After my easy border cross into Serbia, I figured there would be no problem getting into Croatia.
Right away, the agent was asking quite a few more question, but no big deal. He took my passport, registration, and insurance/greencard and started entering something into his computer.
“We’ve got a problem,” (…fuck…what could be the problem?!) “This computer is old and slow” (WHEW!)
So I sat there for about 20 minutes, playing with a couple stray dogs while waiting for them to finish processing everything. And the whole time I was staring at the hillside…my first glimpse of Croatia…a massive landfill.
My first day in Croatia was November 1st, All Saints Day. Every cemetery I passed was filled with people bringing flowers and candles to the graves of family members. It was definitely an interesting sight.
One of the first cities I rode through was Vukovar, and I immediately came upon this water tower.
It was heavily damaged in a battle in the early 90s, in which ~2000 people were killed. It’s been preserved as a memorial (a very grim one) of this battle. There were a few other large structures I noticed with very heavy damage, along with many buildings that were still riddled with bullet holes.
The second was the Stone Flower, in memory of the victims of the Jasenovac Concentration Camp.
This was the only concentration camp that wasn’t run by the Germans, and was also one of the largest across Europe. It was started by the Ustaše in 1941, and the primary victims were Serbs. It’s estimated that 80-100,000 people were killed at this camp.
Here is another old abandoned monument that I went to on my second day…this one is far creepier than the others. Probably because it was much more than just a monument, and it was also very much abandoned. On the grounds in front if it, there was what used to be a food court and a big courtyard…It felt like there should’ve been loads of people up there, enjoying the day, but now it’s slowly becoming overgrown, and it was completely empty.
It was built in 1982, as a memorial to the people of Kordun and Banovina (two regions in Croatia) and their resistance to the fascist regime. Until recently, despite being ignored, it was more intact. But lately, people have been stripping away the exterior to use as building material.
As I walked up towards it, all I could hear was my boots squeaking (they’re super annoying), and one loose piece of siding clanking against another in the breeze. This didn’t make it feel any less eerie.
The door to enter it was closed and locked up, but the exposed beams made for easy climbing. I went on top of the first level, but didn’t continue. Maybe it was because climbing isn’t too convenient in all my motorcycle gear, maybe it was because I was worried that a zombie might pop out and grab me at any moment.
I’m not sure if this site has ever been used in a post apocalyptic movie…but if it hasn’t, Hollywood is really making a mistake.
Tonight I had to do my first repair on the bike. Thankfully it was a basic enough task to barely warrant bringing it up. My low beam bulb burned out. It literally took me longer to dig the bulb out of the spare bottom of my bag than it did to replace it. Also, I found that one of the two clips hold the old bulb was loose, allowing it to rattle around…possibly causing damage to the filament? Anyway, the new bulb is properly clipped and I’ll check it occasionally to make sure it stays. If it doesn’t, I’m sure a zip tie could teach it a lesson.