I feel like I owe Croatia an apology. I was in the country for two riding days / one night / 29 hours. In that time, I failed to contribute to its economy by not spending a cent (because I camped and already had all the food I needed), and I left behind a number 2 in the ground. Sorry guys.

My night passed peacefully, despite the fact I decided to watch American Horror Story on my laptop. I’d copied series five from Tien while floating on the Caspian Sea. But, I had no idea what the show was about, having never seen it before. Once I cottoned on to the theme and style, I wondered for a minute whether I should watch something a little less scary, seeing as though I was camping by myself in an abandoned building on my first day in a foreign country. Then I thought it actually suited the situation perfectly. I felt safe and I kind of liked the idea of getting scared. I think it’s an awesome thing that grown adults can still get scared by irrational things. And so I watched it, and got bit scared as a result. The most annoying thing about the night was that I had to get up and go to the toilet about four times, clearly suggesting I can drink less water in the cold weather.

Again, I had a relatively smooth riding day. Soon into the day I had to stop to get rugged up against wet weather, which came in the morning rather than in the afternoon when I thought it would arrive. It showered on and off through the day. I pushed on for 40km before my first break. Another 30km took me to the border between Croatia and Slovenia. Never have I seen such a narrow no-man’s land between borders. After being processed at the Croatian booth, and assuming I had a little way to ride to get to the Slovenian processing centre (and partly distracted by some good looking border officer girls), I rode straight past another booth that was three metres from the first one. Some quick shouting brought me back. It turned out the second booth was the Slovenian processing centre.

The geography changed as soon as I entered the country. I could see snow-topped mountains and a big climb ahead. It was 1.50pm when I had finished lunch in the town of Metlika and was ready for my last leg of the day. I knew there was a hostel in the town of Novo Mesto about 30km from the border. I decided I would camp if a good opportunity presented itself between 2.30 and 3pm, but otherwise I would continue on to Novo Mesto and hope the hostel is open. As I slowly climbed I decided I would camp even if a roof didn’t present itself. At about 3.30pm I ventured down a dirt track that led to the place where I have set up my tent.

Just as I finished setting it up it started raining and it hasn’t stopped since. I cooked dinner in a vestibule. With the ground already wet, I knew that I am very much at risk of having a similar experience as the other night, with water seeping in through the bottom of the tent and making everything wet. It will be annoying if my sleeping bag gets wet, but the idea of packing up a wet tent isn’t too disturbing as I plan on staying in a hostel in Ljubljana from tomorrow, so I will have a chance to dry it out before I want to use it again. With this in mind, and with the rain not letting up, I decided that tonight will be a good test of how waterproof the ageing fly of my tent still is. I put a bag made of woven plastic (one I’ve been carrying since Turkey) between my ground sheet and my tent, right where my upper body will lie. As I cooked and ate dinner, I sat on my sleeping mat which I’d folded so I was on four layers of it. All the while I did my best not to put too much pressure on the tent floor. Some water started getting in through my air vents, so I closed them. Despite my efforts, some dampness has already seeped through the floor of the tent where I was sitting. In an attempt to keep as dry as possible, I have got out my towel and put it under my sleeping mat where my upper body will lie, trying to cover the area where my shoulders and hips will press.

Dinnertime

Accommodation Free-camp
Distance ridden today 83.20km
Average cycling speed 16.0kph
Total distance ridden 28,458km