Olovo, notice the Orthodox Church - left side - and the Mosque, not far away, in the lower center of the image
Panorama, where I stayed last night
It was a fairly quick - I got here around noon - but not uneventful ride from Olovo to Sarajevo. It started with an hour and fifteen minutes of climbing, interrupted at about an hour by a ten minute wait for a mine to be detonated.
I've seen mine warning signs in Croatia, but today I actually heard a mine going off. About an hour of climbing, and five miles up the road from where I started, the road was temporarily blocked while a mine clean-up team detonated a mine. I pulled over to the side of the road and rested while we waited for the boom. When I rode past the mine clean-up team a few hundred feet later, I got grins and waves from them. Being on a loaded bike in these mountains is more unusual than being on a mine clean-up team...
There was only one real hill today. It started in Olovo and ended about ten miles later. I'd guess the climb at 1500 feet. After that there was mostly easy riding down a river valley until about 10 km from the center of Sarajevo. Then there was good climb, on a narrow road with heavy traffic, and a fast descent into Sarajevo. Then some more cranking and climbing over smaller hills followed by a descent into the center of town. The most striking part of that descent was passing the Olympic Venue and seeing the huge number of graves on the Olympic grounds. The other part was seeing how many buildings are still pockmarked from the war.
A Mosque that sits on the ridge I climbed over to get into Sarajevo
Traffic was heavy coming into the middle of Sarajevo, but the riding was less stressful than riding through Tuzla. Part of that was that coming into the center was all downhill ;-}, but another part was the drivers seem more cooperative here. I actually saw drivers helping each other and I never felt threaten on my bike.
I went with the flow until the flow was blocked but the other side of the valley, then turned towards the downtown area and started looking for a place to stay. I stopped at the first good looking place and went in. The were cool about the bike and fluent in English, so I asked about the rates. 60 E including breakfast. That is certainly reasonable for a three star hotel in a big city. I asked to see the room, and was shown an apartment with a living room, full kitchen, really fancy bathroom, and a separate bedroom with two beds. Airconditioned, with wired internet, etc. They were giving me this "room" at their single room price becasue they had nothing smaller available. Somehow, it helps to make up for the "60 E" rip=off I suffered in Serrbia. This is one of the nicest rooms I've ever had at a price that wouln't get me more than a room over a tavern in western Europe.
After cleaning up. I visited with the folks here about riding to Podgorica (pod-gor-itza) and decided to route through Mostar. which means I'll be riding to Mostar tomorrow. Then I walked to the old town, enjoyed watching and listening the 1 PM prayers at the main mosque - there are mosques here like there are baptist churches back home - that large mosque and its courtyard were completely filled with muslims. Then I sat down and checked the small guide book the hotel - Hotel Hgaj - provided for Jewish stuff. It turned out that the only functioning synagogue in town was between the old town and my hotel. I walked over to check it out and found that they were having services at 7 PM. Then I got some food and sat in the shade on the ground in a small park to eat. It was just me and the pigeons for a while, but then a Bosnian girl about ten years old spoke to me. I think she asked permission to share the shade. I smiled and said I only spoke English. She said "thank you" and sat down to unwrap her food. After unwrapping it, I think she offered me part of her food.
After some more walking, l went back to my room and posted the web pages and ride reports for the last three days and started on this page. At 6 PM I went out for some street food, and at 6:30 I walked to the synagogue for services in the beautifully restored sanctuary, food and wine - part of almost every Jewish get together, and visiting. I learned a lot about the small Jewish community here and about Sarajevo. A good day in Sarajevo