It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World


It's hard to believe that we have been back nearly two weeks ~ it has just been a whirl.
Bob is heading up to the Gold Coast for the Half Marathon today, where he will catch up with old Uni friends (Queensland Uni 1968). We had a bit of a bash for his 60th Birthday on Saturday, with friends and family travelling from interstate. The weather here has been wet. Wet, wet, we need the rain, but this has been especially miserable.
A couple of weeks ago, I twisted my knee when getting up to open a door for someone carrying too many cups through a door. This reignited an old war wound, making further walking in Vienna extremely painful. It seemed just an inflammatory response, as if I was static I forgot about it. More than a couple of steps and I was limping.
Drama Queen, obviously.
However this pattern has continued, meaning no running for many, many weeks. Yesterday afternoon, Bob and I got out for a short cycle in the cool, but dry, afternoon air. Surprisingly, my knee was fine cycling, despite the cold weather, and the need to cycle up some considerable hills (despite sticking to as high a cadence as I could). Although I have an appointment with the super physio next Thursday, my prescription is obviously to cycle as much as I can over the next weeks.
I must admit that I'm a wimp with the weather, not made any better by the change from a heatwave of a southern European late Spring to an unseasonably wet and cold Canberra June.
So, after I drop Bob at the airport, I hope to cycle down to Customs (after I irrigate). I'm looking forward to it!

I'm Back, but buggered


Wild weather in Europe delayed our flight from Vienna by hours, and this in turn fed into the madness of London Heathrow. Despite arriving well after our flight to Sydney was due to depart, we somehow made the connection. Our luggage alas, did not.

Although I seemed to manage OK on Saturday when we arrived back in Canberra, since then I have felt shocking; general aches and pains in the joints, constant headaches, and sleep, sleep, sleep.

Two of our four pieces of missing luggage did arrive late this afternoon, Bob's bike and my hold-all, which is a good start.

Rijeka to Ljubljana and onward to Vienna


We both slept surprisingly well on the boat and were awake before our alarm at 5:00 am. Bob was anxious to be first for breakfast (stated to be 5:30) and dragged me out of the cabin in order to get the best seat.

This was unnecessary however as the time it started seemed to be fairly flexible. When we sat down, the stale bread wasn’t really worth it anyway.

We docked right on time once again (we have been very punctual with all our travel to date), and although loaded up walked down to the Railway station as a first priority. The ticket window for international sales wasn’t to open until 9:00am, over 90 minutes away, but we found some luggage lockers at the station in which to store our gear for 15 kuna. It sounded as though the train to Ljubljana left at 1:00pm and took 3 or 4 hours but this was still to be confirmed.

In the increasingly charming Old Town, I spied a welcome I for tourist information sign, immediately before catching sight of a newsstand selling international press. Bob has been hanging out for a recent copy of the International Herald Tribune (IHT) and we were delighted to find a copy of Thursdays edition. We were told that Friday’s (today) would be due in around 10:00am.

A very pleasant time spent sipping an espresso on comfortable seats at one of the many cafes that line the pedestrian only boulevard, before we took back streets to the station. In this northern port of Croatia, the style and sense of those living here was decidedly more Italian, more Western European than where we had been recently.

On walking into the Railway Station a listing of the trains above the ticket window instantly caught our eye – the train to Ljubljana did leave from platform 3 at 12:57, but it also carried on to Vienna. Slovenia had long been on my list of places to see – however the prospect of a mid afternoon arrival in its capital, finding out details and booking our train tickets to Viena the next morning, and then finding and getting to and from accommodation, I was not going to experience Slovenia on this visit.

With consultation of the Lonely Planet Western Balkans guide (train from Rijeka to Vienna estimated to take 11 ½ hours), and information on the prices of the tickets in hand we took stock. Digging out the phone number of the Hotel Kolbeck in Vienna where we had booked to stay for the remainder of our trip took the most time. A quick phone call with the remainder of our phone card confirmed that we could get a room tonight if we were to come early. The decision was made. Tickets through to Vienna would be a solid day of travelling and getting in very late to the hotel (whose reception is not staffed after 6:00pm – so we hope everything works out!), but it will allow us a little chance to get our bearing (¡¡and hopefully get out for a much needed run)

Ahoy there, M’ Maties!

Bob and I are sailing – or should that be steaming – on the Motor Vessel Marko Polo island hopping from Dubrovnik on the far south of the Croatian coast to Rijeka near the far north.

We have had the most wonderful few days – too few – in the portside town of Dubrovnik. Our hire car was fine, and we drove up along the winding coastal road (it made one feel that you should be in a car with an open top, cheesey 60’s music, sunglasses and a scarf around the throat in the manner of all those movies we have seen). Turning inland at Opuzen, we crossed the border into Bosnia Herzegovina (BiH) although sadly they were not interested in stamping our passports.

In need of a coffee, we couldn’t stop and buy one in the charming village of Počiteli, a place on the hillside with multiple domed Mosques, rugged streets of stones and stark evidence of damage through bombs or shrapnel. Another day day, another country and another currency – we had moved from the land of Croatian Kuna’s (HZK) to Bosnian Marks (KM). A seller of paper trumpets of fruit accepted our kuna for a roll of sweet cherries, and another of fresh dates, which was welcome. On our short exploration, I came across a reasonably large, rather plain looking brown snake curled across a soft drink bottle.


We have been surprised at how much wildlife we have seen on our travels, brilliant green lizards, snakes, tortoises, squirrels and thousands of birds. We continued onto Mostar, aware of many police along the generally quiet roads. There had been very little police presence previously, and it was certainly a considerable change. With the speed limit seeming to change by the metre from 40 to 20 to we really weren’t sure what, it was necessary to keep a close eye on the road and what speed the little other traffic was doing.

As we came into the town centre, the number of police increased, with pairs in vehicles at every intersection. It wasn’t apparent what was happening, however it appeared the Turkish Ambassador or Foreign Mister was in town. We found a really cute little hotel – curiously referred to as a Motel, no doubt to attract western visitors – where the room was small, tiny really, but of far better quality than most we have stayed in.

We wandered around in light rain showers, the marble polished by years of walking very smooth and slippery. The rebuilt Mostar bridge – destroyed in 1995? Although already World Heritage listed and a beacon since the C16th- was smaller than I expected it to be. It was still a fine structure, linking the Muslim West bank of the River with the Croat East Bank. It is so crazy that these people fought one another so bitterly, having been united in their battles against (fellow former countrymen) the Serbs only a couple of years earlier, and having co-existed for centuries.

The Muslim quarter was undergoing restoration, however the evidence of the battles were everywhere. Shrapnel and bomb damage was in the streets, the worst of it patched up, but many holes still remaining.

Grand buildings were now just shells, strategically targeted to inflict the most damage to the spirit of their neighbours. A huge cemetrary next to the Mosque was full of graves of young men from this conflict.

Roadside memorials lining the roads were maintained with flowers (usually plastic or silk) accompanied by a photo of the young man. The difference was tat these men were not killed in a motor cycle or vehicle accident, but in war only a few short years ago – 1992, 1993, 1995. We decided to drive back an inland route, extending our time in Bosnia Herzogovina. While there were some interesting villages on the way, once again it was the battle scars which were the most dramatic.

In a small town called Stolac we had a very pleasant coffee at Caffe Amigo on a quickly running riverlet. Here Bob saw another snake, and the banks were covered with rapidly fluttering Blue moth-like creatures that moved like a butterfly, rested with their wings up, but had an extended tail like a dragon fly.

On walking around the town, it wasn’t the medieval arched bridges which gained our attention, but the constant evidence of recent fighting, and even more recent evidence of political tensions not far beneath the surface. Slogans for partisan groups, either muslim, sebian or croat were daubed on most surfaces. The road on either side of the town was flanked by small red signs indicating that live land mines were in the vicinity. On our walk we saw three UNFOR 4WDs returning from mine clearing operations. Scary.

The road continued to Trbejinge, a beautiful looking large town, however the rain was by now coming down steadily and after changing back what cash we could to Euro’s (Bosnia using different currency (marks) to the other former Yugoslav republics of Serbia (dinar), Montenegro (Euro), Croatia (kuna) and Slovenia (euro). We enjoyed our drive back to Dubrovnik and stayed at the same apartment on the Lapad peninsula we had previously enjoyed.

We cooked a simple pasta meal for ourselves that night in preparation of the next stage of the adventure and all the things we had to do. We woke early for the sailing of the Marko Polo to Rijeka via the southern Dalmatian Islands. There were many dogs, but not a spotted one to be seen!

We had sole use of a cabin and enjoyed being able to move about unencumbered by our luggage. The young party crowd were out in force, lining the decks with their bare bodies barely covered by bikinis. Many of these got off at the island ports and did not stay on board for the overnight trip. Those left travelling tended to be young german-speaking families, tourists driving back with their cars laden with kayaks and bikes, and a small group of well heeled well kitted out middle aged Harley Davidson mototourists.

We were able to disembark at the town of Split for an hour or so, and were stunned by the beauty of the place. . . . the old town is substantially built around the former summer palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian around AD 200. It had significant Roman splendour, and his mausoleum had been taken over by the church a few centuries later Just as we came up to the building a sung mass was to begin after a full 15 minutes (or more) of spectacular bell ringing.

Unfortunately we did not have too much time to explore the area before scurrying to get back on board the ship for dinner and a restful nights sleep.

View of Dubrovnik


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Plans for the next few days


Yes, I know that it is annoying having half finished blogs, but Internet (and computer access) has been tight!

Bob and I are having a wonderful time in Dubrovnik, and I even went for a swim yesterday in the incredibly clean waters of the Adriatic yesterday. A lot of exploring today, and all is well. Tomorrow we have hired a car belonging to a friend of a friend of the landlord of the apartment we are staying in Dubrovnik to drive to Mostar in Bosnia or is it Herzegovina?) .

We then catch an overnight ferry on Thursday morning from Dubrovnik to Reiaja in far northern Croatia, arriving 22 hours later on Friday morning. Our plan then is to get (somehow) to to Ljubljana in Slovenia, probably overnighting there, before making our way to Vienna by train.

We are looking forward to the different culture of Mostar and seeing some of the war damage. Reminders are all over Croatia of the 'Serbian and Montenegran aggression' and the bomb damage of the old town is absolutely criminal.

Wish us luck!

Sunday 3 June : Dubrovnik


Blog 2007 06 03 Sunday 03 June 2007


Being Sunday, there were few things open in the newer part of town, and after breakfast, we made our way down to the historic old town to check things out. My cold was still on my chest, so Bob left for his run on his own, finding dirt trails overlooking the Lapad peninsula in the woods with a friendly squirrel.

Pedestrian access to the old town was a little difficult, with footpaths (as they were) disappearing behind trees, parked cars, or ceasing altogether especially on blind corners. The views along the cliff faces were amazing though, and on a clear, mild day the water sparkled and was clear to the bottom at every view.

Just as we reached the Pile gate into the old town my breathing had became especially laboured, and there was the distinctive rattle of air seeking it’s way though the corrugated pipes of the throat accompanying every breath. Tourists were now thick on the ground – how dare they – and the paving stones of marble had worn smooth over countless feet over centuries providing little grip for my sandals. At times the unpleasant sensation of skating downhill was like aquaplaning in the car – one has no control and you can only hope that by not over correcting and maintaining a good grip that one comes to no harm.

Once over the bridge which spanned the now drained moat (I do like moats!), the crush of tourists was breath taking. I understand that we were there, doing much the same thing (on one hand) however I feel no affinity for this gaggle of pasty, fat, over indulged Americans and Germans who talk in loud voices and had little regard to the people or wider culture of the place.

Escaping up a side street to the narrow corridors that edged near the perimeter of the town was a different experience all together. Here we were away from the crush of cruise ship

A quick note from Kotor, Montenegro


I have written up some blogs, but there is no where where I can send them from.

Bob and I are filling in an hour in Kotor, a medieval city in the new republic of Montenegro before catching a bus to Dubrovnik on the Adriatic coast of Croatia. We have spent 3 nights here, in cool weather, however have seen some spectacular sights (outlined in detail later).

Our plans are to arrive in Dubrovnik this afternoon/tonight (whether the bus takes 2 hours or 5 hours is uncertain), find accommodation and spend a couple of nights there. Hopefully we shall then hire a car and drive to Mostar in Bosnia Hertogovia for a night, before returning to Dubrovnik and (ideally) landing a spot on a ferry through the islands up the Dalmatian coast to the far north of Croatia and into Slovenia.

Of course this might all change dramatically.

My cold has settled onto my chest, so it hurts to cough, although I am not coughing too often! No running for me however, and Bob has not run for four or five days either as he has a mild head cold as well.

I am starved for information from home, so shall hope that everything is OK.

Click for Hanoi, Viet Nam Forecast

About me

  • I'm Carolyne
  • From Canberra, Australia
  • I love to run! Staying in Weymouth, Dorset on the South West Coast of England until October. I'm 46, live in Canberra with Bob and have been running since 1990. This has been interrupted by long periods of illness, however I am extremely stubborn! I'll never be a fast runner, however I give it everything, and am slowly learning to read my body better and adjust my training and expectations accordingly. Or rather I would, if running were possible at the moment - I will retuyrn soon.
  • My profile

  • <>Vietname vs Brazil Olympic Football Friendly 8PM 1 aAugust 2008
  • A Hot time in the Old Town tonight
  • <>Trip to Nha Trang and Da Lat 4 August to  August 2008
  • Flights Booked
  • <>Scooter Trip to Ninh Binh  aAugust 2008
  • Planned
  • <>Trip to Cambodia and Siem Riep 17 August to 24 August 2008
  • Flights Booked & 2 Nights accomodation

  • Long Course Tri 2k/83k/20k 12 February 2006
  • Sri Chinmoy Long Course Tri 2.2k/80k/20k 6 March
  • Backpacking Laos & Vietnam 14 March to 26 April 2006
  • Thailand Temple Run 21k 19 March 2006

  • Customs 5k Fridays
  • BBQ Stakes  6k Wednesdays
  • Tour de Mountain 19k 18 December
  • 1:55:02 Results
  • Cross Country Summer Series 5k Tuesdays in November
  • Cool Runners Six Foot Track Slow Jog/Walk 46k 25-27 November
  • Wonderful!!
  • Sri Chimnoy Triple Tri Relay 20 November
  • 1:55:38 1:04:53 1:22:55 Results Report Photos
  • Tour de Femme 20k Fun Ride 13 November
  • 40:40ish
  • Bonshaw Cup 6.4k 16 November
  • 30:30ish
  • Hartley Lifecare Fun Run 5k 17 November
  • Belconnen Fun Run 6k 12 November
  • 28:38ish
  • Mt Majura Vineyard Two Peaks Classic 26k 5 November
  • Last! 3:08:00 Results Report
  • Wagga Tri-ants Duathlon 10k/40k/5k 30 October
  • Scratching
  • Bulls Head Challenge 27k 23 October
  • 2:20:49 Results
  • Weston Creek Fun Run 6k 16 October
  • 32:02 Results Results
  • Fitzroy Falls 42k & 10k 15 October
  • Results
  • Orroral Valley 20k 9 October
  • 1:52:44 Results
  • Sri Chinmoy 10k 3 October
  • 0:50:14 Results
  • Duathlon Championships 10k/40k/5k 23 September
  • 3:09:07 Results
  • Canberra Times 10k 18 September
  • 0:45:30 CR TE AM!
  • Sydney Marathon 11 September 3:47:13
  • ACTVAC Half Marathon 21.1k 28 August
  • Entered DNS
  • Black Mtn UpDown GutBuster 5.2k 16 August 0:33:38
  • Results
  • Mt Wilson to Bilpin Bush Run 35k 20 August 3:15:14
  • Results
  • City to Surf 14k 14 August 64:17
  • Bush Capital Mtn Runs 25k 30 July  
  • 2:17:09 Results
  • Shoalhaven King of the Mtn 32k 17 July
  • 2:53:15 Results
  • Sri Chinmoy Off Road Duathlon 3.3k/23k/7.7k 2 July 2:40:29
  • Results
  • Woodford to Glenbrook  25k 26 June DNF Injured Results
  • Terry Fox 10k 19 June 46:59
  • Results
  • Aust Mtn Running Champs9k 18 June 1:06:33
  • Results
  • ACTVAC Monthly Handicap 9k Farrer Ridge 29 May 0:46:05
  • ACT Mtn Running Champs  9k 28 May 1:06:50
  • Results
  • SMH Half Marathon 22 May 1:41:56 (1:40:50)
  • Results
  • ABS Fun Run 7.3k 19 May 0:34:45
  • Results
  • Canberra Half Marathon 15 May injured Results
  • Sri Chimnoy 10k 8 May 0:47:55
  • Results
  • Nail Can Hill Run  1 May 56:23
  • Results
  • Newcastle Duathlon  24 April 2:45:39.2
  • Results
  • Canberra Marathon  10 April 3:47:56
  • Results
  • Women & Girls 5k 3 April 22:53
  • Results
  • Sri Chimnoy 10k 28 March 47:56
  • Results
  • Weston Creek Half Marathon 13 March 1:43:23
  • Results
  • Sri Chimnoy Long Course Tri 6 March 5:30:35
  • Results
  • Hobart International Triathlon 20 February 2:52:05

  • Canberra Capital Triathlon 30 January 3:01:43
  • Results
  • Medibank Private Australia Day8k 26 January 38:39
  • Results
  • Lorne Pier to Pub Swim 1.2k 8 January 22:12
  • Results
  • Lorne Mountain to Surf 8k 7 January 0:37.56
  • Results

    moon phases

  • 5k 20:11 Cairns 2000
  • 10k 43:49 Moruya
  • City to Surf 1:02:57 2000
  • Half Marathon 1:33:50 Steamboat 2000
  • Marathon 3:47:56 Canberra 2005
    Chip Time (3:47:13) Sydney 2005

  • Kilometres Run
    January 212
    February 199
    March 214
    April 201
    May 188
    June 182
    July 255
    August 246
    September 155
    October 159
    November 200
    December 62
    Year to Date 2,267

    Last posts

  • New Blog Address
  • After having been largely blocked from posting on ...
  • Back in Canberra, Blogging Service (hopefully) Res...
  • Kama, Krama, Kramar Chameleon
  • Restaurant Review - Siem Reab
  • Back from Angkor Wat
  • Update
  • Notes from a Rainy Da Lat
  • Overnight Scoot to Tam Dao Hill Station
  • Viet Nam Plans

  • Days Sick
    January 10
    February 10
    March 10
    April 4
    May 7
    June 8
    July 9
    August 11
    September 11
    October 11
    November 9
    December Lots. ?15

    Distance Swum
    February 17,400m
    October 3,800m
    November 4,150m
    December .
    Distance Cycled
    November 120km
    December 297 km