Croatia 31st May – 1st June

As we crossed the border the sun was setting. Wild camping near a border never feels right, and the landscape was flat, exposed farmland, nowhere to hide. Hannah had read that morning that wild camping in Croatia was not advised due to the possibility of stumbling across old landmines. We would not be wild camping in Croatia it seemed. Hannah found a campsite on the map that was 40km away. For fear of arriving after closing and having to spoon a landmine that night, we cycled like mad. It rained again. We arrived at 8.30 and the campsite was empty, but it was open. We were the only ones there. We called the number on the gate and were to told to make ourselves at home. The small campsite was idyllic. Small, shaded from the rain and on the edge of a vineyard. There was an outdoor kitchen with a fridge full of wine and an honesty box. We honestly drank as we cooked up a storm in a storm and danced under the shelter. Fun times.

A stop in a town with a telly was forced upon us the next night as Tottenham were due to beat Liverpool in the Champions League Final, on the telly. I had the romantic idea of riding past a bar half an hour before kick-off and being allowed to pitch our tent in the garden. Hannah told me this was highly unlikely and that I would most definitely be disappointed and miss the game. We booked a room.

After riding past no bars all afternoon we rolled in to a town looking for our room. The Airbnb host told us to get a coffee in the café next door whilst the room was being cleaned after it had been rented to a truck driver for a day sleep. Classy. The host arrived at the café shortly after and told us the room would not be clean for another two hours. What he meant to say was, the truck driver is still asleep. We chatted in broken English (Hannah is still learning) for the next two hours about Croatian history, football, the worst rain on record that was sweeping across the region; his three jobs as a hazelnut farmer, graveyard worker and teacher of Croatian history to children, oh and he was a plumber in his spare time. He too was watching the game that night and was in the same drinking spirit as we were. He told us that he had never had drinks with any guests before and we felt quite honoured that he had taken the time with us. He took us to a restaurant round the corner where we scoffed some local cuisine and he bought us more beer. Four hours after we had met we realised that the match was about to start and that he had not yet shown us to the apartment, and we were still in our soaking wet cycling clothes. We missed most of the first half. Turned out we could have missed the whole game. Tottenham lost. A great day though.

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