Into Bosnia

Thursday 23rd May – Senj (Croatia) – 0 km

We spent some time planning et designing a new itinerary. This seems to change daily! The new plan was to get to Nortehrn Bosnia then up north slowly.

With another very sunny day, Alistair decided to go to swim, after repairing my front bender. The plaster started splitting there a while ago, probably due to a stone. A fix was needed to avoid the split to get bigger.

Senj had some small patches of rocky beaches. The water was incredibly transparent but getting into the water without shoes was very painful. I remembered that from years ago!

We visited the fort at the top of a hill. Senj is definitely a very laid back and nice little seaside town worth visiting.

In the late afternoon we went back to the same bar just over the sea for a last beer.

Friday 24th May – near Bihac – Bosnia & Herzegovina – about 150kms

The road to the border was stunning. Once again, we avoided the motorway and highways for the countryside twisty roads through small villages. It was a good choice. The road to the border was magnificent up mountain passes and high valleys. Croatia is really a beautiful country, no doubt!

I had booked a hotel near the border as I had no idea how long it would take. Sometimes big queues can form.

The border was very quiet. We were through in 10 minutes. Check passport out, stamp passport into Bosnia. Done.

No one was interested in our motorbikes. We stopped after the police check, Bosnia side and walked around trying to find a place to buy insurance for our bikes. Our insurance covered everything including Serbia, which is not in the EU, but not Bosnia ( not in the EU either). Why?!

Anyway, other than offices for truckers admin, there was nothing. We had no choice but to continue and hope we may find a petrol station selling insurance, like in Russia near the borders, or some place. So we crossed all of Bihac.

We found nothing.We also failed to find our hotel.

It did not help that the hotel had no precise address as it was few miles out of town on the main road to Sarajevo and Banja Luka.

After going up and down the road 4 times, Alistair found it, and only because comments in the reviews had mentioned it was in front of a small supermarket. It was well hidden with a totally faded sign.

After all that we managed to check in early and … well there was no much to do. We had a walk a round, bought few things in the supermarket, including pot noodles for dinner and some Burek from the bakery. We ignored the signs of “Not allowed to bring food or drinks into the room” (!) as there was nowhere to eat out!

Before that, Alistair had to get on the bike and ride back to Bihac as we would need local currency and there were no cash points around, we only had euros. Eventually we had enough local currency to pay the hotel and for the next few days.

Talking later with the hotel owner we found out that, despite what it says in Google or any review sites, everyone in Bosnia will accept euros and you can pay with card also everywhere!

I think Google is 10 years behind when it comes to Bosnia. That includes roads.

Saturday 25th May – Banja Luka (Bosnia) 170kms

The road to Banja Luka was still very beautiful, less mountainous though. We finally arrived at the flat we had booked for 3 nights. The owner joined us there within few minutes. So we were able to hide the bikes in the underground parking, away from police eyes ( still no insurance bought).

After the admin done and us changed we finally went for a walk into town.

Banja Luka was part of the Illyrian empire that formed about 1000 bce, until the conquest by the Roman Empire at the beginning of the new era. The city is full of history from the Turkish invasion to the integration to the austro-Hungarian empire and more modern history. It is an interesting place but also very nice and very peaceful.

We explored the town and the outer walls of its castle as well as some part of what looked like the old town, due the layout of the very narrow streets.

Eventually we stopped at a local little cafe for some food. The menu was in Bosnian but had some pictures. We ended up having some grilled chicken in a large soft white bun and some fried onions. We had some uninvited guests joining us: 6 or 7 sparrows eying our bread and waiting for their dinner!

The food was tasty but a bit dry. We also tried the local beer.

The flat had Netflix so we watched the full 1st season of “After Life” by Ricky Gervais. I am not a fan of his. I find his stuff a bit too cringe. The series was ok, some few likeable characters but too much mopping around.

Sunday 26th May – Banja Luka

The day was horrendous with huge storms and very heavy rain. We decided to stay inside!