Since the last update, which went up when I was in Knin, Croatia, I have been moving along by bicycle, bus, and ferry. It has felt at times as though I were traveling by bus and ferry as much as by bike. And, indeed, that may be the case. From Knin, I rode south to Split, then ferried over to the island of Hvar, ferried back over to the mainland, continued S for a short distance before a disturbing bulge emerged in my rear tire. The rear tire I was using was my spare tire. I had installed it two weeks ago after my previous tire had worn out, and had confidently boarded the ferry from Split – the last city I know of that has bike shops (or does it? Zagreb has a bike shop or two…I know that.). At any rate, I stopped, took a look at the bulge in the spare tire for a little while, sipped some water, looked at it again, and then rested for a while longer. It was still there about ten minutes later.
I deflated the tire, put four business cards into the tire between tube and tire, and inflated the tire to half pressure. It was half there. I felt a small bump each time the bulge touched the pavement. “One Revolution @ A Time Right?” That’s right. The following morning, the bulge grew larger, the tube lost pressure again – I neglected to mention that it had lost pressure the night before, although at this point I can almost fix flats without stopping. So, I put in a couple more business cards, re-inflated and resumed. No dice. 5Km later, I was walking again. And trying (unsuccessfully) to hitch hike. another 5Km later I came accross a fruit stand along the side of the road. The woman selling fruit told me about a nearby bus stop where I could catch a bus to Dubrovnik. I went there and caught a bus to Dubrovnik. Since my arrival here, I walked to a hostel, stayed the night, and then walked to an auto parts store that (Thank GOD!) had a replacement tire. I put a sixth patch on my tube, inflated it, and then stopped in here (cyber cafe) to update the web site.
When I purchased a map of Eastern Europe a few minutes ago in a book store here in Dubrovnik, I spoke for a few minutes with the man behind the counter. He explained that Serbia had broken up into its three separate countries within the past year and a half. That is why Kosovo and Montenegro do not appear on my map. I did not realize that it had happened so recently. I thanked him for the map and made my way to the internet cafe. Fortunately roads do not change as quickly as borders. I half wish that I had taken a look at a map of Europe before making my way south through Croatia, because I think that I would likely have taken a route SE through Sarajevo and Belgrade rather than sticking to the coast of Croatia. Then again, I doubt that Sarajevo (or Belgrade) could hold a candle (that is an expression right?) to my experience in Split and Dubrovnik. These are two of the most beautiful, calm places I have seen. Split being utterly relaxed with the best hostel I have ever been to, Dubrovnik being an absolutely pristine medieval city. Pristine white blocks of stone forming the walls of a city with similarly formed walls to the buildings. Red tile rooves on top of them. Moats, draw bridges. If there has not been a film shot in this city involving knights, swords, crossbows, fires, etc., there should be. It is gorgeous.
I am feeling up beat because, although there has been the usual flurry of mechanical issues with the bike, there has also been a fresh flurry of travelers that I have encountered durring the past week. People who have been traveling to cities in eastern Europe and even the Middle East and Asia. It is exciting to meet people who have seen these places. I can almost taste the Pyramids in my mouth. Still, I have not met a single person who has been to Albania, although I have met people who know people who have been there, and I heard about a book written by a cyclist who rode his bike through Albania. I am excited to see Tirane. I also know that if a person with epilepsy can make it for six months in a trip of this nature that it will be possible to hang on for another year and a half. Or howeve long it takes. Read the next update to learn about a young woman in Aspen who is living actively despite regular seizures as well as to hear about the touring life in Montenegro and Albania. Thanks, always, for making Seize the World the success that it has been!