Saturday, August 30, 2008

Land of Extremes

Day: 337
Mostanje to Slunj
Time: 4:03
Distance: 58.1 km
Avg Speed: 14.3 kph
Terrain: Hilly

Location: N 45˚ 27' 59.7", E 15˚ 33' 34.2"

We slept in a little roadside town last night called Mostanje. We ended up at a Zimmer Sobe, or a private room. They are rated as 3 stars for a room with a private bath, 2 stars for a room that shares a bath with another room and 1 star for a room that shares a bath with multiple rooms or the homeowner. Prices are set by the tourism board for that area, and everything is priced pretty fair. Our room last night was above a bar and was full of truckers. It reminded us of rooms we had in Laos: small, smoky, noisy and clean enough. We went for a stroll around town last night to get some groceries and noticed some of the houses had bullet holes in the brick walls. Most houses had fresh stucco coatings and paint and you couldn’t tell whether or not they had suffered the same fate. The night went as we expected with a low murmur rising up from the bar and the 2 am stomp down the hall by the other tenants. We got up early and brewed a little tea in our room before heading out around 8. The riding was great as we rolled along back country roads passing big fields of corn and plot after plot of personal gardens. The houses in the countryside didn’t escape the shooting either since we saw just as many homes with bullet holes as in Mostanje. Toward the top of one hill we passed a plot of forested land that had a sign warning that it was mined area. I thought mineral mines, but Leslie said that it was land mines. I just can’t imagine growing up and living in a place that had experienced and is still experiencing such violence. Our little country, two lane paved road abruptly ended and we shifted gears on a single lane dirt road that was passage for the next 14 kilometers. It was marked as paved on our maps, but not only was it not paved, it was very rough in major sections. We made it to the next section of highway intact and danced with big rigs for 20 kilometers or so to our little oasis of Slunj. We stumbled on a great little zimmer sobe and were rewarded with views of cascading streams running right under our private deck. The whole area has rivers and streams carved into limestone runnels that have been dammed, and diverted over the centuries. The water is clear is can be and is teeming with trout and another local game fish that looks like a grayling. After arriving Leslie and I took a little nap and then got cleaned up before heading into town. We did a little grocery shopping and hit a fruit stand for peaches and plums. It is so nice to have timed it for fruit season. After getting back to our place our hostess offered us some coffee or šljivovica. We opted for the latter since we had grabbed a cappuccino in town. Šljivovica is a homemade (in this case by our hostess’ brother) plum brandy that is smooth as butter, but can knock your socks off. We both had a little tumbler and felt warm all over. It was a nice way to cap off the day.

No comments: