Category Archives: Croatia

Osijek to Opatoyac

A second visit to the market at Osijek and on the road again.

Memorial to 714 Croatian men kept in a Serbian concentration camp.
Memorial to 714 Croatian men kept in a Serbian concentration camp.

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. 20160525_130550The 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.

The war damaged water tower just outside Vukovar that now stands as a monument to the Serbian/Croatian conflict in the early 90's.
The war damaged water tower just outside Vukovar that now stands as a monument to the Serbian/Croatian conflict in the early 90’s.

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.

Paula, who kindly put us up for the night at her home.
Paula, who kindly put us up for the night at her home.

We had a very good and welcome night’s sleep.

Nerd’s Corner

Osiyek to Opatoyac: 55 miles

Distance travelled so far : 1910 miles

Kopacevo to Osijek


We woke to a dry but cloudy and windy day. Said farewell to our campsite of last night, packed up the tent and made the short journey to Osijek, a city of some 108,000 inhabitants.

Here we changed currency again, into Kuna. About 1 kuna to 10p.

We then visited the post office to send off another box of things to the UK we now feel we can manage without; waterproof leggings, Simon’s shoes (he does still have sandals) and other bits and bobs. This giving more space in our panniers  to carry more food now that we plan to camp more often.

Osijek market
Osijek market

In a colourful market nearby we had a bountiful choice of fruit and veg, much of the produce being sold by the people that had grown or prepared it.

We soon filled the space in our front panniers!

The rest of the day was spent visiting tourist information, bike shops and an internet cafe trying to sort out a longer term solution to the front wheel situation.

We were not surprised to find we could not get a suitable wheel here, it is quite a specialist item. So we have begun liaison with the bike shop  we bought our tandem from. ( J D Tandems  of West Yorkshire ).

We had to work out where we might be in a week or so within the EU and then find an address to have it sent to. All of which will take a bit of time.

View from our accommodation in Osijec
View from our accommodation in Osijec

So we stayed on in Osijek for the night.

Nerd’s Corner

Kopcevo to Osijek: 12 miles

Distance travelled so far: 1855 miles

Mohacs to Kopačevo – into Croatia

Waiting for the ferry to Mohacs.
Waiting for the ferry to Mohacs.

On waiting for our ferry over to Mohacs who should we see but our fellow cycle traveller, Beno…! Benno’s Blogsite tells of his exploits en route to China on his bike.

After a shared coffee we caught the ferry over to Mohacs, a medium sized town where we could buy our provisions for the day.

Stocked up, we were on our way again, when Simon noticed the front brakes behaving differently. On examination of the wheel he noticed a crack in the rim of the front wheel. A combination of the load we are carrying, wear from the brake blocks, the bumpy tracks and being a few years old meant it was in danger of splitting on us. Not something we wanted to happen in the middle of an isolated track!

Bike shop in Osijek who fixed us up with a replacement front wheel as a temporary measure to help us on our way.
Bike shop in Osijek who fixed us up with a replacement front wheel as a temporary measure to help us on our way.

Tourist information in Mohacs guided us to a very helpful bike shop owner.

He did not have double skin wheel, but was able to fix us up with an alternative wheel as a temporary measure which had thicker spokes, one that at least was much less in danger of disintegrating unexpectedly.

An hour later we were on our way again.

Soviet era watchtower near the border with Croatia.
Soviet era watchtower near the border with Croatia.

Passing an old soviet watchtower just before the border we checked through passport control (Croatia is not in the Schengen area although it is in the EU, similar to the UK) and we passed through the border with Croatia.

20160523_135525We had a short climb to the top of a ridge to get up and over before the path went through a nature reserve.


The climb of 139mtrs we managed, with two stops to catch our breath on the way. The ride down was steeper than on the way up but was cobbled at the bottom, so we were very glad we were not going the other way!

As we approached the turn for the nature reserve, we saw the face of a 20160523_155414sandstone outcrop we had just passed over. Here we could see the face all peppered with ‘front doors’ for sand martins.

The nature reserve was a lovely ride for 30Km along a mostly good surface, atop the bund for flood defence.

We soon saw wild boars foraging at the edge of the woods with their young. As we were looking at a deer standing in the shade, a boar ran across the path right in front of us.

We also saw two foxes, herons, egrets, black storks and possibly two wild cats. The latter was a bit far away to be sure of, but was not fox colour and cat shape with longer legs. We also became aware of a grand chorus of thousands of frogs who had the marshy land as their home. The sound was quite surreal….

On reaching Kopačevo, we discovered on this occasion the campsite was where it said it was on the map. After pitching our tent , hot showers, a good meal we then had  pleasant conversation with two German couples we met who were travelling in their minibuses – the evening was just excellent.

The campsite owner even brought out some slices of cheese, wine and a spirit of something like slivoviç for us to share; it made it quite perfect. We sat in a communal eating area and talked about travels as a thunderstorm passed overhead with rain. A good night’s sleep followed to the chorus of massed ranks of frogs in the wetlands nearby.

Nerds Corner

Mahocs to Kopačevo: 49 miles

Total distance travelled so far: 1843 miles