Trip Start Sep 16, 2006
Trip End Sep 16, 2007

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Flag of Croatia  ,
Tuesday, April 17, 2007

here are our Horvatsky (Croatian) cycling things...

we crossed from the north west across the north towards the romanian boarder and into serbia.

awesome and great small roads, traffic was okay and predictable depending on the road, secondary roads are the best, the primary have truck/bus traffic and no shoulder and bad or no sidewalks.  the small secondary roads are not well marked for towns so it's important to keep mental track of your kms and use a compass, things you forget about sometimes after being invited for a few glasses of wine!

people are super friendly, it's customary to show a new person in town a good time and hospitality.  we experienced it...yummy home made wine, really open folks.
we had a exposee incounter with a pig breeder/wedding fiddle player.
had breakfast with a priest who served us wine made by the bishop.  he had a lot of travel stories of his own, smoked and drank, new everyone in town and the next few villages. 

some great camp spots including a gazebo near the sighting of the 'virgin mary mother of our lord'.  in the morning we took a closer look at the shrines set on the playground where she was spotted.  it was quite a shrine and the landscape crew was dusting it off after a long winter, weed wackers, brush burning, trash burning, basically a lot of ash in the air and a lot of grass flying around.

in osijek we wanted to get a cheap hotel so we could see town, no such luck all the cheap hotels are many km out of town and the traffic was nutty getting in so we didn't want to go back. luck would have it... we ran into vanya, she wanted to have us at her apartment, and we spent the night talking and had a great time.  later in the morning we heard her story of living in a seiged city during the war with serbia. osijek and the surrounding boirder villages were destroyed by the war. people are very sad and very angry about the relations with the serbs. there is forgiveness, but not forgetting. vanya told us many people consider the border the 'end of the world'- meaning, they never want to step foot into serbia. the croats have a saying, that if there is one serb in a town, the town automatically belongs to serbia. bitter humor. she also said that if the croats had an ounce of the confidence and cokiness of the serbs, they could fly to the moon and back every day. she told us that from her experience, after the serbian occupation of osijek, and after the serbs killed off the people who wouldn't give up their properties, they took over and stayed living in and working the farms of the croats, for 7 years. after 7 years, when properties were returned to the hands of the original owners, not much remained. everything was detsroyed and or stolen by the serbs. the croatian people had to start over. vanya shared these sentiments with us. she said it is very difficult, living int he same town with serbs who had killed her friends and neighbors- and who decided to stay in the area after the occupations ended. schools were divided, serb children and croat kids go to school at different times to avoid conflicts- because she explained, that sitting in a classroom with the offspring of someone who killed your family is beyond difficult.

after leaving osijek, we rode through a protected marshland area. we could see the bird sanctuary -a wild marsh park.  more birds with long legs than you could count! croatia is beautiful and the people really open and great.

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bedam on

they just feel that way with the humor statement that once one serb lives in a town, it belongs to them. regardless, it's interesting that there is continuos bad feelings between the two after the conflict is no longer in the headlines.

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