Travel is as much about the people you meet as the things you see. And that holds especially true when you travel by bike and even more so in most parts of the Balkans, where outside visitors aren’t common.
That was reinforced in delightful fashion to BikeTours.com founder and president Jim Johnson on a recent bicycle tour from Dubrovnik to Sarajevo. In this excerpt from “In the Now” in Adventure Cyclist magazine, writer Alex Crevar explains:
“We were riding across one of the continent’s rare undeveloped and unsullied multi-border regions. In many places, we could have been riding through the 19th century.
“A stray-dog storm, finally caught up to our small peloton the day before Sarajevo. The veil of clouds and rain, so respectful on previous stages of our trip, overtook the group as we cycled along the ‘caravan’ trading route used during the Ottoman era.
“Our group crowded under a covered picnic table next to a house in the village of Luka as rain blew overhead. Within minutes the house’s owner, Džale Surkovi, just awake from a nap, came outside to say hello. Happy for the unexpected company, he served us a tray loaded with homemade plum rakija (brandy) and thick coffee cooked on his iron stove and served in copper pots.
“‘My family has lived here 800 years,’ he told us as the sun poked through clouds. We sipped from shot glasses and contemplated the idea of his people welcoming travelers since the time of the Crusades. ‘Bosnians are known as friendly people. We want to talk to others about Bosnian beauty and history and to hear from visitors about their habits and history.”
This tour evolved from initiatives by the Adventure Travel Trade Association to promote sustainable tourism in the Western Balkans. We acknowledge and applaud their support.
BikeTours.com is a proud Titanium-Level sponsor of the Adventure Cycling Association.