where the bulk of the town seems to be. There’s one hotel. While I hceck the price, Sam has gone to see if there’s any other accommodation around. Hotels tend to be pretty expensive! Luckily this one is 25 euro as there doesn’t seem to be anywhere else to stay. The room is big and spacious and we even have a small balcony so the value is pretty good in the end. A stroll around town shows quite a few abandoned buildings, a spanky new mosque and generally a lively little place where there are more  Smilers than blankers! Somewhere along the way today, we have passed ino the Bosnian reion of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The population is mainly Muslim and generally seem a bit cheerier. Not much happened today but we’re well on the way to Sarajevo and the cycling is going well.

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