Biking from Gracac to Knin Croatia

Gracac to Knin, Croatia by Bike

The BIG Hill

Not too long after getting back on the road and heading towards the wild west town of Knin, Croatia, there is a very large hill or actually, I would say it is even a mountain.  It was the biggest mountain I biked on the entire trip, and thankfully I had a good night sleep and a great dinner the night before, otherwise, I’m not sure I would have made it to Knin before the late hours of the evening.  Again, the road conditions were great, there were not many cars at in this stretch of road from Gracac to Knin.  The one concern I had was with regards to land mines.  The father at the house I stayed the night before told me to be careful and to “NEVER” go off the road as the whole entire area was mined during the war.  There were signs posted all over the highway stating the exact same thing.  So, please, stay on the road if you decide to bike this area too.  Why on earth do people setup land mines?  Such waste of time and effort and money and lives doing stuff like that.

The town of Knin, Croatia

Staying and getting to Knin was a highlight for me.  I had been reading about this town in my guide book for several months, and for some reason it stuck out to me as a place I wanted to visit for sure.  Sure enough, I made it there.  This town is characterized by many Croatians as the wild west, cowboy style town.  The rule of law just might not be the same as in other parts of the country.  I think it is fair to say that outsiders from other parts of Croatia look down on Knin as a subordinate/ second rate town too.  This is strange to me.  I don’t understand exactly why because to me, everything about the place was pretty darn cool and interesting.  Especially the people I met there.

Hotels and Places to Stay in Knin

This is where things might get a bit interesting for you if you stumble in here on bike.  I had no idea where to stay, and I was a bit lost in terms of figuring out the map my book had.  So, like all good travellers, I went into a coffee shop much like I had done the day before in Gracac.  This time, the young girl working there was not very helpful, and the young guy patron was not too helpful for me either.  Actually, that’s not true, the girl told me to go to “restaurant Tri-Lovca” which is exactly where I stayed.  I guess I just remember her not being too friendly with me which kinda pissed me off momentarily.

Restaurant Tri-Lovca is a great place to stay and eat.  It is run by orthodox Christians I believe.  And they were all super friendly.  The price for the night was somewhere in the $15/night range, and the room was huge and worked just fine.  I was even invited to watch them slaughter the pigs and lambs at six in the morning.  This was also a unique experience.

That night that I was there in Knin, I met a few guys who took me out to the local night clubs and discos.  What was really interesting was that the first part of the night I was with some Bosnians doing their thing, and the end of the night I was with some Croatians at a totally different club.  From what I could tell, these two groups of people still segregate themselves from eachother, but there was no hostility when walking down the street and the two groups of people would be next to eachother.  Also, I am sure there were Serbians and other groups mixed in, and no real issues.

Udbina To Gracac Croatia By Bike

Udbina to Gracac Croatia

The ride from Udbina to Gracac was at times a tough ride. The main reason being the weather. It can be very windy up in the mountains that are close to Bosnia, and that is exactly what I was feeling that day. Also, there are very few cars on the road, so you definitely feel like you are out there in the middle of nowhere. But sure enough, the maps that I had and the road signs were always helpful and kept me sane.

Once I arrived in Gracac, I had no idea what to do, so per usual, I stepped into a small coffee shop. This coffee shop was not too big, but it had some serious action going on inside. There were several friendly people who were interested in what it was that I was up to. I told them my story, and they were still in a state of disbelief for a while.
As it turns out, the family who owned the coffee shop invited me to spend the night at their house, which I accepted. Gracac is a small village, maybe a few thousand people. There is a school in Gracac, and there is a mix of Croatians and Serbs living there as well. The family that I stayed with was most definitely Croatian, and they showed me all kinds of pictures from the war that happened in their country just a few years prior. I learned that not only men were involved directly in the war, but the women were too.
I had a great time with this family in Gracac, Croatia, and I hope to see them again. They really made the trip very memorable. There house down on the river as you can see in the movies was pretty cool, and the bbq we had was great.

Bike Ride from Zagreb Airport to Zagreb Croatia

I landed in Zagreb, Croatia in early May of 2005. Right after landing at the airport, I got my luggage, which was my mountain bike and bike bags that was all boxed up in a typical cardboard bike box, and I went to the curb outside the airport and started putting the bike together. It didn’t take too long. Maybe about thirty or forty minutes. But after it was built, I left the box for someone to put in the trash, and started biking in the direction that I thought was the city center. It was a bike ride I will never forget. Not knowing a single person who lived in Croatia, and not knowing where the heck I was going to was all sorts of fun, and I hope to do it again.