There was more rain last night but the morning promised a sunny day.
We continued on the road to Bosnia and Herzegovina, mostly down-hill. At some random junction we stopped to check the GPS and were quite surprised to see that we were already in Bosnia and Herzegovina! No border signs, no check-points, no nothing. We were in a village and I asked an older guy what this was, Bosnia, or Serbia, or what??
He said ‘Bosnia’. ‘Until the bridge down there, then there is Serbia again.’ We were completely confused. It turned out Goran, that was his name, had worked in Austria for 37 years and speaks German (with quite a bit of an Austrian accent that was hard to understand sometimes), voastehst mi? We asked if we could refill our water bottles and were invited to sit there with him and his son. We then were ‘forced’ to: 3 glasses of rakija (a strong home-made spirit, I gave up after 2 glasses), a beer, a couple of boiled eggs. We received one litre of rakija, a bar of chocolate, and a couple more boiled eggs for the road. In between his nephew came over (with more eggs) for a rakija, we asked all kinds of questions about the war and the borders, and he told us things about his time in Austria.
So we were in Bosnia, but a Serbian enclave was just down the road that is not on any of our maps. His son was a Serbian border guard and he received his pension in Serbian Dinars. Total verrückt, voastehst mi? His son (and also his nephew) had fought in the war for 3 years.
Eventually we said Good Bye and cycled on – slightly tipsy – but soon had to stop at a Serbian border check-point. Ah, we were entering the enclave! Nope, we were leaving it, we learned. A few kilometers further – a Bosnian check-point. Now we were in Bosnia proper, finally. Oh, and the Serbian flag was hanging from quite a few flag poles in Bosnia. Total verrückt do, voastehst mi?
Another climb, another down-hill section, another grand canyon. The Balkans are really, really beautiful…
We left Bosnia and Herzegovina in the late afternoon for Serbia – again. This time it was expected, though. We are in Mokra Gora, a couple of kilometers from the border.