Slow way home

25. Juli 2011 § Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

I’m writing this entry aboard the Liburnjia, a ferry which trundles up and down the whole Croatian coast every few days. I decided to take the slow way home by overnight ferry and night train through Rijeka and Graz. Of course, that’s not according to plan, but what are plans for? Under normal circumstances, I would have met up with my friend somewhere in Romania or Bulgaria to round off this trip together and arrive happily in Gagausia some time in late August.

It was a nearly sleepless night in Vodice which made me decide to cut the story short for this year and continue the trek some other time. This will to carry on with the undertaking of ‘Around Europe in 80 languages’ is a sure sign that on the whole, I’ve enjoyed the trip tremendously. It was extremely hot that night, the bugs were getting at me and the street noise kept me awake. I started to feel it was better to enjoy the ride as long as possible, but not to overdo it by heading into more heat and mountains: Montenegro, Greece, Turkey, the lot.

It’s always been a game of factors along the roads in south-eastern Europe. There are four negative forces that can affect you:

1 sun exposure and heat

2 heavy traffic including express delivery vans and trucks with articulated trailers

3 headwinds

4 uphill gradients

One of them is normally present, but things are still fine in this case. If there are two of them, the absolute joy is spoiled to some extent, but the going is still good. With three negative factors, things can get a little disagreeable, but then this combination never lasts that long. I’ve had jolly foursomes too, but they trigger resistance rather than surrender, which is not very healthy. Anyway, I just didn’t want to continue facing combos of Nr 1 and Nr 2 factors. That is, the coast road plus the heat (and the ups and downs come automatically). So I’ll save Montenegro, Greece etc, for a more propitious season.

As I write this, it has cooled down considerably and even rained a couple of times. BTW, I’ve experienced a new conspiracy of factors: an uphill stretch on a remote road behind Stolac, a rainstorm with gusty wind blowing down the mountain against me, and some really incompetent drivers whose nationality I’m not going to give away lest their compatriots take revenge. One of their kin shouted at me through the open window that I should fuck off the road. But all of these are isolated incidences and I just mention them to make my tale sound more adventurous (just don’t tell my mum).

In any case, the main reason why I’m glad to be heading home at the moment is not the avoidance of more heat, but the time I’m set to spend with my family in our garden instead of chugging along country roads in Bosnia with burnt out brushland and landmine warning signs. But, as I said, I’ll be back.

Of all the flags, this is the only one I dare to post

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