Please watch here a loose collection of photos, little films and texts done while traveling through Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo and Mazedonia, before getting to Sofia in Bulgaria.
On the road I gave another biker with an Australian platea sign to take a coffee. Bootlace, thats how everybody calls him, is pleased to do so and has a few good tips for the case I will make it where he is from.
The croation costline is a dream for riders. Almost no straight roads, it curves for miles and miles and miles. The weather is best and even the road surface is mostly renewed. It is wonderful to ride there, greeting endless amounts of other "brothers" some mean it, some are too busy to lift a hand from the handlebar to take the next curve in the ideal line, balancing all forces to an effortless flow of man and machine.
While watching out for a place to sleep in the late afternoon after a whole day of riding in which I went through all the ups and downs of concentration, road conditions and exitement, I spotted the sign of a village at the coast, which seemed to be far away enough from the main road.
I found Lukovo!
Katarina and Anton rent appartments for tourists.
She is doing all the work, because unfortunatly Anton, and old sailor and captain is unabled, due to his illness. The capacity of his nerves throughout the body are very limited. He makes me understand, that sometimes he trips over something and falls. For example one of the cats, called "Taliban", and old male cat with blank spots in the fur, one infected eye and ears clogged with several deseases. If Anton doesnt trip over Taliban, he likes to bother him, by pretending he would step on his tail. Taliban waits until it gets serious and vanishes to hang out somewhere else in the shadow.
Anton also has trouble to speak, but understands everything around him. The conversations with him are limited of cause. That doesnt hinder him to give some basic tips for everything, for example, that with a strong mind everything can be done. He puts his fist next to his head to illustarte that he is only keeping himself stright up and walking a few steps because of his strong mind.
Katrharina speaks some German, Italian and probably she manages also English and French.
He grew up in the village, had six brothers, one died. One of his brothers is still fishing and runs the only restaurant/bar in the village. She grew up in a neighbour village, both met at the dance, and that was the relation for their whole life. Even Anton was away fro years in all continents on ships, she visited him once a year. Both stood childless and that is maybe one reason, why they take care so well of their visitors. I could have stayed and become a kind of son to them, that was my feeling.
I decided to stay a couple of days more in the village, where is the one restaurant/bar, one letterbox, a church, two graveyards, a fishing hut as a museum and no shop. A few tourists hang around in the sun during the day, all happy not to see too many others.
After I bought some cheap fishing gear I try by myself and it doesnt take long to figure out how it works in the little bay of Lukovo. Small hooks with squid for small fish, and even squid and cuttlefish take the special lure for them, a little artificial fish with nasty hooks at the tail. The cuttlefish I even catch right at the rocks, just holding the line by hand, the lure in the water after I spotted the animal. They do it always the same way: approaching slowly without making any vibrations in the water by using the thin side finns, the suddenly shooting forward grabbing the "fish" with their arms. They hunt on eye-sight, thats why they are cought often in the dark. I could see the cuttlefish just an armlength in bright light when he took the lure. Waiting just a second that he confirms his grip and a sudden pull drives the hooks in the flesh. Pull it quickly up on land.
Their reaction is always to repulse water out to the front to escape, which only works under water, of cause, and not hanging on a hook. It makes a sound like the last breath of someone. The next is the ink they spit out, which is advisable to wait until taking him from the hook.
What I cant stand from the whole thing is when they look with their big eyes at you. I think they understand that it is you who kills them and sometimes they seem to ask: Why did you do that?
They are intelligent and sensitive. Their change of colours and helpless attempts to save their live with all possible reactions tellt hat they are in a tremendous shock. It is not only the shock of being cought and hooked, it is being in the other side, the world they know they cannot survive.
Small school-fish seem to have less of a soul to me. I try always to give them all a quick clean death. But it is never pleasent to see a living creature die, specially if it is yourself who does it.
I decide to stay even longer, for one reason, that I didnt have had a real break for a while, the other, because it is still not the main tourist season, therefor it is empty, and, the most important, I want to make a present for the couple who takes well care of me.
Unfortunately the next day I get seriously sick and I suspect that I will be nailed to bed for a week. Katharina turns out to be a local medical system. Her herbal teas, pills, from which I dont know what they really contain, also lots of vitamines, bring me in a more or less orderly shape which almost allow me to ride on after some days. But the present for them is gone. I imagined to work with images of the sea, fishes, their relation, all done on theire nice terrasse from which Anton looks out usually to the sea, reading the waves, the clouds and the winds.
The next station in Sofia is happening in a couple of days, and in the shape I am, it is a bit risky to wait for better and ride all the way through Bosnia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Bulgaria in just two days.
I have Katarinas and Antons address and have to think about something for them, which is performative, special for them and sendable by post.
But if you are at the croatian coast and want a nice cute village, where the son of the fisher brings you the fresh fish, probably fried by his sister, and you can stay at his uncles place looking right at the see, go to the map and find Lukovo, ask in the resaurant for Katarina and Anton and give them my greetings!