Monday, April 25, 2011

Space on a Bicycle, Another Frontier

'When you meet the stranger, invite him into your house, and give to him food, and drink'.

Words spoken from the head of the Easter Sunday table by Tony, quoted from the Bible, translated by his son Dražen, who sat at the other head of the table. Dražen and one of his customers had seen Jaco ride by and as they ran out of Hemingway's Café in disbelief and confusion at the sight of a lunatic on a bicycle, they turned their heads to see me. I stopped. Dražen asked me in English where we were from, and I explained that we were riding our bicycles to China. I asked him where an ATM was so that we could withdraw some Konvertible Marks and spend them on grilled meat or burek. A few minutes later, we were in his cafe having espresso and multivitamin fruit juice. We quickly understood that on Easter, in Hercegovina, you can't get grilled meat. That was okay, we had somewhat prepared for that, and we had enough extra food to get us to our destination, Mostar. Dražen though asked us if we were hungry, we admitted that we were, but this wasn't hard to guess because we had been talking mostly about where to get food. He made a phone call, then came back to us and asked if we would like to go to his parents' house, outside Posušle for the Easter meal. This was a very difficult offer to refuse, and we were soon shaking hands with Tony and sitting down at the table. From there it was a mish mosh of German, Croatian, Italian, and English as we feasted on stuffed cabbage, rakija, bread, wine, ham baked under a loaf of bread, roasted lamb and potatoes, and soup with dumplings. This was all homemade, we ate it, and it was good. Communication wasn't at all difficult though, because Dražen spoke perfect English, which he had learned from watching TV and listening to the radio, and was happy to translate. When we were done we got up and left, as Dražen had to get back to open up his Hemingway's Café for the afternoon. Hemingway's is the finest cafe in all of Posušle, a mostly Croatian town in Bosnia just past the border with Croatia. If you go there now you can see a genuine 4 time Worlds Series champion and former Oakland Athletic (he was traded in 1988 for Bob Welch, to the 1988 Dodgers) Alfredo Griffin baseball card.

We came into Posušle tired and without any money, and we left with full bellies, and though there may or may not have been a tailwind heading into Mostar, we rode quickly, on eagles' wings.

Now we are in Mostar. Tomorrow we leave, and head back over the mountains to Kotor, in Montenegro, which is an old Venetian outpost at the head of the largest fjord in the Mediterranean. A fjord is a bay created by a glacier, as it slides down the mountain into the sea.


  1. Started using the GPS biz, nice. Does that mean that the "map!" link is obsolete? Nice title.

  2. Gospeed and greetings from Posušje, Hercegovina! :)

  3. The GPSer is nice but at the moment the Google map is pretty impressive. Thanks for keeping that up to date.

    Another great story! Keep on ridin'!