Day 10, Tour 08, Neum to Trebinje, BIH

Looking at the Adriatic from Bosnia
I met a Czech tourist a few km before this point, shortly before I crossed back into Bosnia

I had a good day riding to Dubrovnik and then on to Trebinje, but the best part of it was meeting a Czech tourist on the road to Trebinje. He is only the third tourist I've seen on this tour. I met a tourist coming out of Serbia as I was going in and I met a female tourist heading up the Croation coast just north of Bosnia yesterday. This time, because I was so surprised to see a tourist on that road, I pulled over and we visited for half an hour about touring. He'd ridden up from Greece through Albania. He had a mountain bike with front suspension - with a Czech made rack and front panniers as well as rear panniers - and fat tires. We exchanged email addresses and he invited me to visit him in Moravia on my way to Germany.

Nuem this morning, a far different place than Trebinje tonight

This ship matched my pace for the last 20 miles into Dubrovnik

I had a good, but over priced, breakfast this morning, then headed down the coast toward Dubrovnik. There was a lot of up and down in that ride, but I figured it would be fun to be on the coast for a while - and it was - and there would be plenty of places to eat between Nuem and Dubrovnik - there weren't ;-{ so I could get some food before I reached Dubrovnik. Fortunately I had some good bread that I bought near Mostar and a banana I bought last night in Nuem. That was all I had until I rode down into Dubrovnik.

The view from the place where I took my first break, half way to Dubrovnik

Compared to the Bosnian mountains, the Croation Coast is flat. Compared to just about anything else, it is hilly. On some parts of todays ride, I had no use for my middle ring. I'd just switch from granny to big ring at the top of each hill and switch back to the granny at the bottom. The maximum grade was marked at 10% - it felt more like 7% - and most of the climbing was in the 5% to 7% range. It was pretty, of course, and there were lots of views to keep me distracted during the climbs. There was also a moderate amount of traffic, including lots of big buses and big trucks to keep my attention focused on riding rather than gawking. Other than having more issues with people passing into me, the riding was roughly equivalent to riding in Bosnia, but with a rideable shoulder some of the time to make things a little more relaxed.

I did have an almost crash due to the shoulder-road interface yesterday. Unlike Bosnia and Serbia where the edge of the road, when it was smooth enough to ride on, was at the same level as the, unpaved, but hard packed, shoulder, lots of the Croation coast road has an inch or so dropoff between the road paving and the shoulder paving. I went off that edge on a sloped road section and, when I tried to get back on, my front tire washed out. Since I wasn't clipped in, I got my feet down and, with the top bar banging into my crotch, came to a semi-controlled, upright, stop. I was lucky that, when the bike washed out to the right, the top bar moved to the left and, although it smarted a bit, I didn't cause my self real pain;-}.

My right pedal hit the back of my right ankle and the one sharp post on that side of that pedal ripped my sock and scratched my leg Those sharp posts - I just have one mounted on each side of each pedal - really help keep my feet on the pedals, especially in wet conditions, but they are hard on my clothes!

The road along the coast, a flat section without a rideable shoulder

When I did get to Dubrovnik, I first had to climb up several hundred feet above it, then, in order to eat, I had to quickly give back all that climbing in order to get to a place to eat - I ate at the fast food place next to the bus station - and then, right after eating, I had to climb out of Dubrovnik - a hard climb - and then climb another hundred feet or so to get to the top of the hill just south of Dubrovnik. I was not happy about having to do this!

Dubrovnik's main harbor faces north. That is a costal ferry in the middle of the picture
The bus station is on the other side of the ferry station

Dubrovnik's oldtown, as seen from the top of the climb out of town

And this is Dubrovnik from the high point on the road south of Dubrovnik

After the climb out of Dubrovnik, I rested for a while to give my stomach a chance to get started on digesting my lunch, then I rode on, and down several hundred feet to the road that would lead me back to Bosnia. Strangely, it isn't marked as going to Bosnia at the turn. I turned on it and then asked a fellow walking down the road if it went to Bosnia.

Now I had to climb back up to, and above, the altitude I'd just come down from. I was used to that since climbing back up is what you spend most of your time doing on the coast road ;-{! Part way up the climb, where another road went off down into the valley below, someone had installed benches. I sat there, enjoying the view and the chance to rest, for ten minutes. Then I cranked on up the hill some more and met the Czech tourist. When I left him, I was rested and the rest of the climb up to the border station and beyond to the crest of the ridge went well.. Then I had a long down hill into a flat valley and a long, flat, ride to Trebinje. Most of that valley shows little or no sign of human habitation. I found that a refreshing change for the coast, but my Czech friend was uncomfortable being in an uninhabited place. There are big mountains all around this valley, by he said the climb to the Montenegro border isn't bad.

Trebinje is in the Serb part of Bosnia. I see no sign of Muslims here, and I saw a disturbingly nationalistic demonstration that started near my hotel. On the other hand, the old town feels quite real ;-}. I went over there - it is across the river from the hotel - just before the demonstration crossed the same bridge. I had two pieces of pizza - pretty good - and a small beer for less than two E, and I found a pastry shop to visit on my way out of town tomorrow. I have just enough Bosnian change for one pastry and the same value in Euro coin for a second pastry if they'll take that. In Montenegro, they use Euros, so I'll be OK when I get there and, hopefully, find a place to eat lunch.

I'm in a 'standard' - read Tito era - room at the hotel. It isn't cheap - a little over 30 E with breakfast, but it was 15 E cheaper than a deluxe room which would have air conditioning - I don't want that - and a nicer bathroom and furniture. The bed is comfortable and the bathroom, like each of my bathrooms for the past three nights, features a globe covered incandescent light fixture which makes an excellent bicycle shorts pad dryer. That is more important than air conditioning!
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