Friday 19 August 2011

Birthday bash

Take that MINE
It must be said that little ol Benjamin McDowall is not for want of peoples good will and giving nature.I was sitting there on the edge of a wide open and well grommed field when an elderly lady wandered over to me and asked in Bosnian "young man, why are you taking naked photos of yourself out here in the open while I am collecting the fallen apples beneath the laden trees above me, and while my daughter in law is merrily hanging clothes out her bedroom window facing this direction no less" It must be said that this is what I think she was saying and should not be taken as word for word as all I understood was the initial greeting. Its true however that I had asked the owner if I could camp in the field and as it was indeed my birthday I stripped doris and I bare and got some traveling naked photos with the 2L bottle of beer, a watermelon and a block of chocolate. The photos can be seen at That evening I pondered over a million stars what the next year would be like and to be fair it made a pretty good start the following morning when I was woken up and asked to come to the house for breakfast. Later on in the day I was flagged down my a marathon runner who had passed in his Jeep and we had lunch at a cafe on the road side. Riding into the early evening I was beeped and tooted at a couple of times in another field. Odd I thought, people usually just let me be. These people however planted a seed of doubt in my mind and after an hour or so I packed everything up and headed out. AsI peddled another 500m or so I came by an entire field with derelict buildings roped off with MINE signs so perhaps I dodged a bullet wandering aimlessly into the field. Stupid. So there I was peddling into the fading light when I spied a football field at the edge of town. I asked the man outside the nextdoor church if it would be ok for me to camp there and before you know it I am sitting with this Priest and his young family drinking hair on your chest coffee, eating cold meat, hot pasta and freshly warmed bread. There is now an Orthodox priest wandering around northern Bosnia with a Traveling Hat warming his holy head.

After breaky in the morning I road off and was again invited into dinner with people I met when I was looking for a camp. As I left they went through and pillaged their garden and gave me a shopping bag of fresh fruit and veges which was lovely but they obviously dont cycle around much.

Old man on the road, Montengro

Flat tire on my birthaday. First since NZ
It was interesting biking into Sarajevo. As children growing up 15 years ago I remember it in the news as a place full of war and death. Now days it is a feast of different cultures, colors, sights and smells. The Orthodox churches stand proudly next to the Mosques and the old town has been rebuilt and is flocked with activity both during the day and into the night. Cafes are the go here and many an hour will be spent watching the flocks march past doing whatever it is they are doing with their evenings.

So I have been doing well, Doris went and got her makeup done so I went and got my head shaved and then we were on our way again. She seems to be running ok but every time I say that she breaks something. Oh well. Such is life. Biking towards Zagreb now and then into Slovenia in the next couple of days. Just over 3 months left and still loving being on the road. Its a simple life and easy to fall in love with.

Priest with a traveling Hat

Thanks to every one who writes notes and well wishes, I always look forward to reading them, thanks for the birthday wishes and I am sorry that most of them will go unreturned. Dream it live it love it.


  1. Benny you certainly sound as if you are making the most of every opportunity. The locals are very good to you and , I,for one, am very pleased that you didn't stand on any mines. I love the thought of one of your hats wandering round Bosnia. Love Ang

  2. Ben, very much enjoying all your posts, people are very kind to you - must be your happy smile that makes them want to feed you! Keep safe.
    Ailsa and Pete