Bus at 10.30 to Banja Luka then train on to Sarajevo. We’ll that was the theory. Gave me two hours leeway if on schedule. It is now 11.55 and perhaps the bus from the coast will arrive at noon. At least the free Zagreb WiFi has allowed me to catch up on the blog. But there is something to be said for trains. At the worst if I am not going to make the train, I can stay on the bus which goes to Sarajevo. That is starting to look like best plan B.
Spent an interesting half hour chatting in good English to a Bosnian Croatian, in his sixties, a Doctor, who had learnt language from English woman married to a Croatian. He loved Walter Scott, had read Daniel Defoe, but had a problem with Oscar Wilde! Very keen on defining nationalities. Was I English or British? What do they speak in Scotland? Celtic? Why were, we leaving the EU? Told me he was a Bosnian Croatian but he had to leave because they had made life difficult for him. I didn’t immediately register the full irony of his lack of self-awareness.
Bus finally arrives and departs at 12.25. It is very stop start till we get to the motorway then he puts his foot down. Croatian border is five minutes but Bosnian takes 25. Driver says it’s an hour from leaving so should be OK for the train at 16.01. Young Canadian couple visiting Bosnian relatives help communication. After edgy trip we arrive at 15.25 and I am very relieved. Turned out the bus stops at Banja Luka so plan B would not have worked. Chug round to station two minutes away. A woman in the information office proudly announces No train today tomorrow yes. Not enough passengers to make it worthwhile? Its only as I rush back to bus station that it sinks in-if the only train is not running, why the fuck is she sitting there?
There is a bus at 4 o’clock happily. Not so good, it takes 5 hours and is a crumbly little 29 seater. The only redeeming feature is the scenery for the first hour, high rocky gorges cut through quartz and basalt slopes. And then it widens out and the white water turns olive.
An hour gone, 20%of the ride. An hour and a half gone, 30%. The clock at the front of the bus is inescapable. 20 minute break for the drivers after two hours. I finish off the cheese salad baguette I made this morning. The fold down table provides amusement by not stopping horizontal – skittish but deadly. Somehow it passes and we arrive at 8.50.
The darling young man who unlocks the front door is a cartoon camp New Yorker accented fusspot. Where have I come from? Don’t come too close, can’t be too careful, all our (us) Embassy staff have left. What time would you like breakfast? Between 8.30 and 9. Will that be 8.30 or 9? Christ, get me out of here.
And you know the Chinese are so rude- new money of course. The Arabs are the same, and the Russians. Start to wonder if he is in the right business.
Supposed to be very good breakfast, tomorrow will tell.
Need to recheck train for sunday