Wednesday 1 august 1984
Uncani, near Bosanski Novi, Yugosalvia.
114km. Total 3533km.
The decision was made this morning to turn around and cycle home. We continue to Banya Luka to find a bank. A tall chimney pours out raspberry coloured smoke into the air, the valley is full of it.
Banks are busy and frustrating. I am very bad tempered and tired already. Breakfast outside Banya Luka, by a graveyard and then there are long hot roads against an increasing wind I keep wanting to rest, shaky and too hot. The water we are given with coffee seems sulphurous and stagnant, so we carry on to fill the bottles elsewhere.
At another roadside café we drink cold tonics, under matt green grapes hanging on a canopy. There is no water here, so on we go. After a while we pass a spring, where lorries and vans are stopping to wash and drink
After retuning back through Bosanksi Novi, we follow a tranquil river, along a string of farms, wooden houses, beehive haystacks, old black-dressed brown-faced women who have learned to stare with deepset blue eyes, and open gaunt mouths.
We ask if we can camp in a flat green field that slowly slopes to the unseen river. A man on a plaster leg leads us to the right owner who with incoherent German shows us across his field. We choose a place beneath three apple trees and the old man sits on a stump to watch. Four children gather and are fascinated by our movements, We have to wait them out by writing our diaries and looking uninteresting so that we can go to the toilet.
We passed two memorable views of the river today, one a grassy flat piece, with the river still and wide, pale and blue, We wondered whether to camp there. The other was a double vision of white luscious trees on green banks, an old wooden boat deep in the shade of shallows, water black and unknown.
We drink an unusual drink tasting a bit of homemade ginger beer, and cloudy beige in colour, fruity, sour and grainy.