Finally, things are getting more interesting, we’ve left the larger Western European countries behind and are enjoying the rural places of the Balkan. We left early in the morning to pay once more a visit to the abandoned airbase in Zeljava, Croatia. Jeku and I were there in 2014 with the green GS and the KTM in the pouring rain. Now it’s scorching outside and since Louis had an interest in the place, we did a little onroad detour to fit a visit into our itinerary. The surroundings of the base don’t seem that eerie anymore, the many visitors and the lush greens make the place even memorial-like. We take our time, well it’s to say, the boys take their time in the Lisunov while I am wasting away in the sun dreaming of an ice cold beer and a swim in the river. The old runways brings our adrenaline level a bit higher when we’re chasing each other swerving around the holes and the vegetation that have won from the asphalt over time. It feels a little strange having lunch next to the abandoned airplane, time is not gentle for anything or anyone. That aircraft used to be someone’s pride, I wonder if the pilot loved his winged friend as much as I love Hyperion, but for now the wreck of the Lisunov stands still, enduring people running around inside and on top of it, as a discarded unwanted memory not even worthy of salvage.
Some people get a little nervous to cross certain borders but the Bosnian border police greets us with arms wide open. The border post that we’re taking is a little bit bigger than we normally do. We usually search the smallest posts in order to limit waiting time and sometimes they’re still surprised that a foreigner comes along. The officer pronounces my name as ‘Tcheska’ and immediately I get a flashback of Miyo in Japan, she also called me Tcheska. So the twinkles in my eyes might have set the officer on the wrong foot but he gave me a giant smile back and tried to hook up a conversation in broken English. “Tcheska, you like motorbike? I ride BIG cross.” I couldn’t stop laughing and answered that I ride BIG yellow bike and really love it. He wished me the best of luck in his country and warned about the oncoming rain in the evening. These thunderstorms are really tailing us, I hope it’s not going to be like this for the whole trip because I didn’t pack enough dry underwear. The Bosnian roads switch between mountain offroad roads and swirly asphalted ones in the valleys. On the way to Kiseljak we encounter little huts that emit white smoke and it seems that there is tar leaking out of the sides of the bricks too. Jeku and I wonder over the intercom what these huts might be producing and we decide in the morning to go and have a look at them whilst there are people working.
For now we want to find shelter because it’s raining cats and dogs again. Jeku spots a nice hut that is still under construction and we all agree that this is the Drambuie-moment. A bottle of Drambuie is tucked away in my luggage and once we settle down for the night, one of us shouts ‘Drambuie’ and we share a sip. The guys hang up their hammock so I can make myself cozy on the rock floor – thx guys. Whilst we’re still chatting in the evening, we suddenly get startled by the reciting of a muezzin. I totally forgot that from our last visit in Bosnia and wondered at what time in the night I’d hear the prayers from the minarets again. It doesn’t make us feel uncomfortable at all. Actually the only thing it does to me is being excited about going to the East for a longer duration of time but for now, I’ll try and sleep in this Bosnian ‘under-construction’ wooden shack.
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