Eight Hour Ride: Return To Mostar - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

January 3, 2014

Eight Hour Ride: Return To Mostar

I look out the window shortly before seven and see the sky lined with crimson circa cloud. Another fine day in store. Memet the Turkish guy I share the room with is still asleep. He's strange as he stays in bed all day. I remarked to Ida "he seems down as he just lays in bed all the time. He doesn't even take his clothes off"; to which she replied "he has no classes at the university lately and is most likely just bored.

Yesterday at this time, it was Julia that cleared out her corner and then spent a long time in the common room packing everything ready to put on her bike. Now it is my turn, but I take a fraction of the time she took. All I have to do is pack the sleeping-bag away and put my other few processions in their usual panniers, which takes me ten minutes max until I hug them out of the room and shut the door behind me. Poor Memet is alone now and life will be even more boring.

I'm out in the street shortly before eight thirty. There's only a few locals about at this time in the walking street I ride along to the end, where I turn onto the main highway west.

I've to watch out for the tramlines, which are little more than a bike-width from the kerb. But after a couple of kilometres they move across to the middle. Then a foggy smog descended with visibility less than two hundred metres. And the smell of noxious exhaust fumes is a bit much. Further on, I have to avoid the motorway which I do by riding along a service road, going to where, I don't know as I cannot see far ahead. The fog lift a little bit and I see the hallo of the sun glimspe through. Then the service road ends and I'm on a slip road onto the motorway. But while there's no shoulder, there is a raised walkway along the side, so I ride upon this onwards.

The motorway ends and becomes road 17, at which point the fog lifts completely, leaving bright sunshine. I pass a sign: Mostar 99 KM, and checking my watch, see it's nine thirty. Mostar is still doable by nightfall as it's downhill, with the exception of a few-kilometre-long climb just ahead of me.

The climb slows me down, but once over the hill, there's a fast descend to the one sizeable town en-route where I stop at a small shop with fruit outside. Here I fill six clementines into a paper bag and enter. I take a bottle of coke from the fridge and approach the counter to paid. The young woman behind the counter is anxious to show she can speak English. She asks "you travel far on bike?" I reply "Ireland" "You like Balkan?" I say "brilliant" but really I mean, it's different.

I took only a few pictures today. This is the only one that's anyway descent.
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I press on hard the remainder of the day, only stopping for half an hour for lunch. I reach the outskirts of Mostar at four fifteen and by chance easily find the pension run by Ida and Alvina's parents.

The man that greets me at the door isn't old enough to be Alvina's father. He looks more to be an older brother and he has the same likeness as his sister. He speaks to me in French "nos...habitant?" I reply "Ireland" Then he says "I was in Dublin and Galway....."

He shows me the room. At fifty marks it's expensive, though breakfast is included and I'll be camping for free tomorrow.

I lay on the bed feeling exhauxted with the netbook open and read updates from my two favourite journals on this site, while intending to soon start a page for the day; but, fall asleep.

Today's ride: 120 km (75 miles)
Total: 8,771 km (5,447 miles)

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