Thursday, July 14, 2011


We are now in Croatia. Yesterday was the first day of the Croatian open orienteering. We both did ok, and more importantly didn't suffer much from our injuries. It is a good mental challenge for us to change from racing to win to racing as well as we can.

The terrain here is forested karst, with heaps of dolines, sinkholes, and rock. Beautiful and challenging.

We are staying for the next week in the little town of Delnice, which markets itself as the highest town in Croatia and is surrounded by the lovely forests of Risnjak National Park.

We spent the previous few days travelling through Croatia visiting the famous Adriatic towns of Koper, Zadar and Split. The unlikely highlight for me though was the road less travelled, the deserted backroads between Split and Zagreb.

Leaving Knin, the former capital of the breakaway Croatian Serbian republic the main road was closed and we ended up on overgrown country gravel roads weaving through a wasted landscape of rock walls, prickly scrub and ruined houses. In places pick marked walls still show clear evidence of shelling.

The history is complicated, the serbians settled in this harsh place on the request of the Habsburg Empire to provide a buffer against the Turks. They were governed from afar with considerable local autonomy. Following the demise of Empire succesive nation states tried to impose more control here with a particularly difficult period under the Croatian Nazis, Ustasha, during WW2. When Titos Yugoslavia split the rival nationalism of Croatia and Serbians led to succesive bouts of ethnic cleansing during the 1990's. Sobering stuff.

For us the highlight was finding in the middle of this wasted landscape and culturscape a river flowing under an arched bridge by a monastery where we pulled bombs(the jumping type) into a gorgeous pool.

We are finding internet time sparse and the phone not quite as easy as the laptop for blogging, but will do our best. We hope everyone that follows this is warm and safe wherever you are.

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