55 hours to Bosnia and back
In these corona times and during the holidays, getting to Bosnia and coming back in 2 days was a challenge. However, this was not a holiday but a vis major. The following is a description of the route. All in all, it lasted 55 hours, of which I spent 26 hours in the car. This easily copes with 24 hours to Istanbul, 18 hours to London, or 36 hours by bus from Mauritania to Mali.
Table of Contents
I get a call on Thursday at 3 p.m. There’s a funeral tomorrow. In Zenica. Needed to process the sad news. I arranged a vacation with my superiors. I left work a little earlier. I ate something at home and I tried to rest. The first idea is to go with Twingo alone. A couple of passengers signed up. My sister lended me her car, a Dacia Logan, 7 seats, no air conditioning, with a suitcase on roof. Now it is necessary to coordinate the remaining 6 passengers, who goes, where I pick them up. Of course, I didn’t get any rest. I started at 10pm from home. In Grosuplje I refueled for 60 EUR. The path to the border is without major thigs to report. The border as expected with congestion, but much worse than expected. I cannot go to the small border crossing because not all passengers are from the Schengen area. A little after 11pm we lined up and waiting started. We moved slowly or not at all. Cars are trying to drive through the petrol station, which slows down the movement. One passenger can’t stand it and has to go to the toilet over the fence to the gas station.
After 2 and a half hours we passed the border crossing. On the Slovenian side, he just took a quick glance at us. On the Croatian side, he asked if it was a transit and only scans my passport. Atthe border toll there was again a small traffic jam, 7 HRK. We arrived in Zagreb via Ljubljanska, Zagrebačka and Slavonska avenues in Savica at 2 am. I picked up two more passengers there. Before we left, I asked if they have documents and of course one has expired ID. And of course this was the one that was not there at home. So we drove to the other end of Zagreb to get her passport. We were finally ready and head out of town. We were on the highway before 3am. A group of seven with papers from different countries, different PCT status, ranging in age from 18 to 75, each with their own health problems.
Oon the highway again without major problems. In the meantime, we stoped once at the gas station in front of the Slavonski most to stretch our legs, eat a sandwich and refuel, € 50. The toll is around € 11. We crossed the Crotian border crossing without complications because it was transit. Again, it only scans my passport. On the Bosnian side, after a short wait, it was our turn. Examined documents, papers related to COVID. Of course I have a passenger who is not vaccinated and without a test, has dual citizenship but does not have their passport. The customs officer said we had to go back to Croatia to do the test for one passanger. I asked if he suggests some other option. He replied that I park on the side and bring papers from car. I parked, I took papers, put 20 € inside. I brought him the documents, he returns them to me and we could continue with our trip.
Now followed the morning dawn ride to Zenica. Here we drove on regional roads, through settlements and it is necessary to constantly adjust the speed. Some sections of the road were in poor condition. We reach Jalija in Zenica a little before 7:30. Meeting in these circumstances is never easy. I asked that they put me in some room to get some sleep. I lied down and straighten my back, which was necessary, but I didn’t fall asleep. Understandably the house is full, the phone is constantly ringing. I try to help, in between I also ate something, I moved between the house and the apartment. It’s almost 40 degrees outside. I took a shower, but when I came out of the bathroom I was sweaty again
A funeral was between 1pm and 3pm. The sun was shining relentlessly. Then we headed to the garden and sat in the shade of the grapes. I slowly turned off, people took turns at the table. I got back some energy around 10 pm and we planned for next day. 2 people staied, the rest of us went back. On our way back we will stop in Kotor Varoš. Took another shower and lied down on some pull-out bed that wasn’t the kind on my back. After a short conversation with my roommates, I fall asleep after 40 hours. It was quite humid, my back hurts every now and then. I could see that the other roommates were not sleeping either
The alarm woke us up at 6 p.m. Followed by bathroom, tidying up, packing. We drunk some coffee and move into the apartment. We had some breakfast there. They suggest a route past Doboj, it is the longest, but the road is also the best. Fairwell followed and we left around 8am. It looked well at first. Ride was smooth until Žepče, where we are redirected from the regional road to the local one. Of course we stood in the traffic jam again, drove through the cities. But somehow I came to terms with my faith. Finally we return to the regional road and turn to Teslić. We took a short break here. I hope I wasn’t caught by some radar on the way. From there, across Borje, we arrived in Kotor Varoš around noon. There was some business to arrange. Of course, this was not without complications. We done 3 out of 5 tasks. We now had the option to rest until evening in a house that was empty last year.
We decidde to visit someone else in Banja Luka and wait for the heat to subside. Of course, this was not without complications. Banja Luka is full of cars. We had to get to the suburbs of Novoselija. On the way we come across a closed road, they are renovating a bridge. It was necessary to turn back and look for the second bridge and drive on the other side of the Vrbas to the next open bridge. I was already quite nervous by this time. Around 2pm we finally managed to arrive at destination. We were really warmly received. I took a shower and went to bed but I couldn’t fall asleep again.
At 7 pm we set off again. There were already fewer cars in the city. We soon reach the highway towards the border, 3.5 BAM. We stoped in Bosanska Gradiška and bought some fruit and vegetables. We reached the border and had to wait again. On the Bosnian side we passed without complications. We slowly moved across the bridge and had time to enjoy the view of the Sava river. I let one motorcyclist in front of me and two more immediately abused this. Croats do not complicate because of transit. They scan one passport. After 2 hours of waiting, we are back on the highway. At the Lipovljani rest area, I refueled and bought drinks to quench our thirst, € 62. I paid a toll around € 7.
After Zagreb, the problems started again. There is a huge delay at the next toll (7 HRK). It took a long time to cross this first hurdle. from 2 lains into 6 and back to 1 lane. There’s a honking, rumbling, mentioning family members. I would say quite stressful, appropriate for Asian roads. At the Croatian customs, the customs officer sits in the house, smoking and waving to move on. Of course, there is now still room between customs, which is dragging on again. One of the passengers has digestive problems and finds a ‘solution’ in dixi toilet. Finally on the Slovenian side. We showed a different set of papers for individuals. Two get quarantined, but we knew that in advance and we couldn’t fix anything upfront. The customs officer treated us OK.
After 5 hours of waiting, we were finally on the open road. I needed a little rest and to stretch my legs. We stoped at one of the gas stations. In the parking lot, the Romanian vomits from the car next to our and drove away. Only the last piece of the path remains. Somewhere around Grosuplje I got really sleepy and barely drove the last kilometers. I parked at home at 5am. We quickly unloaded the car, went to the shower and to bed. I woke up around noon when they told me we just won the Spaniards.
As I mentioned at the beginning, the whole trip took 55 hours. Of that, I sat in the car for almost half the time. And half of that was waiting. All that for just 1000 kilometers. It was definitely exhausting, but I don’t regret any effort for a thing like that. In the future, in a similar situation, I will only go alone and through small border crossings and spend less time waiting. However, I will avoid such a route over the summer, no matter day of a week, because obviously Thursday and Saturday are no better than Friday and Sunday. Otherwise on the way there was a lot of beautiful nature, rivers (Sava, Bosnia, Vrbas, Vrbanja, Usora, Krivaja, …). I’m going to visit these places again at a slower pace.