30 A brush with the law and the Woods of Fear!
Trip Start Apr 02, 2008
47Trip End Jul 20, 2008
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Pittomaco to Donji Miholjac
Best bit: watching the sun set on the castle at Donji
Worst bit: seeing a poor squashed hedgehog
Animals: lots of birds with odd colours that I didnt recognise (and Mrs Tiggiwinkle deceased)
On attempting to leave the hotel Aida this morning, the English speaking girl on reception apogetically said the police wanted to see me. Gulp.
I assumed she was telling the truth and had my best interests at heart, as in a motherly way she had insisted on my having a second boiled egg at breakfast twenty minutes earlier
Anyway, apparently the nightshift had notified the local plod that I was in town (as one does), and then they discoverd, shock horror, that I didnt have a proper entry stamp in passport. Serious stuff.
As she explained all of this, a gruff looking uniformed fellow with a large revolver turned up at the hotel, and directed me a stern look.There followed heavy slavic style chat with the staff, and eventually it transpired that if I wanted passport back, then a trip to the local nick was in order. So much for an early start. At this point he tottered off. After further discussions the chef was unwillingly dragged from somewhere in the back as an obilgitory chapperone (I wasnt allowed to cycle there alone) and drove me the two minutes to the local station. Desk sergeant gave me more stern looks, and returned the passport. I kept trying not to laugh. Driving me back the chef revealed that he could, after all, speak some English. "Police stupid shit" he said. And with those accurate words, the matter was closed.
Back on the road again it was time for new tactics to avoid the worst of the Croatian drivers, and take longer routes on the most deserted roads
As I trundeled along my map proved its ability to be a false friend. I had followed it faithfully on a fast road missing detour to the middle of nowhere, only to find the route blocked with a barier and fence. A sign in large black and white peeling letters said something like "No entry under any circumstances. Private. Go away.Now". Behind lay a dark "Mirkwood" style forest.
Groan. Retreating meant an even longer 25km detour, so.... I squeezed bike and panniers through a gap in the chaink and entered the forbidden zone. Visions of that movie "the Beach" sprang to mind where some backpackers naughtily go somewhere they shouldnt, encounter some gun toting criminals, and come to a sticky end being chased through the jungle. Would I find myself running through the forest, bullets whizzing past ears, pack bobbing on back screaming " Noooo I am an Americannnnn!" ??? The trees were very dark and tall. It was eirly quiet. Where were the birds? I put on a sprint, but it was a long one as the track was a full 10km. Towards the end I passed the spooky woodcutters house, no one was home. A chink in the fence awaited me on the other side. Freedom. Phew.
All this excitement meant that by 3pm I decided it was time to rest those pedals and call it a day. A busy little border town Donji Milhovac with a crumbling chateau beckoned. I checked into the local truckers hotel and ordered a very large bowl of pasta. Bedtime.