A second visit to the market at Osijek and on the road again.
A few miles out of Osijek we passed a memorial to 714 Croatian men who had been in a Serbian concentration camp in 1992 during the Serbian/Croatian confict.
Much of this part of the route is on main roads, but we had been recommended at several of the bike shops we visited and by the tourist information yesterday, to take a slightly longer detour on smaller roads.
This took us to a ridge through lots of small villages through pretty wine country.
Here we had some lovely views over the Duna. The villages were pleasant with many of the homes seemingly having a well in the garden.
The thing about a ridge was it was a slog up hill to get to it, however, the upside of this was having a long downhill to rejoin the main road. We reached 26mph without even having to pedal.
We stopped in Vukovar, a town that saw much heavy fighting between Croatian and Serbian forces in the Yugoslavian civil war that lead to the break up of former Yugoslavia 26 years ago.
Much of the town has been rebuilt, including a new bridge over to Serbia – however we passed many buildings looking damaged and derelict which presumably used to be occupied by Serbians who no longer felt safe living amongst Croatians. The population of the town has almost halved since the beginning of the conflict. Other buildings not being smartly renovated or rebuilt still showed pock marks of bullets and shells.
Pedalling on again, more main roads with lorries hurtling past us at speed, we reached a tiny village (Apotoyac) where the guide book had said there was accommodation….. but no ‘zimmer’ signs to be seen.
We stopped at the only shop to stock up with water in case we needed to wild camp. Simon went to enquire at the bar. Whilst Diana was waiting outside the shop a friendly lady called at the shop. Diana wanted to ask her if she knew of any rooms, but English would not be much use……
At the bar several calls were made by customers and the barman. Eventually we were directed back up the hill to the home of the mum of the barman.
There we were greeted by Paula, the friendly lady at the shop. A very hospitable lady indeed, speaking Croatian, a little Italian, and a little German. Various languages, gesticulations and pictures all aided communication. She kindly made a phone call to her daughter, who spoke good English and confirmed a few important details.
We had a very good and welcome night’s sleep.
Osiyek to Opatoyac: 55 miles
Distance travelled so far : 1910 miles