6,500 KM CYCLE; DAY 54, Lokve

Day 54 Tuesday 24 July 1984

Lokve, Gorski Kotar, Yugoslavia. (now Croatia)

Rest Day 0 km. Total 3065km.

During the night there is a thunderstorm and very heavy rain falling through the sheltering fir trees, helping to clean the tent. When I wake, I can see nothing through the mist that hangs above the lake and cosy valley below me, with a sprinkle of small wooden houses and narrow roads through field bowls and firwoods.

The mist goes off and we walk for breakfast – Yugoslavian patisserie. All the shops, even in the big towns have a preciously guarded store of limited variety of foodstuff. Things seem to have more value, especially bread, which vanishes like a mist in the early morning.

We feel more at home here, than on the tourist encrusted coast,  the wet air below dark firs, clouds hanging on ranks of tall black pines, a quiet lake of blue water, no sails, no scuba, no surfboard, just one wooden boat like a snail last night was seen.

The camping fee is cheap; a man comes collecting when it is nearly dark, startling us from a wine induced slumber. 240 dinar instead of 770 the night before. He gives us a leaflet with photos of the area. One of the most intriguing aspects of this valley is that there are giant wooden sculptures placed in fields, under trees, great carved trunks. When we drank coffee at the motel we could watch two men chipping away at more carvings. It is a workshop, but I am fascinated to know whose idea it is and if they all come from one person.

Today is cloudy and cool (long trousers and helly hansens) We spend some time in the tent, reading, sewing. At suppertime some of the hardest rain I have ever known falls, and the valley and lake are blotted grey. Later the sky clears to pale cold colours and a shifting white mist rises between black ranks of trees from dikes, and hollows, from puddles and roads, fascinating to watch from the high ledge of our campsite. It is different every minute.


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