It is a sobering from the riches and sleek style of Italy to travel just a few kms into Slovenia, the first of a number of states from the former Yugoslavia we will traverse. The land is barren, the houses pathetic, showing the result of 50 years of underinvestment under the Tito regime. And Slovenia was the least hurt by the 1990’s uprisings of nationalism and ethnic cleansing. For that it’s been rewarded with membership of the EU and the Community has built a flash authstrasse across it, from hilltop to hilltop so the rich Germans and Italians can get to their playground on the Croatian coast more speedily.
Into Croatia and the rain is pissing down, making the biking a bit of a mission but the roads are certainly navigatable even though the bitumen suffers from lack of maintenance. A great day’s weather is put on for our visit out to Korcula, the island where Marco Polo was reputedly born. Fantastically beautiful and home apparently to the Nobilo and Belich families of Auckland and Wellington as well.
Then on down to Dubrovnich on the border with Bosnia Hercegovina. Great walled city which was shelled relentlessly during the 1990’s civil war. But the old city and walls have been rebuilt already – the 3rd or 4th time in their history and the tourist traffic is totally dense here. Time to ride on to Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo and find the real people.