Day 06, Tour08, Lukovac to Olovo, BIH

I'm sitting in restaurant full of Bosnians, most of whom are men, and all of whom are talking and having a great time. It reminds me a little of a tavern I ate in in Greece, but this is a much more friendly place. The waiter just brought me an espresso I didn't order, as a way of making up for my having to wait a long time to get my order in because they are so busy. I haven't had an espresso this summer - being a good guy and all that - and it tastes wonderful. Probably I will sleep tonight...


I'm looking out the window at a great view. This place is called Panorama for a good reason. In the center of the panorama is Olovo, a small town about 35 km from Sarajevo. I decided to stop for the day in that town, but the hotel was full, and not very friendly, and the motel was part of the bus station. It looked nice, but very noisy, so I rode out of town and, on sore legs, climbed a few hundred feet before I found this place. The waiters don't have English or German, but the owner does. When I showed up and asked for a room, the waiters were very friendly, and enthusiastic about the fact that I showed up on a bicycle, but had to get the owner to come to deal with the room. In a way this was reminiscent of my bad experience in Serbia, but I couldn't believe that these folks friendliness was fake. Now I have a nice room, with an incredible view for 20 E and I'm looking forward to a good supper.

The turn I missed, 3.3 miles back from where I spent the night

I had a good night's sleep and a good breakfast at my pension in Lukovar and headed out, In light rain, about 8:30 this morning. Traffic wasn't as heavy as it had been yesterday afternoon and most of it seemed to be headed towards Lukovar which has several big plants. I rode about 3.3. miles before I got back to the turn to Sarajevo. It was no problem making the turn from the right hand lane in light traffic, but it would have been nearly impossible to have made it as a left turn in heavy traffic. There was no stop light or turn lane.

When I headed south toward Sarajevo, I had 120 km (about 75 miles) to go. I had been told the route was mostly flatish but with two big hills. The rain had stopped and the traffic wasn't bad as I rode up the hill - not a big hill - at the start of the road. after that climb, things were downhill, in the good sense ;-}, for a few km and the riding, by Bosnian standards, was pretty good. It got better - traffic got lighter - as I got farther from Tuzla. Light rain came and went, but it was never a problem.

A mosque near Zivnice

The slowest vehicle I saw on the road today
the driver looked Roma

The rain was on and off for the first few hours

After about 25 km, I stopped to get a snack. I got two bananas and a large Snickers bar which had two parts. I ate one banana and one of the snicker bar parts and saved the rest for later. That turned out to be a very good move. When I left that town - Stupari - I started climbing, and I wasn't finished climbing until several hours, and over 25 km later. The climbing was hard, so I didn't want to eat a meal - meals don't digest very well during hard climbs! - until I knew I was near the end of climbing. I finally stopped to eat less than 1 km from the end of the third big climb. After that climb it was, almost, all downhill - 13km of downhill! - to Olovo.

Near the start of the first climb
The clearing sky ahead didn't last, but the hard rain didn't start till an hour after I was in my room

The riding was great, and not too hard, for the first climb. The views of the valley, from the road as I climbed, were really nice. After half an hour or so of climbing, I reached the top. I rode downhill at 25 to 30 mph for a while and the road flattened out when it reached a village. I had the, incorrect, idea that I had just ridden over a ridge that separated two river valleys and now I would get to ride in a valley for a while. Instead, a second, harder, climb started on the other side of that village.

It was quite pretty at the top of the second climb, but, see that ridge?, I'm going to have to climb over it ;-{

The second climb was steeper - 7 to 10 % - and longer than the first climb. It was pretty, but mostly just a long grind up a tree lined road. I stopped to eat my remaining banana and Snickers bar before the top of that climb. Then there was another, smaller, descent to a village, and then the third climb began. That one started steeply up through a gorge where I could hear, but not see, white water in a river.

The narrow gorge at the start of the third climb.

The third climb got gentler as the gorge opened up. The white water was replaced by a gently flowing stream and the road flattened out. I knew that this was too good to last ;-}. The road left the stream and climbed steeply over an even higher ridge. I'm not sure how long that climb was, but it was long enough and steep enough that I had to stop to rest several times. I reached the 50 km road marker on that climb. This 'climb' had begun to remind me of the long - 30 km - climb to Prilep in Macedonia.

The climbing started at 25 km and ended at 52 km

Shortly after the 51 km marker, I stopped for lunch at a restaurant. There were lots of little restaurants along this route, but I didn't want to do a long climb on a full stomach. At 51 km, I needed food. I asked the waiter how far it was to the top and he said about a km. I had slow roasted lamb - a Bosnian delicacy - with potatoes, bread, beer, and a salad. It was very good and didn't interfere with the remaining climb. Then I had almost half an hour of downhill to Olovo ;-}.

I created most of this web page while sitting in the restaurant. I was there for over two hours. From my window seat with its panoramic view, I saw that there was an accident, perhaps half a mile up the road toward Sarajevo, that took place shortly after I sat down. Early on there were police and emergency vehicles visible up there and then an ambulance - I think - came. While I was waiting - a long time - to order, a large group of kids - a nice mix of Muslim, Orthodox, and Catholic by their clothing -was in the outdoor part of the restaurant. The looked like a class on a field trip, but that seemed odd at 7 PM. When I left the restaurant, I discovered that the road, as far as I could see, was filled with stopped vehicles! It must have been blocked since shortly after I went into the restaurant. Now, at almost 9 PM, I hear traffic moving up the hill.

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