Thursday 27 July 2023

Road trip in the Balkans - part 8

My arrival in Poljanak was a bit early today. But I felt a little tired from lack of good sleep the last two nights. My right leg and right shoulders were pulling me at night, and I woke up in the middle of the night both times. After taking a paracetamol, I fell asleep again.

This afternoon I almost took a nap, but then decided to arrange and prepare some stuff. I also took the opportunity to sort out my day's photos. 

The cat jumped on my lap and stayed there a while

After that, I took a beer I bought and went down to the terrace where I read a while before. A group of Hungarian bikers on three bikes had gathered, so I asked if I could join. They didn't speak much English, but we exchanged a few ideas. They were two couples, one with their son. They shared their kikiriki (peanuts) and slibovic with me (two kinds, plum's my favourite over apple). I tasted these alcohols before, but never from a little tin cup served out from a Coca cola PET bottle. They came prepared.

runway 32 at Zeljava Air Base

The initial plan was to go out for dinner, but in the end I skipped that. We hung out there as much as we could, but in the end. the cold got the better of us. They continued their party in the apartment the family got. It's crazy how I spent two weeks with a daily hyperthermia, only to find myself suffering of hypothermia (not really the latter). Already during the ride today, I put on my neck flannel and closed my vest's vents to be less cold. I didn't imagine that I would be cold during this trip. I only took the above thin long sleeve t-shirt with me in case it would be a little chilly some nights. First time I've even thought about taking it out.

One of the entrances of the underground "hangar"

At first, I was trying to decide if I would go to the closest restaurant by foot or by bike. But after a couple of slibovices, I thought I'd just stay in and eat tomorrow's pic-nic. I had enough snacks anyway and I could always buy more.

Earlier that day, I went to visit the Zeljava Air Base, which is a Yougoslavian air base. They built a huge hangar in the mountain and several runways. The whole site is not really safe, as it still contains traces of PCB (check it out on Duckduck) and apparently, outside of asphalt there are still mines planted there. I didn't get out of the asphalt in any case.

I drove into the entrance in the picture above, but after about fifty meters, the darkness was so complete, that even with the big lights on, I couldn't see what was ahead. It got muddy and slippery and this helped me make up my mind to turn around early. I'm a bit disappointed not to have been able to go further, but without proper lighting on a motorbike, it was useless.

Inside of the entrance

The atmosphere there was a little weird. There were many bikers and some random tourist families there, which was no issue. But there also was a big group of German offroad or pothole cars with all the same sticker on their car. They were a little obnoxious it seemed to me. When I left, their three cars were in front of me, with their doors open, basically like a barrier on the end of one runway. A couple of hundred meters later, I saw five or six other cars with the same stickers. They are probably having a party there as we speak.

The funny thing, is that the Bosnia i Herzegovina border is just a couple of hundred meters away, and if you were to cross overland, you'd be in their country just by jumping off a runway.

In any case, it's the first, and probably last time, I ever drove on a runway.

And here's a photo of Maslenički most (Maslenica bridge), which I passed on the road to Plitvicka.

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